Our Picks: The Best Stories Of 2017

It’s been another great year for the team here at Poets&Quants for Undergrads. In our relentless quest to bring you the best coverage of news, trends, analyses, and rankings of the top undergraduate business programs, we created the very first list of Top 40 Undergraduate Professors, brought back our annual series showcasing the Best & Brightest undergraduate business students, and crowned The Wharton School the new reigning champion of B-schools with the return of Poets&Quants’ Best Undergraduate Business Programs.

We’ve had a lot of fun throughout 2017. As the year draws to a close, we looked back to reflect on some of our favorite coverage. Here are our 2017 Editors’ Picks.

This Biz Major Had 11 Internships

Business school students are known for racking up internships to gain experience and impress recruiters with a filled resume come graduation and hiring time. The number of internships that students graduate with can vary — usually somewhere between two and four. But eleven? Yes, that really happened. For Angela Zhou, exploring different fields to find out what she really enjoyed and wanted to do with her life outweighed the pressure of going into consulting or some other field that most of the B-school crowd is typically gunning for.

Angela Zhou during her internship at IBM. Courtesy photo

Over the course of her four years in USC’s World Bachelor in Business program — a program with an international twist that sends students off to Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Bocconi University in Italy to study — she interned in a slew of different fields fulfilling various types of roles. Marketing and writing for Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, and Lucky magazines, business development for IBM, digital organizing for Hillary for America, project management with Johnson & Johnson, the list goes on.

“To be honest, I never really counted them until recently, and when I did I thought, ‘Wow, I could have done a lot less,’” Zhou told us earlier this year. “But I think it was really helpful. I don’t regret any of the internships I’ve done. Even if I didn’t like them, they helped me understand what I want to do later in life.”

What Consulting Firms Pay Biz Undergrads Will Surprise You

While Angela Zhou took the path of exploration, consulting stood its ground as a top target for many B-schoolers. This year, Poets&Quants for Undergrads did a deep dive into a data report that uncovered just how much top consulting firms are paying undergrads fresh out of college. The figures were staggering as we learned that new alumni were looking at potential earnings upward of $100,000 per year.

The top firms for base salary in the first year after graduation were Parthenon-EY, which offers $90,000, Accenture ($80,000 to $85,000), Strategy& ($85,000), BCG ($84,000), Bain ($83,500), and McKinsey ($83,000). But with a $10,000 signing bonus and up to $8,500 as a performance bonus, Accenture had the biggest total package of $103,500. And did we mention the $5,000 maximum for relocation, 6% match for 401k, and 15% discount on Accenture stock the firm offers?

The picture was just as bright for interns. Oliver Wyman offers $11,750 plus a $2,500 signing bonus for nine weeks, while McKinsey, Bain, and BCG all offer more than $14,000 for a 10-week summer. A.T. Kearney, L.E.K., and ZS Associates each offer $12,000.

At Berkeley, A Graduation Plea for Peace

Angad Singh Padda

Of course, B-school students aren’t just chasing the almighty dollar. One grad in particular, an alumnus from Berkeley’s Haas School, went viral this year for his commencement speech highlighting the differences between doing good business and being in the business of doing good.

In Angad Singh Padda’s graduation address titled “A Sikh’s Speech to Unite the World,” he encouraged fellow graduates to not simply utilize their degrees for profit, but to create a unified world without prejudice.

“Whenever there’s a kid in Oakland who can’t afford school, that’s a problem,” Padda said in the speech which was viewed close to a quarter million times on YouTube. “Whenever climate change wipes out a species, that’s a problem. Whenever a Muslim woman gets bullied because of her hijab, or a Jewish man because of his yarmulke, or a Sikh man because of his turban, that is a problem.”

In speaking to Poets&Quants for Undergrads, Padda shared his experience as an international student in America, leaving India for the Bay Area with hopes of immersing himself into a diverse and accepting culture, and ultimately reaching that goal while making friends with people from all over the world and all different backgrounds.

Five Top Professors, Five Cool Summer Vacations

Switching gears a bit, Poets&Quants for Undergrads turned our attention to B-school faculty with our inaugural list of Top 40 Undergraduate Business Professors. While getting to know these all-star profs, we uncovered that quite a few of them are rarely all work and no play.

Michigan University Ross School of Business professor Dana Muir

For five in particular, their summer vacations told it all. University of Connecticut Business School’s Cinthia Satornino conquered her fear of heights while soaring hundreds of feet in the air on a paraglide, Michigan’s Ross School of Business professor Dana Muir was in northern Indonesia scuba diving with a whale shark, and Syracuse’s Whitman School of Management professor Ravi Dharwadkar strolled the Great Wall of China. Meanwhile, beloved professor CJ Skender of UNC’s Kenan-Flagler School traveled to eight different states visiting family and former students and indulging in some retail therapy in San Francisco and 65-year old Penn State professor Ron Gebhardtsbauer took to Copper Mountain, Colorado where his love for extreme sports brought him face to face with Woodward WreckTangle, a ninja obstacle challenge course.

If you think lesson plans and research are all professors like to do, guess again.

10 Undergraduate Business Schools to Watch in 2017

Our final Editors’ Pick is our look at 10 B-schools to watch. In our second annual ranking of best undergraduate business programs, four of our schools to watch — Indiana’s Kelley School of Business, Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, and Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management — were among the top 10 for B-schools With the Best College Experience. Carlson was in the top five for Schools that Get Students Jobs in Their Targeted Company and U.C. Berkeley’s Haas School was second only to Wharton for Schools that Get Students Jobs in Their Targeted Industry.  

After opening its undergraduate program up to freshmen for the first time in 2016 — essentially stretching the program from three years to four — University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business turned its focus to diversity this year. We reported on pressure the school received to increase diversity and the school’s plans to turn around its diversity numbers. From our 2017 ranking, Poets&Quants for Undergrads found that Ross increased the percentage of minorities in its incoming class, going from 7.58% in 2016 to 8.00% in 2017.

Lastly, in this year’s ranking, the Olin School of Business fell to Wharton and became the second best undergraduate business program, but our Editor-in-Chief John Byrne brought us a tour of the school and highlights from his visit with current students.