10 Undergraduate Business Schools To Watch In 2018

Entrance to Warren Hall at Cornell University, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

Cornell University (Dyson)

How hard is it to get into Dyson? Brace yourself: The school rejects 97 out of every 100 applicants. In other words, just 2.9% of the 4,366 candidates who applied during the 2016-2017 cycle got into Dyson. Talk about a harsh introduction to the laws of supply and demand.

Alas, 2017 was an anomaly as Dyson, the Hotel School, and Johnson merged to form Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. The year before, it accepted 7% of students, so the odds are still stacked against most applicants. Of course, the demand should increase, as the merger enables the school to pool together resources from faculty to programming. On top of that, the SC Johnson College of Business landed a $150 million dollar gift from the graduate school’s namesake last January, including funds earmarked to boost scholarships and expand programming.

The university itself has certainly laid forth an ambitious agenda. This fall, it opened its Cornell Tech campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island, an innovative curriculum designed to tap into the city’s booming tech and startup scene. Dyson is following suit, launching “a very intense, engaged leadership curriculum that will be tied to action-based learning experiences and career development activities,” according to Lynn Wooten, dean of the Dyson School.

Sound like most other undergraduate business programs? It is, though it comes with two defining differences. “Our distinction is smaller classes, the high-touch, and our students have to take a lot of science classes and math classes to go with the general business classes,” Wooten adds.

This intimate approach pays dividends on the back end. More than 96% of the 2016 class found jobs within three months of graduating, earning $74,290 in total pay, to boot. What was Dyson’s recipe for success? For one recent graduate, it stems from how well classes simulated the related world. “Every single class is based on project work. It enables you to understand how to work in a team, how to divide up responsibilities, and how to keep up on your end of a bargain. This is all too familiar to the working environment, and prepares you as such.”

Such preparation, along with the high outcomes they produce, make Dyson a school to watch in 2018. In P&Q’s alumni survey, Cornell grads ranked among the most likely to recommend their school. One reason: Low debt. Dyson students average $33,886 in financial aid – and nearly 85% of business majors receive aid in some form. Better yet, average debt load is just $19,513 with nearly two-thirds of the class leaving with no debt at all.

Dyson’s motto and mission is “Our business is a better world.” If you ask alumni about their alma mater, they’ll probably tell you one thing: “Business is good!”


Here is P&Q’s exclusive data on how the top undergraduate business programs compare in the following areas:

Acceptance Rates

Starting Pay

Job Placement

Average Debt

SAT Scores

Alumni Rankings Report Card

Financial Aid

First Generation Students

Return on Investment

International Students

Minority Students

Alumni Experience