All first-year students who enroll at the Southern Methodist University Edwin L. Cox School of Business will now be required to go through the Business Communications and Leader Development course. After all, the best business people must know how to communicate in order to lead well.
The Southern Methodist University is a private research university in metropolitan Dallas, Texas, and their Cox School of Business offers a four-year undergraduate business program.
In Fall 2018, the school received 4,360 applications to join their undergraduate business program, and admitted 485 students. The average SAT score of the 40 percent of students who submitted it was 1,494, and the average ACT score for 77 percent of students who submitted was 33.2.
The school estimates that the total four-year cost, covering tuition and fees, of attending is $196,986, with additional expenses such as room, board, transportation, and supplies, adding another $62,196 to the cost. Despite the seemingly hefty price tag, it is important to note that the school says every student in the incoming Fall 2018 class received scholarship support once they were accepted to the business school in the average amount of $40,026.
While the school shared that 23 percent of incoming Fall 2018 students self-identified as belonging to an under-represented minority group, just 1 percent of their incoming students are international students, and none of them are first-generation college students.
LOCATION EQUALS STRONG JOB NUMBERS
The business school is extremely proud of its location, being right in the heart of Dallas, Texas, which is also known as one of the world’s premier business centers. Dallas is home to several Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T, Energy Transfer Equity, Southwest Airlines, Tenet Healthcare, and Texas Instruments. The school shared with Poets&Quants in a survey that 87 percent of students in the Class of 2017 has at least one business-specific internship before graduation, and 93 percent of business students in the Class of 2018 had the same.
When it came to full-time employment, nearly 92% of the 2018 grads seeking employment were full-time employed within three months of graduation. For the Class of 2017, the average drawn salary was $63,045, but with the Class of 2018, this number rose to 67,138, with some students earning as much as $74,452. Of the 42 percent of students in the Class of 2017 who received signing bonuses, the average amount was $16,165, and though the percentage of students in the Class of 2018 receiving signing bonuses increased to 50 percent, the average amount fell to $10,894.
The school counts among its list of top employers companies including Goldman Sachs, Ernst & Young, Deloitte, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, UBS, Oracle, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, American Airlines, A.T. Kearney, and Citigroup.
Seeing that the offices of almost all the firms above are located just a seven minute drive away from Cox School of Business in downtown Dallas, it’s little wonder the schools their location gives their students “unique out-of-class opportunities”. “We pride ourselves on interactive, real-world projects that give our students experience they will take directly into their careers,” Anna Martinez, Director of Media Relations at SMU Cox, said. And being almost next door to the world’s multinational corporations makes it much easier to begin courting industry professionals and expanding your network from day one.
FEATURING SEVEN MAJORS TO PICK FROM
Business students at Cox School of Business can choose to major in Accounting, Finance, Financial Consulting, General Business, Marketing, Management, and Real Estate Finance.
Regardless of which major a student chooses, they must also take other Business Core Courses on top of the business leadership course. The other core courses include classes on financial and managerial accounting, business statistics, information systems for management, financial management, operations management, business law, management of organizations, marketing, and strategic management.
The school also offers four concentrations in Energy Management, Entrepreneurship, Real Estate Finance, and Risk Management and Insurance, and minors in Business and Business Administration.
POPULAR HANDS-ON LEARNING EXPERIENCES
Cox School of Business believes that hands-on learning is the best way to learn, and about 55 percent of alumni from the Class of 2016 shared with P&Q that they were engaged in a “signature” experience while at Cox.
One of the most popular programs that several alumnus said changed their undergraduate experience, was the Alternative Asset Management program, that is targeted at a small group of high performing finance students. The program prepares them for rigorous careers in finance, specializing in the areas of investment banking and investing.
Every year, about 50 undergrads in their junior year are selected for the highly-competitive BBA honors program in Alternative Assets based on their GPAs, strength of courses, demonstrated work ethic, recommendation letters, and interview performance. The media GPA of the incoming 2018 class was 3.93.
The program begins with a Spring semester class, where students engage with multiple case studies to gain familiarity with private equity and investment banking. As rising juniors, the students will take on a summer internship, usually at an investment bank, consulting firm, hedge fund, or money management firm. They will return for classes in the fall as seniors, before taking on a voluntary CFA review course in the spring if they plan to take the CFA Level 1 exam after graduating.
A particularly attractive part of the program if the portfolio management practicum, where 30 undergraduates are selected with 30 graduate students to manage funds with assets of approximately $9 million, making it one of the largest and oldest student-managed portfolios in the United States.
“The experience from the Alternative Asset Management program puts SMU students in a position to succeed in a talent pool that includes students from the top universities in the world, at the most elite financial institutions,” Paul Nork, Class of 2016, said. “I personally gained an internship and eventually an analyst position at Goldman Sachs’ hyper competitive San Francisco investment banking office, where (because of the Alts program) I was able to differentiate myself as an analyst with the strongest technical skills and above average “commercial” thinking – knowing exactly what is important in the particular task you are assigned.”
