The Schmidthorst College of Business at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) came in at No. 68 in this year’s rankings. BGSU fell three spots from last year’s rank at No. 65.
Its Class of 2020 saw lower employment outcomes this year with 72% landing full-time employment within three months of graduation, down from last year’s 89.87% although this may largely be attributed to the COVID-19 economic downturn. Internships increased this year with 74% of the Class of 2020 securing a business-focused internship before graduating, up two percentage points from last year’s 72%.
Originally referred to as simply the College of Business, the B-school was officially named the Allen W. and Carol M. Schmidthorst College of Business after a historic $15 million gift from Ohio entrepreneur Allen Schmidthorst, and his wife, Carol in 2020. It’s one of the many recent changes at BGSU. The university’s brand new approach to undergraduate business education focuses on lifelong learning with tools for students to design a personalized education that will follow them long after graduation.
Bowling Green’s placement this year was thanks largely to very impressive results from the surveyed alumni, which placed the school 24th overall in the academic experience methodological category.
The undergraduate experience at BGSU starts with a newly launched student focus initiative that it calls Life Design. The initiative is designed to help students find their purpose and develop personal and professional success plans. Through workshops and seminars over their four years, students continuously update and develop their college and life plans.
On the surface, Life Design may seem like any other B-school’s approach to student development. But the initiative at BGSU is more holistic and long-term focused with pillars such as career, connections, purpose & passion, and health & wellness. To offer students a toolkit of knowledge that they can utilize beyond graduation, BGSU hired life design coaches to support students in all aspects of academic, life, and career development.
“It is designed to allow for discovery-based learning, hands-on experimentation, and collaboration to support the development and education of future business leaders and entrepreneurs,” Zubair Mohamed, associate dean of the Schmidthorst College of Business, told us.
Additionally, through a new Signature Work initiative, students apply their learnings to a project report.
“The Signature Work builds on the integrative learning where a student integrates and applies the concepts learned across disciplines to their life experiences and workplace settings culminating in a project report focusing on a societal issue,” Mohamed explained. “The signature four-course applied business core sequence provides a perfect platform to develop these skills in students starting with their freshmen years throughout four-years of undergraduate business education.”
The Life Design initiative embodies BGSU’s commitment to giving students more than just a degree. It’s about giving them the tools they need to design a more accomplishing career, reflective mindset, and fulfilling life. Alumni tend to view their undergraduate education positively as well, with 2018 alumni giving a strong 9.1 average rating in terms of the business degree’s worth in time and resources. Faculty were rated a 9.3 in terms of availability for informal discussions and mentoring outside of class.
80% OF ALUMNI REPORT ENGAGING IN A “SIGNATURE EXPERIENCE”
Hands-on learning is integral to the undergraduate business education at BGSU. Some 80% of surveyed 2018 alumni report engaging in a “signature experience” whether through project work, simulations, global immersion, experiential learning, senior thesis, or capstone project.
“For our marketing specialization, we were assigned to teams for the entire semester for our capstone project,” one 2018 alum told us. “We partnered with real local businesses to assess their current marketing, research their audience, and create a tangible and attainable marketing plan for the organization to help them reach their goals. We presented the marketing plan to the business and our teammates. One aspect that made this project extremely unique was the ability to actually help a real business reach its goals before we even left the classroom. The other one was the ability to cultivate everything we had learned over our time at Bowling Green – particularly our ability to work as a team — to succeed in our project.”
For many, the capstone project is through Capism, an intuitive business simulation software that places students in the role of executive management at a multi-million dollar company. Students compete against other real or simulated teams to grab market share and grow their business.
“I participated in Capsim, and it teaches you how to run a business and what decisions or sacrifices you may need to make to advance your market share and increase your overall profits,” one 2018 alum said. “It was great to put your knowledge to the test and understand how businesses work. It’s not the textbook readings or small projects that made my experience memorable, it was the case study and virtual simulation that I completed that reinforced all my knowledge and prepared me.”
Across these various experiences, the one common theme is active learning. Students engage with one another in teams, are expected to prepare for meetings and lead discussions, and constantly apply their learnings to address real business problems.
At BGSU, students are encouraged to look beyond simply landing a dream job or hitting a high GPA. They’re given tools to design a personalized journey that takes into account all aspects of their life — from their career and connections to their purpose and wellness. In turn, students are not only well-prepared for whatever career path they choose to pursue, but also the life that they plan to lead.
“I obtained two internships while at BGSU. My second opportunity was in Washington D.C, which allowed me to further develop as a student and future employee. Living and working so far from home also allowed me to learn more about myself. This opportunity would not have been possible without BGSU and I will forever be grateful for the experience.”
“Well-rounded education with midwest values.”
“Opportunity to participate in CAPSIM simulations, study abroad, intern abroad, golfing workshops, and soft skills workshops all through the College of Business at BGSU. All of these opportunities helped me reach my collegiate and early career goals and exposed me to a plethora of knowledge and experiences to build me into a well rounded young professional.”
WHERE THE CLASS OF 2020 WENT TO WORK:
- Amazon – 7
- Parker Hannifin – 3
- PwC – 3
- Westfield Insurance – 3
- Eaton Corporation – 2
- Cooper Tire – 2
- Dana – 2
- Owens-Illinois – 2
- Owens Corning – 2
- Marathon Petroleum – 2