At Elon University’s Martha & Spencer Love School of Business, almost all students in the Class of 2017 and 2018 completed one or more business-specific internships before graduation. About 81 percent of students had a global experience while working on their undergraduate degree, and every student has to complete a senior capstone experience, service learning, and undergraduate research experience as part of their journey towards graduation.
The school’s dedication to having their students learning both inside and outside of classrooms seems to have paid off, as almost 90 percent of both the 2017 and 2018 classes student body found full-time employment just a few months after graduation.
Their alumni from the Class of 2016 shared that they had found jobs at companies including Deloitte, Platinum Equity, Johnson & Johnson, Ernst & Young, Live Oak Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers, JPMC, Wells Fargo Finance, Amazon, and Vanguard Group. And their salaries at the start of their first job after graduation went as high as $130,000 for alumnus Jake Battersby, an Entrepreneurship and Finance major who now works as a Raleigh Sales Manager with Blue Raven Solar.
Elon University is a private liberal arts university in Elon, North Carolina, that has five schools, including the Martha & Spencer Love School of Business, where their mission is to be “leaders in the design and delivery of transformational education experiences through engaged learning, excellence in teaching, mission-driven applied and pedagogical scholarship, and service, with a rigorous program of student that produces graduates able to provide principled leadership in the global community”.
As part of its attentiveness and responsiveness to student needs, Elon employs t 4-credit structure for its courses, rather than the more common 3-credit course structure, which Robert Springer, Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness, says is “designed not for additional lecture time but is designed instead to allow sufficient time during a class for students to begin, complete, and debrief on projects that engage them in learning a topic or concept”.
Undergraduate business students at the Love School of Business can choose to major in Accounting, Economics, Economic Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, International Business, Marketing, or Management.
The school received 2,343 applications to their undergraduate business program in Fall 2018 and admitted 1,879 students. Of the 71 percent of students who submitted their SAT scores for consideration, the average was 1249, and of the 39 percent who submitted their ACT scores, the average was 27.
The school reported that the total four-year cost of attending is $130,796, while additional expenses such as food, lodging, transportation, and supplies, are expected to add another $59,029. To support students who choose Elon, 51 percent of incoming Fall 2018 business students received scholarship support form the school in the average amount of $10,802. About 50 percent of alumni from the Class of 2016 said they felt that their business degree was worth its cost in tuition.
Students are expected to complete 40 hours of ore-orientation programming before starting at Love School, where almost 18 percent of students self-identify as belonging to underrepresented minority groups. Springer shared that about 8 percent of incoming Fall 2018 students were first-generation college students, and just 2 percent were international students.
BLOOMBERG LAB ONE OF MANY NEW ADDITIONS TO THE SCHOOL
In the past three years, the school has made a number of changes to their offerings, including an upgrade to The William Garrard Reed Finance Center computer lab, where there are now 12 Bloomberg terminals. The new Bloomberg lab will be where some upper-level Finance courses will be held, as students get to familiarize themselves with industry technology while at Elon. The space will be open for student use outside of the class times, making it accessible to anyone, regardless of whether they are a Finance major since the skill is valuable for any businessperson.
At the beginning of the 2018 – 2019 academic year, students began taking an introductory business statistics course where they were taught R programming, in response to feedback from alumni and employers.
Sankey Hall, the second building for the business school, opened its doors in Fall 2018 to serve as a gateway to business for the rest of the Elon campus. The three-story, 30,000 square-foot building will provide even more classroom, office, and collaboration space, while housing the Doherty Center for Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, the Chandler Family Professional Sales Center, a Design Thinking Center, and Financial Education Center.
In a review of the core curriculum by Love School of Business faculty, the school introduced an innovative course to be offered to students early on called Gateway to Business. The course exposes students to the role of business in society, the importance of finding meaning in work (and therefore in their choice of major), and, by means of a simulation, the core functions of business: Accounting, Finance, Management, and Marketing.
In a survey of the Love School Class of 2016, 70 percent of alumni said they would recommend the program to a friend or colleague without hesitation, and that the program had prepared them well for the world of work.
THE FOUR CENTERS FOR EXCELLENCE
The Love School of Business also has four academic Centers for Excellence, where rather than being a center for research, they engage the students in learning through hands-on experiences.
Over at the Chandler Family Professional Sales Center where students can get professional selling and sales management instruction, their curriculum and experiential learning component won the “Top University Sales Program for 2017” award by the Sales Education Foundation, a section of The Dayton Foundation. And in December 2018, an Elon Sales Team made of two undergraduates from the Class of 2019 came in fifth in the 2018 International Collegiate Sales Competition hosted by Florida State University.
At the Doherty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, students can seek out experiential education around creative and critical thinking aimed at helping them develop their entrepreneurial mindset and skillset.
With the support and resources of the Doherty Center on hand, it is not rare for students at the Love School of Business to begin startups while still in school. Henry Collins, a finance major, set up Rugged Road Outdoors, a company selling outdoor performance gear, while in his first year at Elon.
