University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business jumped to the top spot on Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s fifth annual ranking of “The Best Undergraduate Business Schools.” Rounding out the top five are University of Virginia (McIntire), Massachusetts of Technology (Sloan), University of Pennsylvania (Wharton), and Cornell University.
At the top of our ranking and in a year when unemployment was at the forefront of student concerns, Notre Dame fared well, thanks in part to a large alumni base willing to lend a hand to young job seekers. In the hopes of getting more students in front of recruiters, the school has started using Skype’s video capabilities for virtual interviews so companies don’t have to spend the money to travel to campus. At No.2, University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce, students lauded the intense core curriculum taught by teams of professors from different disciplines. Also using technology to give their students an advantage, Tom Fitch, assistant dean of career services, has taken to the Web, using Twitter and Facebook to distribute career tips and help find jobs and internships for students. At MIT’s No. 3 Sloan School of Management, more than 90% of students boast summer internships, and its graduates’ median starting salary, $62,000, is the highest in the ranking.
While student satisfaction is down 14% from 2009, the level of discontent varied widely from school to school. Schools that performed well in the ranking pulled out all the stops to help students find work—enlisting faculty and alumni, using social media, and developing talent pipelines to local businesses.
Anxiety about jobs and students’ dissatisfaction with the help they are getting from school placement offices are reflected in the ranking. Only 38% of college seniors majoring in business who responded to our survey in January reported having a job offer in hand. That compares with 46% in 2009 and 56% in 2008. Of the 27,317 student respondents, 58% voiced concern about their job searches and 38% reported they are considering alternatives, such as graduate school or the Peace Corps.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek used nine measures to rank these programs, including surveys of senior business majors and corporate recruiters, median starting salaries for graduates, and the number of alumni each program sends to top MBA programs. Bloomberg BusinessWeek also calculated an academic quality rating for each program by combining average SAT scores, student-faculty ratios, class size, the percentage of students with internships, and the number of hours students devote to classwork.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s ranking of “The Best Undergraduate Business Schools” is featured in the March 15, 2010 issue, on newsstands March 5. Expanded content, including the full ranking and methodology, is available on BusinessWeek.com at http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/toc/10_11/B4170best_undergrad_bschools.htm.