The Best Undergraduate B-Schools for Economics

Cornell University’s Dyson School Photograph by Steven M. Kern/Cornell University

As part of the 2013 Best Undergraduate B-Schools ranking, Bloomberg Businessweek asked undergraduate business students from this year’s graduating class to tell us, via an online survey, about their business school experience, from getting in to getting a job. One section of the survey singles out specific aspects of the business program and asks students to grade them on a scale from A to F. Over the next few weeks, we will publish the top B-schools in each specialty area, from accounting to entrepreneurship, culminating with publication of the entire undergraduate specialty ranking, which will include 124 schools.

Today we look at economics, a specialty broken into two subsets: macro and micro. Leading the field in macroeconomics is Seattle University’s Albers School of Business and Economics; for microeconomics, Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management is tops.

At Albers, the department of economics offers both core courses that teach theory and application, as well as those focused on applying macro models to economic growth, forecasting business conditions, and a variety of courses in financial markets and economic development, according to Teresa Ling, assistant dean of undergraduate programs. Outside the classroom, undergrads have the chance to attend regional and national economic forecasting conferences and presentations, including a visit to the Federal Reserve Bank, simulated open market operations at the Pacific Northwest Regional Economic Conference, and luncheons at the Seattle Economics Council.

At Dyson, which also ranks second in macroeconomics, all students take introductory economics courses, as well as a two-semester sequence in managerial economics, in which rigorous intermediate microeconomic theory provides the framework to analyze management problems and case studies, according to Ed McLaughlin, director of the Dyson undergraduate program. Then students choose a minimum of two additional applied microeconomic courses, from a list that includes classes like “Environmental Economics,” “Economics of Advertising,” and “Food Policy for Developing Nations.” Additionally, McLaughlin explains, students select one of 10 specializations, most of which include courses in microeconomics.

Following Albers and Dyson in macroeconomics is New York University’s Stern School of Business. The University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business Administration and Babson College take the second and third spots, respectively, in microeconomics. Below is the list of the top five schools in both areas.

Top Undergraduate Business Schools for Macroeconomics

1. Seattle (Albers) 1.247
2. Cornell (Dyson) 1.283
3. New York (Stern) 1.284
4. Santa Clara (Leavey) 1.288
5. UC Berkeley (Haas) 1.290

Top Undergraduate Business Schools for Microeconomics

1. Cornell (Dyson) 1.150
2. Florida (Warrington) 1.155
3. Babson 1.289
4. Richmond (Robins) 1.294
5. Binghamton 1.299

Methodology: The ranking is based on student responses to a question asking them to rank their program’s micro- and macroeconomics offerings. Points are awarded for each response—ranging from one point for an A grade through five points for an F—and they are then averaged for each school. If students did not have exposure to the area in question, they could answer NA and their response was not included. The ranking is based on the average; schools with the lowest average are ranked the highest. The average microeconomics score for all 124 undergraduate business schools in the ranking was 1.58. The average macroeconomics score for all schools was 1.59.

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