For those looking for a tropical get-away and business education, consider Florida Southern College’s School of Business. Even better? Florida Southern has consistently improved each of the three years it’s participated in our ranking. Three years ago, Florida Southern, which sits between Tampa and Orlando, debuted at No. 83. Last year, it climbed to 74th place, and this year it surged to 52nd place.
The school took a fairly even approach, placing 47th overall in the admissions standards category and 50th in employment outcomes. It did, however, see a bit of a dip in the academic experience category, ranking 69th overall. Still, the school offers an intriguing option for Florida locals and those interested in studying in a warm climate, alike.
Florida Southern offers the normal bachelor’s in business administration degree. But where the school differs in the curriculum from other B-schools is instead of majors, it offers three “career tracks” of finance, international business, and management.
The school has also introduced some recent changes to appeal to future business leaders. First, the school boasts a “state-of-the-art” building with a Bloomberg trading room. Plus the school offers the professional Bloomberg Certification. Officials from the school claim it is one of the largest collegiate Bloomberg centers. Even cooler, the school has a 3D modeling work area and has added majors in health care administration and sports business management. The school has also caught on with the times and has been investing in business analytics faculty.
CAPSTONE PROJECT A HIT AMONG RECENT ALUMNI
According to our alumni survey, which surveys graduates two years after graduation and makes up the methodology in the academic experience portion of the rankings, about 58% of the graduating Class of 2018 said they were involved in some sort of “signature experience,” which was defined as project work, experiential learning, or an international experience. We then asked alumni to elaborate on the key experience(s) that they had. Most popular among Florida Southern graduates was the capstone project completed during the senior year.
“The final capstone class was very useful and appropriate to put all the previous college learning to use,” one alumnus told us in the survey. “It allowed everyone to see how legitimate businesses operate and how the decision-making process trickles down the chain and impacts the outside environment.”
Said another: “I completed a capstone course that gave students insight into how companies are broken down into segments to review their strengths and weaknesses. We presented our findings and analysis of a particular company as the final project and made proposals to improve the company’s current position.”
“We completed a capstone course to receive our degree. It comprised of learning the aspects of business strategy and applying these strategies to case studies,” one other alum explained. “The final project for the course was a group project where we applied all of the concepts we learned to a business of our choosing. We used models that helped us measure the business’ performance and used the results to determine areas of strengths and weaknesses. After examining the weaknesses found in the company, we developed strategies that may help the company improve their weaknesses or achieve other organizational goals.”
TOP-RATED QUALITY OF TEACHING IN BUSINESS COURSES AMONG ALL SCHOOLS
Alumni also rated the quality of teaching in their business courses very highly. On a one-to-10 scale, graduates from the Class of 2018 rated the quality of teaching in business courses at 9.5, which was higher than any other school included in this year’s ranking. That topped traditionally top schools like the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce, among others.
Florida Southern also excelled in the employment outcomes category this year. The school reported that some 72% of Class of 2020 graduates had at least one business-focused internship by graduation. More impressively, 94.71% of the Class of 2020 reported having accepted a full-time position within three months of graduation. Only 16 schools reported a higher rate this year. Of those reporting a full-time position and a salary, the average first-job earnings for the Class of 2020 was $52,023.
Overall, Florida Southern provides a solid business school option for Florida residents or those looking to escape to a warm climate, in an interesting area of the state and Southeast. With a total cost of less than $140K, Florida Southern also offers one of the most economically-responsible options, especially for Florida residents or those that can gain residency.
What Recent Alumni Say:
“I wanted to start my own business right after I graduated and my teachers helped me make that possible. They offered me as much experience they could as an entrepreneur and they connected me with programs that would help me be successful.”
“My undergraduate senior project necessitated extreme research into the merger process between AB InBev and SABMiller giving me a very real outlook on international business and anti-trust issues.”
“The relationships built between the students and professors made our capstone project much more fun and immersive. It felt like we were working with our professor as a team.”
“We were given an already established company that was financially unstable and about to go out of business. We had to create a business plan, marketing strategy, etc to improve their position in the industry. I believe this seminar class, as a whole, was the best preparation for the working world.” – Recent Alumni
“I worked with a group of diverse students to design a way that a company could invest in the future. We worked with a trucking company, mainly focusing on renewable energy resources, to appeal to potential investors and customers with regards to an accurate business model that we studied for most of the semester. Using a SWOT analysis, pivot table diagrams to decipher a cost analysis on the products at hand, and Bloomberg machines to find the trend the market was going we were successful in foreseeing a turnaround that would build and prepare the company in the future.”