By Francesca Di Meglio The MBA Class of 2005 had an easier time landing jobs than any other since the dot-com bust in 2001, according to an annual survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) in McLean, Va. The steadily improving economy translated into a growing number of positions for MBAs in 2005, says Dave Wilson, president and CEO of GMAC.
About 50% of newly minted MBAs had job offers by mid-March, compared to 42% at the same time in 2004, according to the survey of 5,829 students at 129 business schools. Salary expectations among MBAs also rose, from nearly $76,150 last year to more than $84,000 in 2005.
This optimism on the part of recent graduates comes at a time when many are questioning the true value of an MBA. In fact, admissions at top MBA programs across the country have been on a downward slope for some time now. But Wilson says the 2005 survey results signify a new beginning for B-schools. "Reports of the demise of the MBA were premature," he adds. "It's alive." The hiring data is its clean bill of health.
New Dean for Rice
The Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management at Rice University (link: http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/04/full_time_profiles/rice.htm) in Houston recently announced that academic William H. Glick will be the school's new dean starting in July.
A professor and chair of the Department of Management at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University (link: http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/04/full_time_profiles/asu.htm) in Tempe since 1995, Glick is among several academics recently hired to helm the nations first- and second-tier B-schools. Some educators say it's an obvious reaction to the recent scandals that put corporate leaders in a less-than-glowing light.
TALL ORDER. But it was simpler than all that for the Jones school, says L.E. Simmons, the president of the private equity firm SCF Partners and the head of the Jones dean search committee. The committee considered a dean from the corporate world early in the planning process. But Simmons says an academic is a natural fit for Rice, a university known for its strong research tradition. Academics were the only ones to make it onto the short list.
For Glick, the appointment is an opportunity to influence the global marketplace by educating its future participants. "Business education should provide concepts, tools, and technological and hands-on skills that impact the bottom line," he adds.
Still, filling the shoes of outgoing dean Gilbert R. Whitaker, who is retiring after leading the school for eight years, won't be an easy task, say administrators. Under Whitaker's tenure, the Jones school earned full accreditation, built a new building, and doubled the size of the student body and faculty.
PROLIFIC AUTHOR. But Glick appears poised to take the Jones school to the next level, and cites increasing the quality and reputation of the school as his main objective.
At Arizona State, Glick launched a revised undergraduate major in management with a new curriculum based on creating team skills in future managers. He also directed the Business Honors Program at University of Texas in Austin from 1993 to 1995. Author or co-author of more than 30 journal articles and 40 conference papers, Glick served as senior editor of Organizational Science// until last year.
He was part of the team that catapulted Arizona State's Carey school into the top 25 on many rankings surveys. Glick says he would like to help the second-tier Jones school make a similar kind of leap.
Presents of Mind
Money has been pouring into B-schools over the past couple of months to support everything from undergraduate programs to scholarships. At the Monterey Institute of International Studies' Fisher Graduate School of International Business in California, $366,000 in grants will fund a project to assist companies as they adapt their products and services for foreign markets. "To be competitive in global markets, you have to know how to successfully bring your products into another country or you won't make the sale," says Ernest Scalberg, dean of the Fisher school.
The money, which will become available on July 1, is a combination of a $183,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Business and International Education program and matching funds from a $2 million donation from the Robert and Marilyn Fisher Family Foundation.
ACTION-BASED LEARNING. It will allow the school to create the Center for the Globalization & Localization of Business Exports (GLOBE), a base for disseminating information about export policy, foreign language issues, and tailoring a product to respond to the needs of markets outside of its home country.
To develop GLOBE, the Fisher school will collaborate with various organizations and three other graduate programs at the Monterey Institute, which is a private graduate institution with about 700 students from more than 60 countries.
Thanks to a $10 million gift, the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor will be home to the Thomas C. Jones Center for BBA Education, which will offer opportunities for undergraduates to experience many of the programs already provided to MBA students. Donated by Thomas C. Jones, an alumnus and retired president of CIGNA Retirement & Investment, the funds allow the school to offer action-based learning courses, leadership training, and capstone senior electives.
OUTSIDE THE BOX. The school already offers a strategic management course in which students participate in a business case competition in front of actual executives, and will add more courses like that to the roster, says the center's executive director Scott A. Moore. Another possibility is providing more students with the opportunity to visit companies in foreign countries to study business issues. "Undergraduates benefit from outreaching to real companies more than MBAs because they have not had their horizons broadened yet," Moore adds.
MBA students at the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto (link: http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/04/full_time_profiles/toronto.htm) will soon benefit from a $2 million boost in scholarships. Those planning to pursue a career in international finance or financial engineering will be eligible for $20,000 in merit-based financial aid. Scotiabank put up $1 million to honor its former Chairman and CEO Peter Godsoe, an alumnus of the school. The Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund matched the funds, creating a $2 million endowment.
One incoming and one returning student in each of the two programs will be offered the award, for a total of four recipients. "We want to revolutionize business education with integrative programs," says Alex Vaccari, director of Advancement at Rotman. "This is for students who want to think outside the box." And get the grades to earn the big bucks. Francesca Di Meglio is a reporter for BusinessWeek Online in Fort Lee, N.J.