Ask any current college student or recent grad what some of their most memorable experiences are and it probably won’t be one in the classroom. Learning by doing and experiencing is a continually growing strategy implemented by top business schools. So as part of the alumni survey in our annual Best Undergraduate Business Schools Ranking, we ask recent graduates if they had a “signature experience” or impactful international experience as part of the business school. We then take the average of those two questions and include it in the methodology of our ranking. We define signature experiences as “project work, simulations, global immersion, experiential learning, senior thesis, or capstone project.”
This year, graduates from New York University’s Stern School of Business had the highest average between the two questions at 86.31% reporting having a signature experience, key international experience, or both. That’s a jump from Stern’s 80.44% reported last year. The University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management follows with 84.31%, up slightly from last year’s 83.90%. Minnesota Carlson led all schools last year with that 83.90%. Rounding out the top-three this year is Hult International Business School with 79.03%. That’s also up slightly from last year’s alumni that reported 78.34%.
STERN, CARLSON, HULT OFFER UNIQUE INTERNATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL STUDENTS
It’s little surprise those three schools lead the list as they all have major international components baked into their programs. The International Studies Program engages pretty much 100% of NYU Stern students in an impactful international experience. Launched in 2001, the semester-long course offered to juniors includes a spring break international trip.
“NYU Stern International Studies Program (ISP) was a semester-long project where we studied a business and its home country to understand how the business could tailor their operations in a way that would benefit their bottom line,” one 2018 alumni told us via the alumni survey. “During the semester, we took a week-long excursion to Hong Kong to study the culture and the company we chose to better understand how to run a business and tailor recommendations to a company to better attract and serve the community.”
At Minnesota’s Carlson School, an international experience is required of all students. The Carlson Global Institute serves as the school’s hub for international immersion. The Institute organizes Global Enrichment Programs that are shorter, faculty-led trips taking place during January terms and other semester breaks. It also helps organize semester-long immersion experiences.
“The study abroad/global immersion program at The University of Minnesota was imperative to my business education,” a 2018 Carlson graduate said in the alumni survey. “Requiring that students have a global immersion experience is the much-needed push students need to grow. Experiencing other cultures, business practices, and ways of life is vital to one’s education. In my case, studying at Hitotsubashi University, Japan was the single most defining moment of my business education. Studying at Hitotsubashi University was what gave me the soft skills that are vital to succeed in the workplace and in life.”
Hult obviously has international in its name. And that’s for a reason. Students can participate in the campus rotation program, which allows them to pick between studying in Boston or London each year. Students can also participate in six-week summer semesters on their home campus or campuses in San Francisco, Dubai, and Shanghai. Of course, signature experiences are more than just international ones. Like NYU Stern and Minnesota Carlson, Hult graduates mentioned many different signature experiences. But the most popular was the Hult Business Challenge.
“Multiple classes had real-life project work in collaboration with start-ups or big brands. Further, the HULT Business Challenge is offered as a Capstone which offers to work on a project with a client — in my case McLaren F1 — on a real issue the organization is facing,” one alum told us. “Those hands-on experiences are unique to HULT, were tough but also lots of fun, and have built a strong basis for my successful early career.”
On the other end, Ithaca College had the lowest percentage of students reporting having a signature or international experience at just 18.75%. Florida International had the second-lowest at 19.19%. And George Washington University rounded out the bottom three at 19.57%.
SEE THE NEXT PAGE FOR SIGNATURE EXPERIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE AVERAGES FOR ALL 93 RANKED SCHOOLS
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