It may be strange to think of Boston as a college town. Let’s face it, the metro area is home to nearly five million people. And it is a hub of banking, insurance, and biotech too. In reality, the region boasts over 50 higher education institutions that cater to nearly 350,000 students. Their names read like education royalty: Harvard, MIT, Boston College, Boston University, Babson, and Wellesley.
There is one name that was left out: Northeastern University. Overlooked? Not for long after the D’Amore-McKim School of Business jumped from 24th to 15th in the latest P&Q Undergraduate Business School ranking from December. While Northeastern may rank among the most underrated gems in Boston (let alone the East Coast), Boston may also be the most overlooked part of Northeastern’s success.
“Our Boston campus is in the heart of a thriving metropolitan hub for innovation while offering a traditional college campus feel,” writes Jeffery A. Born, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs at D’Amore-McKim, in a statement to P&Q. “In fact, we just received arboretum classification, the only university in Boston to be given that designation.”
That’s not the only unique designation at the school. Born points the program’s interdisciplinary approach, one highlighted by ten combined majors – five of which are STEM-designated. The cross-curricular nature of the D’Amore-McKim proposition is also reflected in its combined majors. Unlike a dual major, this option enables students to split their time between the business school and an area outside business. Born calls it a “deep dive into a secondary area,” citing popular combinations like business and data science or business and cybersecurity. The proposition has become so enticing that nearly a third of business majors now add a combo.
“With the kind of student that we’re having success in attracting, these programs are pretty unique,” Born tells P&Q.
By the numbers, D’Amore-McKim ranks among the most exclusive business schools. The average SAT score is 1451 – and just 19.5% of applicants are ever accepted into the school. It’s well worth the effort say graduates, with the program ranking 2nd for career preparation and 7th in career advising in P&Q’s most recent alumni survey.
“Our commitment to advancing our curriculum is informed by our deep connection to industry, which enables us to consult with employers and ensure our students are developing the skills that the future of work demands,” Born notes.
Ask any applicant to do word association on D’Amore-McKim and “co-op” is almost certain to come out first. In a nutshell, business majors are required to take six months off to complete a paid internship for their cooperative education (aka co-op). The co-op can start as early as sophomore year, with the school maintaining partnerships with thousands of companies to help fill the spots. Aside from supplying graduates with coveted experience for their job hunt, it also bridges the theoretical and practical. In other words, students bring a deeper perspective back from their co-op, further enriching the classroom experience.
“D’Amore-McKim is a business school that is powered by experience; we believe that learning happens everywhere,” Born asserts. “Students take advantage of co-op opportunities, which are full-time positions with an average 6-month salary of $21,500, with some up to $55,000. Our academic model is a catalyst for enhanced learning as students apply what they learn on co-op in the classroom and our long-standing connection to employer partners informs our research, teaching, and curriculum. This virtuous loop allows students to go farther as they tap into an expansive learning network while connecting meaningful business experience with rigorous academics.”
The co-ops aren’t the only way for business majors to gain experience. In recent years, D’Amore-McKim has invested heavily in its global offerings, to expand opportunities for students. For example, says Born, the school recently launched a Global Engagement Program, which Born says “spans multiple continents and cultures and enables students to study at our partner institutions and our regional campuses.” In fact, Born believes the program’s “global mindset” ranks among its biggest strengths.
“Building cultural agility is crucial for success in today’s global business world. We have a high percentage of international students and encourage a diverse array of global experiences. In addition to traditional study abroad programs, our Dialogue of Civilizations program allows students to travel abroad with faculty and learn hands-on about issues on a local and global level while earning credit for two courses. Many students also accept co-op positions at companies located outside of the United States.”
Students can even launch their own business as part of a co-op. Some do just that, as the program increasingly draws inspiration from Boston’s startup spirit.
“You can feel the entrepreneurial spirit everywhere on campus and especially within D’Amore-McKim,” writes Charlies Doherty, a 2019 graduate and member of P&Q’s Best & Brightest Business Majors. “I maintain it’s physically impossible to go D’Amore-McKim without getting involved in some new venture in some capacity. As someone who had never previously considered myself a creative person or someone capable of pursuing a new venture, one of the most important things I’ve gained is that sense self-efficacy by constantly seeing students accomplish amazing things in their ventures.”