B-Schools That Create The Best College Experience

Students at James Madison University College of Business. Courtesy photo

Students at James Madison University College of Business. Courtesy photo

Northeastern’s D’Amore McKim School of Business: Cooperative Education Program

Northeastern’s cooperative education program (co-op) places students in six-month internship-like experiences. Students may choose from more than 600 corporate partners in 25 states and globally. Offered from January to June and July to December, students are required to finish at least two co-op experiences before graduation. Some students elect to complete three of the full-time, paid experiences, which leads to completing the degree in five years instead of the traditional four.

What the Class of 2014 said about the co-op program:

“Northeastern’s Co-op program provided me the opportunity to work three six-month long, full-time internships, while still graduating in 5 years. This experience allowed me to work in three different cities (in two different countries) and three different industries. Upon graduation, I already had a sense of what fields interested me, and three job offers.” – Class of 2014 alum

“My three co-op positions led me to a great job right after graduation, with years of experience more than peers from other colleges.” – Class of 2014 alum

“At Merrill Lynch I worked alongside arguably the best financial talent in the world. I can proudly say that the undergraduate education I have recieved has allowed me to stand out and thrive in this competitive environment.” – Class of 2014 alum

“Three co-op experience and two summer semesters abroad shaped who I am as a man. Without these opportunities available at Northeastern, I’m not sure where I would be right now. If I had gone to any other school, I don’t think that I would have left with any professional experience, but I left Northeastern with nearly two full years.” – Class of 2014 alum

Boston University Questrom School of Business: The Core

A course taken during the spring of their junior year’s, Boston University’s “The Core” course was one of the signature experiences mentioned most out of any school in the Poets&Quants’ alumni survey. The Core weaves four courses — marketing, operations, finance, and analytics — into a semester-long sequence that culminates with a new venture competition. Students are assigned teams and spend the semester working on creating business plans around new products or services to present at the end of the semester. The program is strongly encouraged for some concentrations and required for others.

What the Class of 2014 said about The Core:

“As a part of the undergraduate experience at Questrom, students partake in the cross-functional “core” curriculum for a semester during their 3rd year of the business program. The semester-long curriculum centers around a group project in which teams of students create a product and develop the infrastructure of a company to ultimately push their product to market. Students are fully engaged in courses in marketing, operations, management information systems, and finance during the project, and the classes are tailored toward teaching students concepts to apply in the context of their semester project.” – Class of 2014 alum

“CORE program our junior year. We were tasked to make our own product and develop it as if we were going to bring it to market. Primarily developed skills in operations, finance, marketing, and product development. It was an extremely entrepreneurial approach to understanding how to build a product from scratch and how to launch it. As I am currently working at a small start-up, it was an invaluable experience which made me want to pursue entrepreneurship in the future.” – Class of 2014 alum

“CORE – This was a very intense semester where I was pushed to my limits in terms of remembering everything I had learned in the past, working long hard hours, working with people with all different strenghts, weaknesses, and backgrounds, and learning what it took to be an empathetic leader who could delegate and handle any curve that was thrown my way.” – Class of 2014 alum

“Core Project was instrumental to my development as a business leader. It was designed to be cross-functional across key areas of business (i.e. marketing, finance, operations management and technology) and was very team focused. The project followed an initial strategy through execution framework which is something I use all the time in consulting.” – Class of 2014 alum

Indiana University Kelley School of Business: The Integrative Core

Similar to Questrom’s ‘The Core,” Kelley’s “Integrative Core’ is a suite of four courses interwoven during the junior year of the program. Students enroll in finance, marketing, operations, and leadership and combine what they’ve previously learned within and outside of the program. At the same time, students must complete the final Kelley Compass course, The Business Professional. After many cross-functional “real-time” experiences, the semester culminates in a “final I-Core case.” Kelley’s “rite of passage” is no joke as students must complete all five courses with at least C-grades to move on to their final year in the program.

