At The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, the school knows how confusing things can get in the transition to college. That’s why the school’s developed the Fisher Navigator, a software tool designed to help students discover their career path by finding out more about classes, course requirements for majors, and to create academic course plans.
After all, 16 percent of the incoming Fall 2018 students were first-generation students, 11 percent were international students, and another 11 percent came from underrepresented minority groups.
To further support these underserved students in their successes, Fisher School also recently initiated a summer bridge program called Fisher F.I.R.S.T., which stands for Focusing on Inclusion and Readiness for a Successful Transition. The early-arrival program lasts a year and is designed to support underrepresented minority and first-generation students by giving them a head start.
Students in the program arrive before the academic year begins, and participate in programs that help them transition to Ohio State both academically and socially. The programming includes networking sessions, student success workshops, and community building activities. On top of this, they are also connected with a dedicated Program Manager and receive mentoring from upperclassmen who they can turn to for help if college life feels begins to feel overwhelming.
Ohio State University is a public university in Columbus, Ohio. There are 7,552 full-time undergraduates at the Fisher College of business, who can choose to specialize in Accounting, Business Management (offered only at the Regional campuses), Aviation Management, Economics, Finance, Human Resources, Information Systems, Insurance, International Business, Logistics Management, Marketing, Operations Management, Real Estate, and Special Area.
In Fall 2018, the school received 8,188 applications to join its undergraduate business program, and 3,160 were admitted. The acceptance rate for direct applicants is 14.7 percent, and the average ACT score of the 78 percent of students who reported their scores was 29. Of the 35 percent of students who reported their SAT score, the average SAT score was 1340, and the average high school GPA of the incoming Fall 2018 class is 3.99.
“Ohio State and Fisher attracts students from all over the country and globe, who have a multitude of backgrounds and bring a variety of interests – both academic and co-curricular,” Melinda McDonald, Executive Director of Undergraduate Programs at Fisher College of Business, said. “Common traits I see among our students are the desire to pursue a top business education “plus”. What I mean by “plus” is – they want a top business education, plus be in a large, dynamic academic environment, plus have access to a city that connects them to industry and entertainment, plus have the opportunity to study or intern abroad, plus explore the thousands of ways to become involved and engaged. Their expectations in the classroom are high and so are their expectations outside of the classroom.”
LOW-COST AND TOP-RANKED OPTION
The college estimates that the total four-year cost of attending including tuition and university fees is $49,047 for in-state students and $125,463 for an out-of-state student, while additional expenses on food, lodging, transportation, and supplies are likely to add about $117,791 to the cost for an in-state student, and $194,207 for an out-of-state student. About 69 percent of students received an average scholarship amount of $10,192 to help ease the cost of attending. And in a survey conducted by Poets&Quants, over 70 percent of alumni from the Class of 2016 said that the business degree was well worth its cost in tuition.
In recent years, the school has also developed an International Business minor on top of the other existing minors in Business, Business Analytics, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Insurance, and International Business.
Regardless of what specialization a student chooses, they must take a core set of classes including courses in accounting, statistics, business analytics, international business, legal environment, and business finance.
To further encourage first-generation students to choose Fisher, the school recently created a summer recruitment program called First@Fisher, where students can kick off their college search process by learning about the business education that Fisher provides and ask about career outcomes. Attendees also get to interact with current students, faculty, and alumni, as well as industry professionals, since company recruiters are also invited. The program will also review financial aid information that is usually of considerable importance as students begin thinking about how they are going to afford a good college education.
With the level of diversity that Fisher is encouraging, they are working to provide students with ample resources to thrive, and another way they are doing this is through the Mary Helen Wolde Chandler Future Women in Business Summit. The summit is targeted at encouraging women in business through the discussion of current industry topics while allowing Fisher alumni and students who are interested in business to network and connect with others like themselves. Rising high school seniors are also invited to this event, where they can also learn about the college application process and their path to joining Fisher.
Fisher alumni from the Class of 2016 had high praise for their alma mater, with almost 80 percent saying they would recommend the business program to a friend or colleague without hesitation. About 75 percent of them said they felt the program prepared them well for the world of work, and almost 60 percent said they were engaged in a “signature experience”.
NEARLY TWO DOZEN BUSINESS-SPECIFIC GLOBAL OPPORTUNITIES
There are plenty of opportunities for experiential learning at Fisher College, from choosing to join one of 40 business-specific student organizations to boost a portfolio, to exploring one of 20 business-specific semester abroad opportunities offered by the school. In addition, 66 of the courses offered at Fisher also have significant experiential learning requirements.
Sophomore and junior level students specializing in consulting can choose to join the Fisher Emerging Consultants program, where they will get guidance developing a consulting-focused job search plan. This means practicing for case interviews, knowing what to expect in behavioral-based interview sessions, picking up networking strategies, and learning how to dress for success and how to dine with business partners. With the partnerships, the program has with top consulting firms such as Accenture, Crowe, Deloitte Technology Consulting, KPMG, and Kalypso, students should expect to attend speaker series, and grow their personal and professional networks that could lead to internships and job offers.
