California, Here Come the Hikes

Plus: New deans at Virginia and Indiana, recruiting undergrads, and a leg up for Head Start

The University of California Board of Regents recently approved higher professional-student fees -- including those at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business and UCLA's Anderson School of Management -- by up to 7% starting in January.

The new increase, opposed by many students, comes on top of a 3% upping of professional-school fees previously approved by the regents board for the 2005-2006 school year.

NARROWING GAP.

  The schools need the hike, which will also affect law and dental students, to compensate for California's state budget crisis, officials say. The schools will phase in higher fees in the coming year for in-state students. The regents board is also raising a separate educational fee to make up for a shortfall resulting from a lawsuit over a previous increase.

Some students note that the hikes narrow the cost gap between the public institution and private B-schools. "Students take the [latest] news with weary resignation," says Remco Groeneveld, a rising second-year MBA student at Haas. "We just load on more debt and hope we'll one day be able to pay it all off."

But some students said they understood the need for the increase. "Berkeley is simply catching up tuition-wise with its Top 10 peers. Although this is unfortunate for students, many qualify for the California in-state tuition, which is still a bargain compared to other Top 10 schools," says Anders Geertsen, a rising second-year student at Haas.

"GREAT DEAL."

  With the increase, a California resident will pay $23,970 and a nonresident $35,501 in 2005-06 at Haas. Students at top private schools will dole out in the range of $40,000 a year, says Teresa Costantinidis, COO at Haas. Before the hike, in-state students at Haas paid $21,512 and nonresidents $33,757 in total fees.

At Anderson, total fees for California residents will increase from $23,516 in 2004-2005, to $26,036 in 2005-06. Nonresidents will pay $35,573 in 2005-2006, up from $33,829 in 2004-2005. Most other business schools in the state system are undergoing comparable increases.

School administrators say that raising tuition is the only way to continue to deliver top-notch education. They add that, going to public schools, especially for residents, still costs considerably less than their private counterparts. "Clearly, Berkeley continues to be a great deal for California residents," says Costantinidis.

Still, a tuition hike means some students at all of these schools will have a harder time affording degrees. That's why some student groups are gearing up to raise more money for scholarships and seek lenders to help those who need it. The perennial question remains: Is the MBA still worth it?

Recruiters Eye Undergrads

Companies are coming back to campus to recruit -- and not just for MBAs. Undergraduate business and engineering students also reaped the benefits this year of a recovering economy. But these newcomers to the working world are seeking traditional jobs at stable, well-established firms, according to a recent study by Universum Communications, a research group based in Philadelphia.

"Graduates are more attentive to a company's financial strength, because they see that as a sign of stable employment," says Claudia Tattanelli, CEO of Universum. "A good brand means the employer will be able to give [employees] a good reference, because young people know they probably won't be at that first job very long."

FBI ASPIRATIONS.

  In the wake of recent business and accounting scandals, the individual firms appealed to recruits by advertising the importance they place on ethics. The study reported that accounting, financial, and consulting firms such as PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, and Deloitte top the list of ideal employers for business, social sciences, and liberal arts graduates.

The study also found that current events and social trends affect a company's image. Young people are more influenced by the media and consumerism than they would prefer, says Tattanelli. For instance, interest in government agencies such as the FBI and CIA rises in response to television shows such as Alias and 24 and news about terrorism, according to the Universum report.

Recent graduates are also expecting higher base salaries and, in many cases, bonuses and relocation assistance. For the first time in the nine years since Universum started doing this survey, graduates rated health insurance and retirement plans among the top decision drivers as they considered employers.

Work/life balance is also among the top priorities for the next generation of workers. "We found that employers are going to have to make people feel at home at work," says Tattanelli. That means companies have to consider flexible hours, telecommuting, and child care. The office will be where the heart is.

Business Training for Head Start Directors

The UCLA Anderson School of Management recently graduated its thousandth fellow from its annual business training program for directors of Head Start organizations.

Founded in 1965, the National Head Start Assn. works to ensure young children from low-income families will be prepared for school when they come of age. The directors of Head Start agencies are usually trained social workers and teachers. But they manage 900,000 volunteers, 97,000 paid staff members, and 34,000 classrooms and are responsible for providing services to 822,000 preschool children and their families each year.

So, the Anderson school teamed up with Johnson & Johnson (JNJ ), the New Jersey-based manufacturer of medical supplies, 15 years ago to create an intensive two-week course of study that immerses Head Start directors in the world of MBAs.

TREATED LIKE CEOS.

  "When I look at the complex social, political, and economic landscape, I see the need to run Head Start as a business. Participating in the program at UCLA was an opportunity to add to my leadership potential," says Kimberly Shinn-Brown, a 2005 fellow and director of the Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation Early Head Start organization in Springfield, Mo.

About 40 to 45 directors participate in the program each year. After introductions to finance, marketing, and strategy, the fellows must devise a plan for an improvement project at their local agency. The supervisors of the fellows join them for the tail-end of the program, so they can start putting the initiative in motion.

"We treat them as though they're CEOs of Fortune 500 companies," says Alfred Osborne Jr., senior associate dean of the Johnson & Johnson Head Start Management Fellows Program. He says the curriculum of the fellows program is like a mini-MBA for directors who are running the equivalent of a small entrepreneurial business.

MEDICAL OFFSHOOT.

  The results have been positive. Fellows have followed through on numerous projects -- everything from raising grant money for additional classrooms to helping prepare unemployed parents for the job hunt. Shinn-Brown, who participated in the most recent fellows program, is putting together an initiative to reduce abuse and neglect of children. The project will include an awareness campaign and curriculum for use in classrooms and home visits with participating families.

Johnson & Johnson, which provides much of the financial support for the fellows, was so pleased with the Head Start course that it has worked with the Anderson school to create a similar fellows program for medical leaders at community clinics. Educators say this is an example of how B-schools can reach out to those in other industries to make MBA course work more accessible. And Anderson has a head start on the competition.

New Deans at Kelley, Darden

The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University in Bloomington and the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville recently announced the appointment of new deans. Robert Bruner will take charge at Darden, and Dan Smith will helm the Kelley school.

Bruner has spent more than 20 years at Darden, where he received much praise for his teaching. Corporate finance is his specialty, and he's written many books, including one of the most popular collections of case studies.

Although Darden has so far signed Bruner for only a one-year appointment, Bruner says he plans to put in motion long-term initiatives that will enhance the school's future. Among his top priorities are developing a new executive education program set to launch in June, 2006, and hosting events and activities celebrating the school's 50th anniversary. He also hopes to increase the number of faculty and staff members in admissions and executive education. "To feed growth, we need to attract the best," adds Bruner.

"DREAM REALIZATION BIZ."

  Smith, a professor at Kelley since 1996, was serving as the interim dean for the last year and was among the search committee's four finalists for the permanent job. A former professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Pittsburgh, Smith is an academic at heart. But that doesn't mean the corporate world isn't at the forefront of his mind as he takes the reins at Kelley. He says he wants the community to understand the important role universities play in the world's economic development.

Refining a strategic plan to finalize the school's brand positioning, entering international markets like China and India, and aggressively expanding the online MBA program to combine traditional classroom time and distance learning are among Smith's top priorities. Ultimately, he'd like the Kelley school to be the institution of choice for the best students, faculty, and companies in the country, he says.

"Our mission can be summarized very clearly: We are in the dream realization business," says Smith. A dean, apparently, is part educator, part CEO, and part dream weaver.

Di Meglio is a reporter for BusinessWeek Online in Fort Lee, N.J.

Edited by Phil Mintz

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