The Miami University Farmer School of Business launched their First Year Integrated Core (FYIC) program in fall 2016, with over 1,200 students and 21 faculty members engaged in it in its inaugural year. The following year, the school put an administrative structure in place, with a Director of the First-Year Integrated Core, and four faculty members as course team lead.
Students in the program get hands-on learning through four courses that culminate in a business client challenge where they connect with a real company that shares a business challenge with them, provides them with data, and set the 120+ teams to work. After a presentation to faculty and peers, the winning teams get to present their recommendations to senior client executives.
Each course has embedded undergraduate students that serve as peer mentors, just in case some students need help, and there are also coaching and mentoring modules for first-year international students because that’s how much Farmer School cares.
The FYIC program also has a student intern, who works with the director to execute program priorities. And in the 2018 – 2019 academic year, faculty continued working to improve the program, customizing course materials and open educational resources to facilitate curriculum integration, while adding new technologies such as Packback and Pitchvantage to the curriculum pedagogy.
And in their further effort to ensure curriculum integration, a faculty committee has mapped an integration of the skills-based learnings from the FYIC program into the core business curriculum and required major courses.
“At the end of the program, every first-year student has a career-ready resume and cover letter, experience with applying for an internship, and coursework in collaboration and teamwork, coding, creative thinking, and business communication,” Kirk Bogard, Associate Vice President for Advancement and External Relations, shared.
ONE OF THE LESSER EXPENSIVE TOP-RANKED SCHOOLS
Miami University is a public research university in Oxford, Ohio, and was founded in 1809. It’s Farmer School of Business offers a four-year undergraduate business program, where students can major in Accountancy, Business Economics, Finance, Human Capital Management and Leadership, Information Systems and Analytics, Interdisciplinary Business Management, Marketing, and Supply Chain and Operations Management. The school also offers co-majors in Analytics and Entrepreneurship, and minors in many other areas.
In Fall 2018, the school received 7,866 applications to their undergraduate business program, and 4,927 were admitted, giving the school an acceptance rate of 62.6 percent for direct applicants. Of the 28 percent of students who submitted their SATs for consideration, the average score was 1323, and of the 80 percent of students who submitted their ACT scores for consideration, the average score was 29.2.
The school estimates that the total four-year cost, including tuition and fees, for an in-state graduate in the Class of 2018 is $61,512, and $139,580 for the out-of-state student. Additional expenses such as food, lodging, transportation, and supplies are expected to add another $63,808. About 80 percent of incoming Fall 2018 students received scholarship support upon being accepted into the business school, and the average scholarship amount handed out was $11,086.
STUDENTS BEGIN WITH 24-HOUR SUMMER ORIENTATION
All domestic students start their Miami experience with a 24-hour summer orientation program, which includes about three hours of Farmer School of Business-specific programming.
During these three hours, Farmer faculty and staff conduct presentations on the curriculum, involvement opportunities, expectations, 1-1 advising, and fall class registration to the students. International students and domestic students who cannot attend this June orientation must complete orientation in late August by spending a similar amount of time in Farmer sessions.
All new first-year students are also expected to complete online training modules on Alcohol Education, Sexual Assault Prevention, and Fire Safety. The first two, especially, are after all among the biggest issues young people are grappling with today, especially in the college environment. Training for each of the topics is estimated to take between 60 and 90 minutes each.
To help prepare students, transition programs are also available over Welcome weekend, which is the time between move-in and the start of classes at Miami. Also available is the First 50 Days transition programming, where when combined with Welcome weekend, is seven weeks of almost 400 events to help new students meet new people, make new friends, know where to get help when they need it, figure out the campus, and how to set themselves up for success while enjoying all that the university has to offer. In total, the programs easily exceed 500 hours, though all that’s required is about 2 hours of college-specific programs during Welcome Weekend, and an hour of summer reading discussions, a university Convocation, and an hour at the Farmer School of Business college welcome.
As part of the school’s continued efforts to improve the program, they recently approved a new core curriculum for their Marketing majors, with a new analytical research and reasoning course, and introduced an education policy course to the Economics division, where students travel to Washington DC to meet with policymakers and submit original research proposals to scholarly journals.