Alumni from the Class of 2016 shared with P&Q that they were involved in Real Estate Case Competitions, did consulting projects for The James Cancer Research Hospital and GE Aviation and created a field marketing project for the Cleveland Indians as a capstone project. A few even said that they had earned a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt while at Fisher, while many mentioned how life-changing the Fisher industry clusters were.
One of the ways the college helps prepare its students for the world of work is through the Industry Immersion program, which is divided into the following sectors: Business Analytics, Business of Sports, Consulting, Consumer Packaged Goods, Energy & Sustainability, Healthcare, Manufacturing Systems and Design, Middle Market, Non-profit, and Retail.
As part of the Industry Immersion program, students will work with external companies on projects solving real problems, and the experience helps them build a relationship with executives and broaden their network. All participants will receive professional headshots, and the chance to engage in professional development meetings as well as travel offsite for company visits. There is even the possibility of traveling abroad with other immersion students to familiarize themselves with a specific industry abroad. The program boasts that 80 percent of participants have secured full-time internships or jobs worldwide. And schoolwide, 98 percent of students in both the classes of 2017 and 2018 had at least one business-specific internship before graduation.
“We remain firmly committed to the view that hands-on engagement with real-world cases and industry partnerships is critical to management education. For this reason, our coursework is heavily dependent on the use of in-class business simulations, case discussions and industry-driven project work,” McDonald said. “These kinds of activities force students to take on the perspectives of multiple stakeholders and organizational functions, thereby gaining an appreciation of differences in goals, constraints, and biases. Students develop a systematic understanding of how business functions and supply chain partners interact and drive value, while learning how to deal with realist levels of complexity and uncertainty in practical decision making.”
When it came to going global, about 25 percent of Fisher alumni from the Class of 2016 said they had traveled abroad while working on their undergraduate degree. From Spain and Hong Kong to London and Singapore, the students who did travel often described the experience as “amazing”.
“Fisher students who study abroad expand their understanding of the world and how others look at problems. Learning about a different culture provides perspective and an opportunity to witness a new way of life,” McDonald said. “We also encourage students to learn a second language by participating in global experiences which give them an advantage with employers.”
One alumni said that he was involved in a semester-long case study to help solve a business problem for a large multinational corporation based in Singapore. The team of five senior marketing students working with two MBA candidates and a highly experienced professor visited the company’s headquarters in Singapore at the end of the semester to present their findings to top executives.
Another said that he traveled to Sarasota, Florida each spring break in his junior and senior year, as part of the FisherCares student organization, under the sponsorship of the school. There, they volunteered at The Glasser/ Schoenbaum Human Services Center. “Not only was this experience personally rewarding, but it connected me with various other business students in different functional areas of the school itself,” he said. “Without Fisher, I never would have met one of the main beneficiaries, Betty Schoenbaum herself.”
In addition to student exchange, Fisher students can participate in a Global Lab where they explore global business centers for 10-12 days during semester breaks, Global Projects where students learn consulting techniques through company projects in global locations or a Global Internship that takes place during a summer semester and provides an opportunity for students to work in a global internship for 8-14 weeks.
Of the Class of 2017, 72 percent of students in the Class of 2017 found full-time employment within a couple of months of graduating, and 63 percent of the Class of 2018 did the same. The average salary for graduates of the Class of 2018 with full-time jobs was about $1,000 more at $54,740, and their average signing bonus was about $500 more than graduates of the class before them at $5,728.
“Fisher College graduates are: bright and successful, self-motivated leaders, well trained in their
discipline, innovative in their ideas, and technically astute,” McDonald said. “They have a broad understanding of all aspects of business: curriculum, and breadth and depth, and have a growth mindset that they apply to their lives.”
What Alumni Say:
“The capstone class allowed us to research a company and apply our 4 years of undergrad knowledge in order to help diagnose and remediate an issue a local, small business was experiencing with their current marketing strategy. We were able to network within the community, as well as gain some real-world knowledge and feedback, as a panel of our professors and the small-business executives voted for the group they thought did the best job.” – Recent Alumni
“I participated in the Honors Cohort program, a unique learning model for a business school wherein students learn about business through a historical scope and engage in a Socratic format. The program also featured other program-specific business classes tailored to the goal of the program. The program gave me the ability to think about real world issues and my career path in a totally different manner.” – Recent Alumni
“I was involved in the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry Cluster program, which offered the ability to learn and network with professionals from industry partner companies Procter & Gamble, Kroger, and the J.M. Smucker company. This opportunity was led by distinguished faculty and offered students the opportunity to gain specialized knowledge and project experience, while also enabling the connection of class learnings to real-world experience. Through this p,rogram I was able to make connections that led to a very fruitful internship experience. I was grateful to have been a part of the program.” – Recent Alumni