Equal Opportunity Bias?

A study of students finds both sexes feel discrimination. Plus: strong job market; a first for Carlson; a new name at Villanova; a China exchange

Female students aren't the only ones who feel sex discrimination in the classroom. In fact, both sexes experience gender bias equally, according to a new study of business majors at an Ontario community college. The school's name was not disclosed.

While only members of the college were questioned, findings could be indicative of other business programs, B-schools, or community colleges, since the demographic of the surveyed group was not unique, says University of Toronto sociology professor John Kervin, the researcher who conducted the study.

About 21% of males and females said they have felt discrimination from an instructor. Males felt bias was more of a problem than their female peers. "Because of organization policies that favor female students, some males could feel they're being unfairly treated. Or females could think textbooks were geared toward male business students. We expected the latter but were surprised at the former," says Kervin. The definition of "discrimination" was left up to respondents. They answered the following question without specifications: "Does an instructor discriminate against you on the basis of gender?"

Male respondents who felt professor prejudice were largely involved in co-ed sports teams. "Sometimes this is referred to as the threat hypothesis. The more you see a minority group in large numbers, the more threatened you feel," says Kervin. Players of traditionally macho sports like football and soccer observed little or no discrimination.

Employers Seeking Business Majors

Business students have reason to rejoice. Marketing, business, management, and accounting majors are the most coveted undergraduates to hire this year, according to a recent survey by CollegeGrad.com, an entry-level job site. About 1,100 employers responded.

Thirty-seven percent of employers said a student's major is the most important factor when considering employment, followed closely by interviewing skills and internships/experience. Internship training while in college is usually a top priority for recruiters hiring business majors. Demonstrating abilities during an interview is the tough part (see BusinessWeek.com, 5/08/06, "No Passport to Success").

Carlson Names First Female Dean

The University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management will get its first female dean next month. Alison Davis-Blake will leave her post as senior associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Texas at Austin's McCombs School of Business.

A large part of Davis-Blake's job will be overseeing the undergraduate program's expansion in both facilities and number of students. Construction will begin in fall, 2006, on a new building for undergrads. The four-story, 124,000-sq.-ft. space will include classrooms, a business career center, lounges, and study spaces.

While Davis-Blake didn't earn her degrees at Minnesota, she has ties to the school. She's a Minnesota native, her father is an emeritus faculty member, and her mother is an alumna. This July, Davis-Blake should certainly receive a warm reception in her hometown.

Villanova Rebrands

Villanova's B-school has left its antiquated name behind. Officials renamed it this month from the College of Commerce & Finance to the Villanova School of Business.

"It packs more of a punch, and you understand what it is instead of thinking it's a department within a university," says Dean James Danko. "Commerce [projected] an older school-type image."

The name change is part of Danko's plan to bring more national recognition to Villanova's business school. Since his arrival in 2005 from Dartmouth University's , Danko has been working on marketing efforts and contacting members of the media about the undergraduate program (see BusinessWeek.com, 4/26/06, "Undergrads Decry Second-Class Status").

Most top schools—including Tuck and the University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Business , where Danko worked—have the words "business" or "management" in their names instead of "commerce." Danko says the word was more popular in the 1950s and 1960s. A few still use "commerce," most notably the University of Virginia's undergraduate McIntire School of Commerce .

Unlike many of its competitors, Villanova is not named after a major donor. However, school officials are actively seeking a naming opportunity. "We are looking, but at the same time, it's a pretty prestigious place where we're not going to give the name away. It would command a respectable amount of money and appropriate prestige," says Danko. Interested donors, get your checkbooks ready.

Ohio's Miami and Guangha Ink Agreement

Ohio and China are not usually mentioned in the same sentence, but that is about to change. Starting in spring, 2007, undergrads at Miami University of Ohio's Richard T. Farmer School of Business will be eligible for study at one of China's top B-schools, and vice versa.

An exchange agreement was forged between officials at Miami and the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University last month. The 37,000-student Peking University is located in Beijing (see BusinessWeek.com, 5/12/06, "Guanghua: Minting Tomorrow's MBA Profs").

Guanghua has exchange programs and relationships with a handful of U.S. institutions, including the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, and the at Duke University.

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