What the Class of 2014 said about I-Core:

“Junior year everyone in the business program participates in Integrative Core (I-CORE), four courses that bring together the pre-requisite business course learning and provide in-depth understanding or finance, marketing, operations and strategy. The end of the four courses culminate with a 10-day business case that applies and challenges students along the four disciplines. Coming out of that semester, I had a holistic understanding of business, how components must work together to succeed and strong critical thinking skills for approaching and solving business challenges.” – Class of 2014 alum

“Honors I-Core: semester-long set of classes and team projects aimed at integrating different aspects of business (e.g. finance, marketing, strategy, operations) into a cohesive business plan with a team of 5-6 students. Provided me with a tremendous opportunity to work on a project over an 18 week period with the same teammates — longer than my previous internships and providing more exposure to working with teams.” – Class of 2014 alum

“I-Core which is our integrative core allowed us to create our own business in teams. We designed the the product, created the marketing plan, designed the operations and analyzed the financials. It was a great learning experience. We learned to work in teams and work with people who have different strengths and weaknesses and different opinions. It gave the students exposure to all the major aspects of running a business outside of their major and showed the students how everything works together.” – Class of 2014 alum

“I-Core is the greatest thing in the world in terms of understanding how business decisions are made. The way it forces you to understand the interconnected-ness is crucial to the way business flows.” – Class of 2014 alum

James Madison University College of Business: COB 300

James Madison University’s COB 300 was the most mentioned single course among all schools participating in the alumni survey. Despite being technically one course, it’s worth 12 credit hours and similar to the Questrom and Kelley programs. It integrates four disciplines-— management, marketing, operations and finance-—and groups students into small teams. Similar to Questrom’s “The Core,” COB 300 includes a semester-long business plan and puts teams against one another at the culmination when $25,000 in scholarships is on the line. Not only focusing on four areas, COB 300 is meant to develop students’ professional skills and “business language.”

What Class of 2014 alumni said about COB 300:

“COB 300 gave me so many invaluable experiences and lessons that helped me get to where I’m at today. Through it, I mastered my skills on working in a team environment while still having the opportunity to hone my individual craft and work ethic. The experience was the ultimate test image of hard work pays off and I reaped the benefits of it for years afterwards.” – Class of 2014 alum

“COB 300: Building and writing a business plan – this gave rise to an understanding of entrepreneurship and detailed critical thinking of everything that goes into creating and running a successful business. It also left me with strong collaborative skills and communication skills that I think would have not developed to the same degree or speed without having taken this course.” – Class of 2014 alum

“COB 300 was an excellent experience for me- taking 4 classes with the same people and essentially building a business from the ground up. It was the hardest I’ve ever worked but the most proud of anything I had ever done up to that point. When you put your sweat, blood and tears into something like that, it really sticks with you. Learning how to work with a team, communication, all of the things needed to be successful in that kind of environment.” – Class of 2014 alum

“COB 303 is an infamously rigorous business course at JMU. Students are grouped with fellow classmates from majors across the business school. In this class you study management, marketing, finance, and operations. Using the tools you have gained you create your own business plan, and simulate running your company for 5 years of operation. Many late nights were spent on this project but it taught you how to work in a team, as well as problem solving from a client’s perspective.” – Class of 2014 alum

Georgetown University McDonough School of Business: Study Abroad

While Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business wasn’t at the top in either “signature experience” of global immersion category, no other school’s Class of 2014 mentioned study abroad experiences as “signature experiences” more frequently than Georgetown McDonough’s. When students at Georgetown McDonough’s School decide they want to study abroad, they get two advisors to help them through the process. Once approved, McDonough students may choose from more than 100 semester-long study abroad options — 40 of which, are business specific.

What the Class of 2014 said about studying abroad:

“Summer abroad program in Barcelona, Spain. Studied International Marketing and Global Entrepreneurship. Made new friends, experienced a new culture, learned more about how international businesses function across multiple countries.” – Class of 2014 alum

“Global Immersion- ICADE, Madrid Spain. Taking business classes in Spanish with students from all over the world was eye-opening and a critical component to my International Business major.” – Class of 2014 alum

“My major required either foreign language proficiency or immersion in a foreign country. With my school’s program offices I enrolled in study abroad for a semester in Beijing and gained a high level of proficiency in Mandarin Chinese.” – Class of 2014 alum

“Summer abroad at ESADE in Barcelona, Spain. Amazing International Marketing & Entrepreneurship experience.” – Class of 2014 alum

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