How Employers Rank The Best Biz Programs

The University of Texas (McCombs) and Brigham Young University (Marriott) ranked just below Kelley. This comes as a bit of an upset, as these schools respectively rank #34 and #41 on Bloomberg Businessweek’s academic rankings. In fact, Brigham Young graduates saw their starting salaries drop from $60,000 to $52,000 over the past year.

From reviewing student feedback, several themes emerge. At McCombs, students describe the faculty as enthusiastic, experienced and approachable, which certainly facilitates the learning process. The career services center also earned a thumbs up for its ability to draw recruiters and help students build networks. Conversely, one Marriott student describes his school as a competitive atmosphere that “drives every student to do better.” Others reference the curriculum’s ethics bent as a major plus. Regardless, Austin and Provo have emerged as go-to campuses for recruiters.

Rounding out the top five are Notre Dame (Mendoza) and Texas A&M (Mays), making Indiana and Texas the de facto recruiting meccas for undergraduate business talent. The remaining top ten includes Penn State University (Smeal), Boston College (Carroll), the University of Southern California (Marshall), and the University of Illinois.

Babson Makes Gains Among Employers

So which school was the real winner in Bloomberg Businessweek’s employer rankings? You could point to Babson College for that. Last year, the school ranked #60 among recruiters. This year, they skyrocketed up to #17. Renowned for its entrepreneurship program, Babson turns its “hands-on” and “real world” curriculum to employers’ advantage, producing students who are comfortable working in teams and well-versed in all facets of business operations.

Other business programs gaining in stature with employers include: Carnegie Melon University (+23), the College of William & Mary (+23), the University of Georgia (+20), Bryant University (+17), and Wake Forest University (+13).

Emory Loses Ground Among Employers

And the big loser? That might be Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. Despite ranking #5 in academic quality and #5 in the student surveys, the school dropped from #16 to #43 among employers in 2014. With numbers like that, is it any wonder that employer outreach is among the top agenda items for new dean Erika James?

Other schools losing ground among employers include: Lehigh University (-26), Villanova University (-24), University of San Diego (-22), James Madison University (-20), Fordham University (-17), Georgetown University (-16), and the University of Minnesota (-14).

Big Starting Salary Gains at the University of Virginia 

Hoping to score some big bucks after graduation? Check out the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. Here, median starting salaries rose from $60,000 to $70,000 in one year! So where are these students being hired? Nearly half of McIntire grads enter the financial services sector according to Bloomberg Businessweek, while another quarter join consulting firms. Overall, Ernst & Young, followed by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Accenture, and Deloitte, are the biggest employers of McIntire new grads.

Other schools reporting respectable median salary bumps include: Cornell University ($6,023), Elon University ($4,000), the University of Loyola-Maryland ($3,000), and the College of William & Mary ($3,000).

The University of Virginia isn’t the only school where business majors are earning $70,000 to start. Graduates from Carnegie Melon and Wharton are also landing $70,000 gigs. Other schools where business graduates are earning $60,000 or more to start include: Cornell University ($65,000), the University of Michigan ($64,500), Georgetown University ($64,500), New York University ($62,500), Washington University of St. Louis ($62,500), the University of California-Berkeley ($60,000), Emory University ($60,000), and the University of North Carolina ($60,000).

Big Differences Between Employer Rankings and Overall Rankings 

Alas, employer opinions don’t necessarily correlate with Bloomberg Businessweek’s overall rankings. Case in point: The University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business. Despite ranking #44 overall, employers have pegged it at #12. Why? Simple: Warrington grads – whether employees or students – have left a positive impression on recruiters surveyed. While students may be a school’s customers, employers are the equivalent to their stockholders. And they can make a statement by shifting resources to other programs.

Schools like Bryant University, the University of Georgia, the University of Illinois, and Michigan State University also fall into this category: Employers are far happier with these schools than their overall rank (and their academic quality rank) might indicate.

At the other end is the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business. Beloved by students, the school is bedeviled by low marks from employers. How low? Consider this: The school is ranked #16 overall…and #94 by recruiters (and that’s up from #106 last year). What’s more, Robins grads actually earned a lower median starting salary than the year before. The kicker? The school ranks #2 overall for academic quality, which include SAT scores, class sizes, faculty-to-student ratios, and coursework hours.

Besides Robins, employers are gave lower marks to top 40 programs like Texas Christian University, the College of William & Mary, Fordham University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Southern Methodist University, Washington University of St. Louis, Villanova University, and the University of North Carolina.

To review school grades and rankings, continue to the next page.

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