HIGH RATES OF ‘SIGNATURE EXPERIENCES’ AMONG ALUMS
The leaders at Farmer School consider it “a large business school in a mid-sized public university, with an almost exclusive focus on excellence in undergraduate business education” with over 4,000 students under their wing. The school has been recognized by US News and World Report as one of the top 3 universities for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence in the nation.
The school has embedded experiential learning and co-curricular opportunities in the curriculum so that every Farmer School student should have multiple opportunities to learn by doing. From capstone courses with consulting components and hands-on business challenges that engages students in active learning, to the school’s Executive Speaker Series, Finance Week, Wall Street Week, Miami Ad Week: Chicago, Start-Up Weekend, and numerous case competitions and entrepreneurship programs, it’s difficult to avoid building a portfolio in experiential learning at Farmer.
In a survey conducted by Poets&Quants, almost 75 percent of alumni from the Class of 2016 said that they were involved in a signature experience while at Farmer.
“The “High-Wire Brand Studio” Capstone enabled me to have an exceptional experience working for PepsiCo with a lot of different types of people on a project that was extremely different than the typical classroom environment,” Jacob Ganger, a marketing major from the Class of 2016, said “It enabled me to hit the ground running out of school having experience working on high-level business application.”
Today, Ganger is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Adept Marketing.
Another alumnus, Danielle Cincurak, said that her capstone project connected with her with a Fortune 500 company. The Supply Chain and Operations Management major now works as a Lead Distribution Consultant at Terillium Inc.
“I was in a capstone project that allowed me to work with my peers to create a mobile application for a Fortune 500 company, present the model, design, and functionality to the company,” she said. “Post presentation, I was asked to follow up for interviews at the Fortune 500 company.”
Half of the alumni who responded to the survey also said that they engaged in a global immersion, trip, or project while at Farmer, traveling to places including Guatemala, Hong Kong, and Australia.
One alumnus shared that as part of a Farmer School of Business: Pacific Rim trip, she was part of a team that spent six weeks visiting China, South Korea, and Japan. She added that employers have shown interest in her experience as it isn’t commonly found, and the Supply Chain & Operations Management major is working as a Sourcing Specialist for McDonald’s Corp today.
Jacob Smith, Class of 2016, said that his time at Farmer was very life-changing, and one of the things he got to do was travel to Sydney, Australia. Farmer Students have over 770 semester abroad opportunities to choose from the university and 23 business-specific ones that are offered and organized by the school.
“I participated in a study abroad program in Sydney, Australia which included taking classes, working on a project with the Australian Baseball League, and an internship with Suncorp,” Smith, who now works as a Senior Analyst with Suncorp, said. “This program allowed me to continue my academic learning, broaden my global knowledge, as well as creating connections with my current employers.”
Smith also added that the school made sure many classes included a project with an external company as part of the curriculum.
“One that stands out the most was in my final year, we worked with a legal aid search engine company who provides a database of cases for lawyers to research for their cases,” he said. “We worked with this company to help find areas to improve their business, through an analysis of free-text feedback emails, modeled the data, and finally presented back our findings to a leadership team at the company.”
STRONG MIDWESTERN CAREERS REPORT
About 75 percent of alumni from the Class of 2016 said that they would recommend the program at Farmers without hesitation, and 55 percent said that the program had prepared them exceptionally well for the world of work.
The school shared that over 60 percent of all Farmer School students have at least one global study experience, and 71 percent of the graduating Class of 2018 participated in a consulting project with an organization.
About 91 percent of students from the Class of 2018 had business-specific internships before graduation, and 83 percent found full-time jobs within a couple of months of graduation with average salaries of $59,540 and signing bonuses of 5,621.
The school counts among its list of top employers companies including Ernst & Young, Textron, PricewaterhouseCoopers, JP Morgan, Deloitte, KPMG, Amazon, Ferguson Enterprises, and Abercrombie & Fitch.
With an undergraduate business alumni network of about 52,000, the school says their departments have also recently established external partnerships with alumni, which create opportunities for classroom engagement, career mentoring, and even better job placements for students.