What is the most feared business metric? Forget net margin and debt-to-equity. In the best-run companies, you’ll find executives fretting over customer satisfaction. This relationship is the cornerstone of every operation. It shapes branding, dictates scaling, and reveals health. To paraphrase a famous quote, hell hath no fury like a customer scorned. It only takes one disaster – one misunderstanding – to tarnish an organization far-and-wide.
That’s what makes the Stillman School’s performance on P&Q’s 2018 alumni survey so impressive. Here, Stillman finished 3rd among 88 business schools in overall satisfaction, scoring a 9.45 across 16 categories. To put this performance into context, the school was just .08 of a point behind Notre Dame’s Mendoza College, the top performer across the board. It was also 0.8 of a point better than the average score.
How happy were Stillman grads with their alma mater? Survey respondents gave it Top 10 scores in 14 categories. The business school ranked in the Top 5 in eight categories, with its weakest finish coming in faculty availability for informal discussions (12th) and business degree raising socioeconomic status (16th). This is how the program fared otherwise
Preparation for Work World: #1
Extracurricular Opportunities to Improve Skills: #1
Life-Changing Experience #1
Classroom Opportunities to Improve Skills: #2
Faculty Availability for Mentoring #2
Help with Networking #2
Value of Degree in Achieving Dreams #3
Effectiveness of Career Advising #4
Recommend to Peers: #7
Effectiveness of Academic Advising #8
Quality of Teaching: #9
Alumni Support of Finding a Job #9
Worth the Tuition: #10
Effectiveness of Alumni Network #10
How does that translate in real terms? For one, 100% of Stillman respondents agreed they had a “key signature experience” as undergraduates – an experience defined as “project work, simulations, global immersion, experiential learning, senior thesis, or capstone project.” This perfect score contrasts sharply with the 63% average among schools in this category. That’s just the start. 90% of alumni would recommend the business program to others. That same percentage was also hired into their job function after graduation. Another 87% believed the programming had prepared them well for the world work, with 80% agreeing that their business degree was worth the cost. Not surprisingly, the program jumped 22 spots in P&Q’s 2018 ranking.
What defines the Stillman business program? For one, it is a program that focuses heavily on fieldwork to provide students with real world experience before they venture into their careers. That doesn’t hurt any in a program based in South Orange, just a quick ride from New York City. This proximity to talent also explains the school’s Practice Partner program, where faculty members pair up with leading professionals to team teach core and elective courses. The real benefit, of course, is that such partnerships expose students to the latest industry trends and best practices at the top firms – another reason why Stillman grads gain a leg up over students from peer schools.
At its heart, Stillman is a leadership-driven program. This is highlighted by the program’s Leadership 101 course, where students take a deep dive into their values and experiences to gain an awareness of where they excel – and fall short – so they can develop the skills that will bring out the most in others. This spirit of service underlies Stillman’s leadership philosophy, with every business major required to complete 80 hours of community work to meet graduation requirements. Such programming has also made a Stillman Leadership certificate one of the top undergraduate degrees in the field according to HR.com.
No doubt, Stillman is riding a hot streak, with the school recently introducing a Business Analytics certificate. Question is, can the school carry over its momentum into 2019? Are the foundations of the program so solid that it can match (if not exceed) its high customer satisfaction scores when the next group of alumni are survey? If Stillman can, the program is bound to make prospective students take notice beyond the confines of New Jersey.