Ithaca College’s School of Business landed at No. 93 in this year’s rankings. Ithaca College dropped 32 spots from last year’s rank of No. 61. The B-school had an acceptance rate of 85.45% and an average SAT score of 1181 this year. Internship outcomes experienced a dip, although still remained strong despite the COVID-19 economic downturn with 88% of the Class of 2020 landing a business-focused internship before graduating, compared to last year’s 97%. Employment outcomes for Ithaca’s Class of 2020 were not available, which is one of the factors that led to Ithaca’s slide from last year to this year’s finish.
Despite placing lower on the rankings this year, Ithaca College School of Business still offers an extraordinary undergraduate business program that emphasizes learning by doing with strong experiential learning opportunities, an in-depth professional development program, and cutting-edge resources.
EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
Ithaca College School of Business offers the following portfolio of undergraduate majors: Accounting, Finance (with Asset Management, Corporate Finance, and Wealth Management tracks), International Business, Marketing, Management, Sport Management, and Secondary Concentrations in Corporate Accounting and Sports Marketing. Within each major curriculum, experiential learning is well-integrated with plenty of case studies, consulting projects, and service-learning opportunities to give students hands-on experiences.
All first-year students are required to take a comprehensive “World of Business” course, where they are introduced to the key functions of business and work in student teams to run a simulated company. One thing that makes this course especially unique is that the World of Business professor also acts as students’ official advisor for their first two years. This creates a strong mentorship as the professor gets to connect with students more and understand their goals and interests.
Another strong example of the experiential learning at Ithaca is in its Sports Management program. Students in the program (one of the oldest sports management programs in the nation) get unique access to intern at some of the world’s largest sporting events. Past students have participated in faculty-led internships at events such as Super Bowls (L-LIII), Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, NCAA basketball tournaments, and the “Cortaca Jug” game at MetLife Stadium (the annual college football matchup between the Red Dragons of the State University of New York at Cortland and the Bombers of Ithaca College).
These types of experiential learning opportunities are not unique to the Sports Management program. Students in every business program at Ithaca are given real-world opportunities to learn their trade.
“We did consulting for local companies on their marketing efforts for my marketing degree,” one 2018 alum told us. “For my management degree, we did management consulting with a local hotel.”
Ithaca College takes a truly holistic approach to professional development. All undergraduate business students are required to take the Professions Program, a four-year professional development curriculum that includes networking and interview skills, personal branding, professional dress, and etiquette. Students begin by taking part in workshops such as “Making Success a Habit” and “All-Star Interviewing.”
What really makes the Professions Program unique, however, are the courses. In “Informational Interview,” students explore a career path of interest and conduct an interview with a professional in their field of interest using the skills that they learned in their workshops. In “Career Exploration,” students spend 30 hours shadowing an organization in their field of interest and interviewing employees to learn more about their role and the business. While many B-schools offer resume and etiquette workshops, Ithaca College takes professional development one step further by requiring students to apply their workshop learnings into action.
That extra step in professional development pays off. Ithaca College boasts impressive internship outcomes (97% of the Class of 2019 landed a business-focused internship) even when compared to some top-ranking B-schools. Popular internship sites for Ithaca undergraduates include Amazon, Deloitte, JPMorgan, and Google — to name a few.
Within the B-school, students have access to a number of state-of-the-art facilities and resources to utilize. Ithaca recently launched two brand new technology labs, the Neeson Business Analytics Lab and the Neeson Digital Marketing Lab. The business analytics lab features a state-of-the-art teaching space and a range of analysis tools such as Microsoft Excel, R Studio, and Tableau. While many B-schools offer virtual trading rooms, Ithaca’s lab is one of the few to fully dedicate its lab to analytics. At the digital marketing lab, marketing students also have a dedicated space to utilize web-based software platforms including customer relationship management (CRM) and account-based management (ABM) as well as tools such as Salesforce Social Studio and iMotions eye-tracking and facial scanning software.
The cutting-edge resources are a strong example of how Ithaca College approaches business education. Here, learning exists both within and beyond the classroom environment. Students engage in hands-on projects where they work in teams and consult for companies. They learn important career searching skills that they then directly apply to securing an internship. They apply their knowledge by using the software that practitioners use every day. Because, at Ithaca College, learning business is a lot like doing business in the real world. And that’s exactly what makes it unique.
“Going to visit Koch industries and see the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting was just inspiring and was amazing to feel awash in a wave of people interested in the same subject matter.”