At the Elon Center for Organizational Analytics, students can get consulting and professional training relating to analytics as a way to come up with solutions for problems faced today. Given the growth of interest in the applications and management of big data, students can also apply to intern at the center and gain experience in data cleaning and preparation statistical research and examination, descriptive and predictive modeling, and visualization.
In 2018, the Center for Organizational Analytics partnered with HanesBrands to offer the 2018 Elon Champion Analytics Challenge to the university. Students worked in teams of three with the guidance of faculty to build and demonstrate their data analytics and visualization skills, an received up to $1,500 in prize money.
The William Garrard Reed Finance Center is also affiliated to the Love School of Business, and accounting, finance, and economics majors who are interested in all things related to the markets can go there to expand their learning. Whether a student is interested in becoming a financial planner, investment banker, or a securities analyst, the center is ready to connect them with industry professionals, guide them through learning about tools of the trade, including Bloomberg, FactSet, Morningstar Direct, Global Insight, and WRDS (Compustat, CRSP, ExecuComp and Eventus).
THE IMPORTANCE OF A SIGNATURE EXPERIENCE
The Love School of Business also has its own dedicated career services center, where students can get one-on-one consultation appointments to make sure they are going in the right direction, and on the right path for them.
About 50 percent of alumni from the Class of 2016 said that their business school experience was life-changing, and that their business degree would be instrumental in helping them reach their dream careers.
Students at the Love School of Business with a GPA of 3.8 and above and a combined SAT score of 1380 with at least 600 on the math section can apply to join the Business Fellows program. Each year, 30 students are selected for the program, and 22 are given $5,500 scholarships which they can renew annually if they remain in good standing.
The Business Fellows program is especially attractive to entrepreneurship, finance, management, marketing, international business, economics, consulting, and accounting majors as they get to visit Wall Street, network with Elon alumni, visit the New York Stock Exchange, and visit companies including Thomson Reuters, UBS, Bloomberg, and Credit Suisse.
They also get to work as consulting projects or help manage a portfolio, and all 30 students will receive a $1,000 grant to use on a study abroad or Study USA experience.
Adam Gill, Class of 2016, said that he was engaged in several signature experiences while at Elon.
“The Business Fellows had a capstone project where I helped managed $250,000 of Elon’s endowment portfolio. We also had a trip to New York City, and networked with alumni and parents in addition to on-site visits to multiple companies such as JP Morgan, Blackrock, etc. I also was part of an Undergraduate Research project where I studied how mobile/online banking is reshaping financial services strategy,” Gill said. “It was also part of my experience to hold internships where I interned at two companies (one being where I am currently employed). They truly encourage and ensure you have many different experiences that grow you as an individual.”
Gill is currently a Senior consultant of Digital Experience at Ernst & Young.
SMALL-TOWN, NORTH CAROLINA LIVING
Elon University is about a 15-minute drive away from downtown Burlington, where students can explore the local shops and restaurants. The downtown Burlington City Park Carousel is also a historic landmark that was purchased in 1948 and still runs. And in September every year, the town holds the Carousel Festival where students can find unusual and interesting crafts and food offerings.
Students can also visit the North Carolina Museum of Art in Providence that’s a half-an-hour drive away that has a free permanent collection including African, American, Judiac, Italian and contemporary art. Also half-an-hour away, in Greensboro, is the Weatherspoon Art Museum, best known for its collection of 20th and 21st-century American art in the Southeast, that is also free to enter.
But the best thing about Elon University, it seems, is how beautiful the campus is. Students who have gone through the university seem to unanimously agree that with the hundreds of different types of trees, flowers and bushes around the campus, with the many lakes, the view is breathtaking.
In fact, a student from the Class of 2017 said: “I love it because it gives me a reason to smile on the way to class, and not only that, but a reason to look up from my phone and appreciate the world I live in.”
What Alumni Say:
“I worked with a local botanical garden as part of a 4th-year business course. We presented a business plan for their growth, which the committee requested a copy of for their next board meeting. We received great feedback from the garden and they were looking forward to deploying some of our suggested tactics.” – Recent Alumni
“I was a part of an ethics course case study. We traveled up to Nova Scotia, Canada to present at a conference.” – Recent Alum
“In the Business in the Pacific Rim abroad experience, I traveled with professors and group of 30 students in the business school throughout Southeast Asia and gained first-hand exposure to foreign markets and business practices.” – Recent Alum
“I was part of a group that managed a portion of the University’s endowment and obtained real-life portfolio management experience as well as experience working in a team environment.” – Recent Alum
Where the Class of 2017 Went to Work:
JPMorgan Chase & Co.: 9
FactSet Research Systems, Inc: 7
Baker Tilly: 6
Oracle NetSuite: 6
Call Box: 5
Credit Suisse: 4
Red Ventures: 4
Insight Global: 4