While at SMU Cox, Nork, a Financial Consulting major with a specialization in Alternative Asset Management did four business-related internships, on top of his involvement in the program. He said that the interview preparation and alumni networking he had through the program helped prepare him in a “regimented” way, and that he highly recommended the program. Today, Nork works as a Healthcare Hedge Fund Analyst for Balyasny Asset Management.
ALTERNATIVE ASSET MANAGEMENT PROGRAM LEADS TO LUCRATIVE FIRST JOBS
Chris Warley, Class of 2016, was also part of the Alternative Asset Management program. He said that as a final project for the program, the class worked in teams to explore “strategic alternatives” for Hawaiian Airlines.
“Each group created financial models, and presented a detailed presentation in from of the Cox Board,” Warley, who now works as a Private Equity Associate for Pearl Energy Investments, said. “The top three groups were chosen to present to the board of Hawaiian Airlines in Hawaii (the entire Alternative Assets program was flown to Hawaii to meet the board of Hawaiian Airlines and tour the headquarters).”
Warley shared that his salary at the start of his first job after graduation was $85,000, with a $10,000 signing bonus. He, like Nork, completed four business-related internships while working on to earn his undergraduate degrees in Finance and Journalism.
Over at the school’s Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship, students can not only take classes to become more prepared as entrepreneurs, or develop an entrepreneurial mindset that many employers are seeking out today. Blockchain business model strategies have been included in undergraduate entrepreneurship classes to keep students up to date.
Other signature experiences that alumni of the Class of 2016 have brought up have been practicum and hands-on experiences, where they got to travel for events and do a valuation exercise of a public company; and capstone projects, where some created business plans for-profits and nonprofits, researched on the strategic goals and vision of companies, and even created small businesses.
An alumni shared that he traveled to Hawaii to attend the Hawaiian Airlines annual shareholder meeting as part of his Honors Finance Practicum class. They also toured the airline operations and later on presented a comprehensive analysis of strategic alternatives to the Hawaiian Airlines management team as a culmination of the semester-long course and intensive study of their business and positioning.
Another said that as part of his marketing practicum, he spent a semester developing and pitching a social media program strategy for Fox Sports Southwest.
About 86 percent of SMU Cox alumni from the Class of 2016 said that they would recommend the program to friends and colleagues, and over 80 percent said they felt that the program had prepared them well for work.
STUDY ABROAD OPTIONS
Another way in which the school prepares the students for the real world is through global experiences. Though only 14 percent of alumni from the Class of 2016 said that they traveled abroad, the school shared that students can choose from ten courses that offer a significant global business component to get a global outlook on business. These courses include class on international finance, international marketing, international finance, strategic management in a globalized economy, and global energy markets, business, and policy.
The school also shared that students can choose from 150 study abroad opportunities offered by the university, and five business specific ones, and that 28 percent of students usually have a global experience before graduation.
Of the responses from the Class of 2016 alumni, students traveled to places including London, New Mexico, and West Africa. And in cases where they didn’t travel, they took permitted classes to fulfill the university’s global coursework requirement. Justin Wolfe, who now works as the Assistant Director of Housekeeping at Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, said that he took two semesters of Spanish courses to learn about the culture and language of Spanish-speaking countries.
Almost 90 percent of alumni from the Class of 2016 who responded to the P&Q survey said that their first job after graduating was in their desired job function, About 80 percent of them said their first job was even at the company they wanted to join, and 73 percent said that their time at SMU Cox was life changing.
What Alumni Say:
“Our entire Honors Finance practicum class traveled to Hawaii to attend Hawaiian Airlines annual shareholder meeting, tour operations and most importantly present a comprehensive analysis of strategic alternatives to HA management team. The strategic alternatives review was the culmination of a semester long course and intensive study of Hawaiian Airlines business and their strategic positioning.” – Class of 2016 alum
“The Alternative Asset Management (Alts) program at SMU is a signature learning experience that prepares a small group of high performing finance students for rigorous careers in finance (investment banking and investing). The experience from Alts puts SMU students in a position to succeed in a talent pool that includes students from the top universities in the world, at the most elite financial institutions. I personally gained an internship and eventually an analyst position at Goldman Sachs’ hyper competitive San Francisco investment banking office, where (because of the Alts program) I was able to differentiate myself as an analyst with the strongest technical skills and above average “commercial” thinking – knowing exactly what is important in the particular task you are assigned. Alts includes interview prep and alumni networking which makes SMU students prepared in a regimented way. I can’t recommend the program enough.” – Class of 2016 alum
“I participated in a group-based capstone project in which I was able to pull knowledge for most of my classes in undergrad in order to develop a comprehensive business plan for a company of our choosing. The project culminated in our group presenting our business pitch to the class, including a financial analysis and a TV/YouTube commercial.” – Class of 2016 alum
Where The Class of 2018 Went To Work:
Goldman Sachs – 16
JPMorgan Chase – 10
Citi – 8
Bank of America Merrill Lynch – 6
Deloitte – 6
Houlihan Lokey – 6
Ernst & Young – 5
Oracle – 5
CBRE – 4
PwC – 4