The Luter School of Business at Christopher Newport University ranked at No. 63 this year. The B-school dropped 15 spots from last year’s 48th-place. Luter had a much less selective admissions process this year with an acceptance rate of 93.42%, up nearly 17 percentage points from last year’s acceptance rate of 76%. The Average SAT score stayed unchanged at 1213. The difference in admissions standards is the main reason for the drop in rankings placement. Luter placed 36th in the academic experience category and 39th in career outcomes but finished 89th in the admissions standards area.
While Luter fell behind overall in our rankings this year, the B-school still offers a quality business education that is characterized by its comprehensive core curriculum, strong professional development opportunities, and a capstone project where students simulate a real-world business. Finishing highest in the academic experience category, which is driven solely by alumni feedback, says a lot about the satisfaction of recent alumni coming out of the school.
LIBERAL LEARNING CORE CURRICULUM
As a two-year business program, Luter requires all undergraduates to complete the Christopher Newport Liberal Learning Core Curriculum. The core curriculum consists of the Liberal Learning Foundations and the Areas of Inquiry. Courses in the Liberal Learning Foundations include writing literacy, a second language, mathematical literacy, logical reasoning, and economic modeling and analysis.
There are five Areas of Inquiry that are designed to give students a range of scholarly approaches to learning. Areas of Inquiry include: Creative Expressions, Civic and Democratic Engagement, Global and Multicultural Perspectives, Investigating the Natural World, and Western Traditions.
Luter’s core curriculum offers a comprehensive education that ensures a strong foundation in general studies, but also a range of diverse perspectives as well. Through its Areas of Inquiry, Luter teaches students how they should learn rather than what they should learn — an important distinction that prepares students well for the real world.
Upon completion of the core curriculum, students can choose from four business majors including Accounting, Finance, Management, and Marketing. Overall, Luter alumni view their education very positively with surveyed 2018 alumni rating the quality of teaching a strong 9.2 average rating.
THE LUTER SIGNATURE PROGRAM
As a small, public university, Christopher Newport University can devote a large portion of its resources to student development. One prime example is the Luter Signature Program, where students explore career opportunities and build personal and professional soft skills. All Luter students participate in at least one extracurricular elective. Elective topics range from “interviewing skills” to “personal marketing.”
In addition to an extracurricular elective, students also fulfill at least one academic elective in the program, with experiences ranging from student research to Bloomberg certification.
Mentorship is a key component of the Luter education. The Executive Mentorship Program allows students to engage in a 12-month one-on-one mentoring experience with a local business executive. Throughout the year-long mentorship, students explore possible career options while gaining invaluable insights from an industry leader.
Nearly every B-school offers some sort of development resource, but what makes the Luter Signature Program unique is the expansiveness of resources students have access to. Whether through a mentorship program or research opportunity, each and every Luter student graduates with valuable experience. Alumni also view these opportunities well. 2018 Luter alumni rated the opportunities given to them in the business program to nurture and improve soft skills at an 8.9 average rating.
A large number of Luter alumni that we surveyed spoke highly of their capstone experience, where student teams simulate running a real-world business. Each student is designated a role from CEO to CFO and is tasked with managing their business from ordering inventory to tracking finances. Student teams compete against each other in building and growing their businesses.
“This was extremely difficult but provided me with the realistic experience of the daily operations of running a successful business,” one 2018 alumni told us. “At the end of the semester, we had to present our results to a panel of professors and business executives. During this presentation, we had to display our results, go through each decision we made and the outcomes of those decisions, and what we would have done differently to achieve better results. This was an incredible experience for me and helped me grow exponentially in my professional career as I have used what I learned from that specific experience in my profession.”
Many alumni also spoke highly of the collaboration aspect of the capstone simulation.
“I can’t say that the simulation itself was meaningful or practical (ie: a fancier version of Lemonade Tycoon), but the impact came from the group project environment,” another 2018 alumni said. “I couldn’t do everyone’s part for them. We all had to trust one another to do our job and really make sure every decision we made was clearly communicated. I’ve thought about that simulation a lot while collaborating on projects at work.”
“Expanded my understanding of what it takes to make a teamwork,” said another 2018 alum.
Luter graduates have strong employment outcomes. Some 94.41% of the Class of 2020 secured a full-time position at the time of graduation, down from last year’s 99.15% but still an impressive feat considering the impact of the COVID-19 economic downturn. And 82.40% of the Class of 2020 had a business-focused internship before graduating, a small dip from last year’s 84.70%.
The strong employment outcomes of Luter graduates stem from the B-school’s approach to education. With a comprehensive core curriculum, strong student development, and valuable capstone experience, Luter students are ready for whatever career path they choose to embark on.
“I participated in an internship program where I participated in various accounting functions within a business office at the University. This experience helped me develop good communication skills, writing skills, and other soft skills as well as proper documentation skills necessary in the field of accounting. I also participated in a capstone project in my senior year. This project involved working with other majors to simulate the operations of a business. I learn to demonstrate good communication skills, negotiation skills, time management, planning skills, and team-building skills necessary in the field of accounting. This capstone project helped develop business habits that I have come to use in my current job.”
“I was able to use 2 different internships for class credit which was really helpful in applying course materials to the real world.”
“I was able to gain hands-on real-world projects that allowed me to be confident and capable in my abilities in the workplace because I had already experienced similar scenarios at business school.”