March 20 (Bloomberg) -- Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business holds the top spot in Bloomberg Businessweek’s ranking of undergraduate business schools for a fourth year, as students lauded its curriculum, liberal arts bent and focus on ethics.
Mendoza ranked first in student satisfaction and fifth in employer satisfaction -- the two main criteria, according to the report. The school in South Bend, Indiana, was followed by the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce in second place and Cornell University’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management in third.
“Academically, Mendoza is not all that different from other upper-tier business schools,” said Rob Nelson, a senior business student at Notre Dame. “Our Catholic tradition puts extra emphasis on ethics and the idea that business should be used to generate more than just profits.”
A notable absence near the top is the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The drop to 19th place from sixth marks the first time Sloan has been outside of the top 10 since the ranking started in 2006. The reason is mostly because of the employer survey, where Sloan ranks 80th. Seventeen of the surveyed employers mentioned having a recruiting relationship with MIT, while the average for all ranked schools was 18.
Sloan is at a disadvantage in the employer rank because of its size. At the University of Texas, 4,093 business students in the McCombs School of Business account for about 10 percent of all undergraduates. Sloan has 123 business majors, the fewest of any school in the ranking, or just more than 2 percent of the undergraduate student body.
“It’s an issue of critical mass,” said Melanie Parker, executive director of the Career Development Center at Cambridge, Massachusetts-based MIT. “Without that critical mass, some of the companies that would recruit a large bulk of management students aren’t going to think about coming here.”
At McIntire, based in Charlottesville, Virginia, job prospects kept the school near the top of the rankings for a fourth year. Nine out of 10 members of the Class of 2013 had at least one business internship, and 97 percent of students from last year’s graduating class had a job three months after graduation.
Top employers of McIntire students include Ernst & Young LLP, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and KPMG LLP. Dyson, based in Ithaca, New York, held third place based on student satisfaction and the survey’s MBA feeder measure, which shows how many graduates ultimately enroll in top-ranked MBA programs.
Washington University’s Olin Business School jumped four spots to fourth because of student satisfaction. Olin boasts the highest average SAT scores -- 1,492 -- of any school in the ranking and received top marks from students in both teaching and academic services.
Olin bumped the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School one spot to fifth. Wharton is tied with Sloan and Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business for the highest median starting salary after graduation, at $70,000.
McCombs, at the University of Texas at Austin, re-entered the top 10 for the first time since 2006, climbing eight spots to ninth place, on employer satisfaction.
The survey results also showed an increase in the median starting salary for graduates, which averaged $50,650. That’s up 4 percent from a year earlier.
To rank the programs, Bloomberg Businessweek used nine data points, including a survey of senior business majors that measured their satisfaction in teaching, academic services and career support, and a survey of employers to gauge which schools produce the highest-quality graduates.
Other measures included MBA feeder schools, starting salaries and academic quality, which combines SAT scores, student-faculty ratios, class size, students with internships and time devoted to class work.
This year, 145 undergraduate business programs participated, though 21 were eliminated because of insufficient response rates. Two schools that typically rank high -- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, New York, and the University of Maryland, in College Park -- failed to meet the minimum rate this year. A total of 27,561 students and 218 employers responded to the surveys.
Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business moved up the most, by 34 spots to 34th place. Because Fisher is so big -- more than 2,000 business students graduate annually -- employers have a large pool of potential hires to choose from.
The university’s on-campus recruiting program attracts 500 companies to campus throughout the academic year and two job fairs specifically for Fisher students attract an additional 150 each, according to Jeff Rice, executive director of the Office of Career Management at Fisher, based in Columbus, Ohio.
On March 19, Fisher’s National Center for the Middle Market and General Electric Co.’s GE Capital unit teamed up to offer the second-annual middle market career fair. The fair, targeted at students looking for jobs and internships at a middle market firm, attracted companies like Quikrete Co. and Stanley Electric U.S. Co.
Loyola Marymount University’s College of Business Administration, in Los Angeles, jumped 28 spots to 65th overall -- mostly because of its improved student-faculty ratio and SAT scores.
Among schools that dropped the most was Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management, which fell 33 spots. Students gave Weatherhead low grades in facilities and services, as well as job placement, and some complained about a lack of regional diversity among the companies recruiting on campus.
To address some of the concerns, Weatherhead is taking steps to broaden employment opportunities for students, said Jim Hurley, assistant dean. To get students exposure to companies outside of Ohio, the university joined a group of schools that participated in career fairs on the east and west coasts in January. Among companies that attended were Liberty Mutual Group Inc., UBS AG and NBC Universal.
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