2021 Report Card: How Alums Grade Their B-School Experience

Ask any college admissions counselor or administrator what’s the best way to find out if a school is right for you and they will all most likely give this tidbit of advice: talk to recent alums or current students. To help bring to light pertinent information at many of the country’s top business schools, we survey recent alums as part of our Best Undergraduate Business Schools ranking. This year, we polled the Class of 2018 (graduates between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018) at 84 of the country’s top business schools. We asked 27 questions, including 16 on a one-to-ten scale. Alumni were surveyed between June and November. (See: How We Crunched the Numbers)

As part of the ranking, we average responses to all 16 questions for each school and rank them with 10 being the highest possible score and zero being the lowest. Out of the nearly dozen data points we use in the ranking, not one is weighted more than the average of these 16 questions. While we polled 93 schools, only 84 this year met the minimum 10% response rate. That number is a slight uptick from 87 total schools that met the minimum response rate the year before. In all, over 52,000 Class of 2018 alums were sent the survey and more than 6,000 completed the survey.

This year, we had a new school top the overall average. Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business led all schools with an overall average of 9.35. The average was slightly lower than last year’s leader, Bucknell University, which boasted an overall average of 9.38. Two years ago, the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business led all schools with an overall average of 9.36. Following Georgia Tech is the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, which each recorded a 9.28. The Southern Methodist Cox School of Business (9.20) and Indiana University Kelley School of Business (9.19) rounded out the top-five.

SCORES LOWER THAN LAST YEAR BUT STILL GENERALLY HIGH

Across all schools, that met the minimum response rate, the overall average was 8.47, down from last year’s overall average of 8.54. Only 10 schools averaged more than 9.0, a significant drop from the 20 schools that did the same last year and down from 19 schools the two years before that. Just 12 schools averaged less than 8.0, down from 13 schools last year. No school averaged less than 7.20. Last year’s lowest score was 6.95. While the scores seem to be a bit lower this year compared to last year, they’re still relatively high considering what they could be. An overall satisfaction rate of 8.47 across over 6,000 respondents from 84 different schools is solid. The upshot: two years after graduation, business grads are generally very pleased with their experience.

Of course, schools are rated differently based on the prompts. Some schools have more satisfied alums in different areas than others. For example, when asked, “Do you believe your business degree was worth its cost in tuition,” no other school scored higher than Brigham Young University, which scored 9.70. Not surprisingly, large public schools generally dominated the top of the list. Georgia Tech followed with 9.59. The University of Texas-Austin McCombs School of Business (9.28), Virginia’s McIntire (9.26), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School (9.21) rounded out the top five. The only two private schools to make the top-25 were the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Bucknell University.

When asked how alums would rate the quality of teaching in business courses, no school scored higher than Florida Southern College, which scored 9.50. Bucknell University followed with 9.38. Virginia McIntire (9.32), Wake Forest University (9.29), and Southern Methodist (9.28) rounded out the top-five. Asked how well extra-curricular activities helped nourish and grow business schools, Georgia Tech led again with 9.43. The University of Illinois Gies College of Business and Indiana Kelley followed with 9.28 and 9.27 respectively.

Take the time to read through the questions below and look at which schools are doing the best — and worst — at the various prompts, according to 2017 graduates.

(Click the questions below for entire lists of scores, grades, and analysis for each question.)

Would you recommend your business program to a close friend or colleague interested in an undergraduate business degree?

Evaluate how well the business program prepared you for the world of work.

Do you believe your business degree was worth its cost in tuition?

Do you believe your business degree was worth its cost in time and resources?

How would you rate the quality of teaching in business courses?

Were business school faculty available for informal discussions and mentoring outside of class?

How would you rate the opportunities given to you in the business program to nurture and improve your soft skills in business (verbal and written communication skills, adaptability, delegation, time management, etc.)?

How well did the extra-curricular opportunities offered to you in the business program nurture and improve your skills in business?

How would you appraise the business program’s efforts to bring you into contact with practicing professionals, including your school’s alumni network, in the business community?

How would you appraise the effectiveness of the business program’s academic advising?

How would you appraise the effectiveness of the business program’s career advising?

How would you judge the business program’s alumni network and connections that can help you throughout your career?

How accessible and willing were the school’s alumni in helping you connect with potential employers?

Was your business school experience life-changing?

Do you believe your business degree will assist you in climbing to a new socioeconomic status?

How instrumental do you believe your business degree will be in reaching your dream career?

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