The Questrom School of Business at Boston University came in at number 27 in this year’s rankings. Maintaining the same rank as last year, Questrom had an acceptance rate of 17.88%, an average SAT score of 1417, and an average high school GPA of 3.71. Those strong admissions standards and solid alumni survey scores buoyed the Questrom School to its top-30 finish for the third time in three years.
Located in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, the Questrom School of Business has undergone a number of monumental changes in recent years. The biggest being back in 2015, when retail icons Allen and Kelli Questrom donated $50 million and officially transformed the former School of Management into what is now known as the Questrom School of Business.
Today, more than 2,500 undergraduates make up the Questrom School of Business. The Questrom education emphasizes both the hard and soft skills of business to give its students a comprehensive education that starts the day they step foot onto campus.
QUESTROM MEANS BUSINESS ON DAY ONE
Questrom offers a single degree, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. All Questrom students major in Business Administration and Management. However, the B-school requires students to complete at least one functional concentration including: Accounting, Business Analytics, Finance, Independent Concentration, Information Systems, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Law, Management & Organizations, Marketing, Operations & Technology Management, Organizational Behavior, and Strategy.
Students start their business education freshman year, taking a mix of courses such as Business Ethics, Finance, Economics, and Calculus. Starting in Fall 2019, all Questrom freshmen are required to take the year-long foundational program of Business Ethics and Finance with the same cohort of classmates. As Questrom students progress throughout their four years, they are introduced to more focused business courses from Financial Accounting to Marketing Management.
Unlike other B-schools where students don’t take business courses until their junior year, Questrom allows its students to begin taking business courses their very first day. In turn, this allows students to get a head start on their business education and a leg up in interviews for both internships and jobs.
CROSS-FUNCTIONAL CORE PROJECT
The signature experience at Questrom is the Cross-Functional Core Project, also known as “Core.” Students take part in Core during their junior year, where they work in student teams across disciplines of finance, marketing, operations management, and business analytics to develop a product or service and create a full-fledged business plan. The year-long project is a valuable experience that enables students to understand nearly every aspect of business – from research to presentation.
“It gave a complete 360 view of what it takes to start a business and how each part integrates with the next,” one 2018 alumni told us.
On top of giving a comprehensive view of the hard skills required to start a business, Core also emphasizes the importance of soft skills such as the ability to work cross-functionally with team members.
“The amount of emphasis on group work and full involvement in the different areas of business during the Core project was instrumental to my career success in the ‘real’ world,” one 2018 alumni said. “Not only did it prepare me to manage the complex relationships and powers at play in the workplace, it also helped me develop a mindset to proactively understand the different points of view of people from other departments involved in my field of work.”
“You are graded on deliverables and ability to work well on a team,” another 2018 alumni told us. “This semester proved extremely beneficial to my career almost immediately. I interned at P&G the summer following Core and noted the advantage the curriculum at Questrom provided me through cross-functional teamwork.”
This emphasis on soft-skill training is key. In fact, many alumni note that the element of teamwork is ultimately what made the Core experience valuable and applicable to the real world of business.
“Our signature experience [Core] pushed us out of our comfort zone and with individuals we had no choice in selecting,” one 2018 alumni told us. “This created an environment similar to industry where you’re given an assignment with coworkers and are valued on how well you fare. It also forced creativity and entrepreneurship in creating a new business model not previously done by students.”
The Core experience is viewed highly amongst Questrom alumni with many citing the project as one that taught them both the hard and soft skills to succeed post-grad. When asked how they would rate the opportunities given to them at Questrom to nurture and improve their soft skills in business, such as verbal and written communication skills, adaptability, delegation, and time management, 2018 alumni gave a strong 9.1 average rating.
Questrom students have relatively strong employment outcomes, in large part due to the hands-on experience they gain through Core. About 94.80% of the Class of 2020 landed a business-focused internship before graduation. However, just 68.53% secured full-time employment within three months of graduation, a large dip from last year’s 91.77%. Of course, this is likely due to the COVID-19 economic downturn, but that drop likely kept Questrom from finishing in the top-25 or 20 this year.
On average, starting salaries for Questrom graduates still outperforms salaries at many other B-schools. The Class of 2020 had an average starting salary of $62,379, almost $3,000 more than last year.
For those looking to get a quick start on their business education with an opportunity to learn both the hard and soft skills of business, Questrom is the right place to be.
“The Core semester business plan is a unique experience where students work in teams to design a new product/service. You take all classes during the semester with your core team, and work on top of that to write a cross functional (financial, marketing, operations, and business analytics) business plan. Teams that go into the semester with strong wills and an attitude geared toward succeeding can gain an incredible amount of real world applicable business knowledge from the experience. It provides a great school project talking point for interviews.”
“The team experiences and working with a range of students on so many different types of team projects prepared me to be a team player in the real world.”
“Questrom has a semester where all students are required to do CORE. In this, each person is put in a group of about 10 people and are asked to come up with an idea and look at all aspects of the business – finance, marketing, operations, and stats. Each person has their own role on the team depending on their strength, but each person is able to learn about the other arms of the business through discussions, meetings and presentation preparations. At the end of the semester, we have real-world professionals who come in to understand the idea and the potential long-term feasibility. Students have the option to continue this idea into real-life if they see sufficient scope.”
Where The Class of 2018 Went To Work:
PwC – 23
EY – 20
Accenture – 18
Wayfair – 17
Deloitte – 12
Bank of America Merrill Lynch – 6
J.P. Morgan & Chase – 6
Amazon – 5
Macy’s Inc. – 5
Goldman Sachs – 4
Morgan Stanley – 4
State Street Corporation – 4
TJX Companies – 4
Wellington Management Company LLP – 4