Ranking No. 23 this year, the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University improved three places from last year’s No. 26. Located in metropolitan Dallas, the Cox School celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2020. It leverages the city’s extensive network of high-profile companies to offer students a rigorous education with plenty of opportunities to apply their studies in the real world.
Cox had an acceptance rate of 48.70% this year, much more selective than last year’s 62.54% and an average SAT score of 1457, also up from last year’s score of 1399.
The employment outcomes for Cox students help paint a clearer picture of how important it is for a B-school to have a well-connected network. An impressive 94% of the Class of 2021 had a business-focused internship before graduating, only down 1% from the Class of 2020’s 95%, and 91.78% of the Class of 2021 secured a full-time position within three months of graduation, up from last year’s 87.32%.
A true veteran in the business education market, the Cox School is popular among its recent graduates. Alumni helped the Cox School finish 15th overall in the Alumni Experience portion of our rankings thanks to a strong alumni survey.
THE COX CURRICULUM
Cox students take 11 core courses that offer a foundation in business theory and skills. After they complete their core coursework, students can choose from seven majors including Accounting, Finance, General Business, Marketing, Management, Business Analytics and Supply Chain Management, and Real Estate. Additionally, students have four concentrations to sharpen their focus including Energy Management, Entrepreneurship, Real Estate, and Risk Management & Insurance.
When asked about the number opportunities given to them in the program to nurture and improve their soft skills, 2019 alumni gave the B-School a strong 9.3, and when asked if faculty was available outside of class for informal meetings and discussions, the school received a high 9.6.
One of the biggest benefits of the Cox education is the B-school’s proximity to the thriving business hub of Dallas, Texas. Home to a number of Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T, Energy Transfer Equity, Southwest Airlines, Tenet Healthcare, and Texas Instruments, the city of Dallas offers a number of opportunities for students to secure internships and gain valuable work experience.
One prime example of the B-school leveraging its location is through the Cox Honors Marketing Practicum, a course where students partner with Fox Sports Southwest and the Dallas Mavericks to create a 360-degree marketing campaign.
“It helped prepare me because it taught me the full process of creating a marketing plan start to finish and we were responsible for collecting and analyzing our own consumer data,” one 2018 alumni who now works as a Marketing Analyst at Jamba Juice told us. “ In my current job, I do a lot of analysis on consumer data.”
For students potentially interested in a marketing career, the Honors Marketing Practicum at Cox is a perfect opportunity to gain real world experience that is valuable to potential employers.
“This was an exceptional opportunity to deliver a real product to a real customer,” another 2018 alumni told us about their experience in the marketing practicum. “We were given the full responsibility to use what we had learned in our first 3.5 years to complete this project. I still use the skills I learned during this experience in my day-to-day job, interview conversations, and more.”
When asked how they would rate the Cox School’s efforts to bring them into contact with practicing professions in the business community, 2019 alumni gave a whopping 9.3 average rating – a tell-tale sign that Cox students are well-connected to the wider Dallas community.
SMALL, TIGHT-KNIT COMMUNITY
Another big benefit of the Cox education is the community. With average class size in Cox courses between 35 and 40, business students have a small, tight-knit learning environment to truly engage with each other and their professors.
Group team work is an essential part of business education. And while many b-schools can say they offer opportunities for group collaboration, the Cox School’s small class sizes enable an atmosphere of strong support and collaboration — a key differentiator of the Cox education.
“Above all else, the people around me pushed me to be the best I could be,” one 2018 alumni told us.
Additionally, the small, tight-knit Cox community plays a large role in allowing students to connect to alumni for potential jobs and internships.
When asked how accessible and willing the school’s alumni were in helping them connect with potential employers, 2018 Cox alumni gave a strong 9.1 average rating. Alumni also rated the Cox alumni network and connections a strong 9.2 average rating in terms of helping them throughout their career.
Overall, what makes the Cox undergraduate experience unique is the B-school’s prime location in Dallas and its well-connected alumni network giving students plenty of opportunities to not only learn business, but to also apply their education in the real world.
“I participated in a selective honors program (Alternative Asset Management Center “AAMC”) designed to prepare students for investment banking careers. I interviewed with nearly every bank I wanted to and was a top performer in my intern and subsequent full-time analysts classes because of this program.”
“One of the key projects we did was a strategic alternatives analysis for a large public company. This included working with a small team to put together a financial model and presentation submission and was highly similar to an investment banking exercise. This experience put our class way ahead of the competition and was incredibly helpful.”
“I had the opportunity to manage $4 million in equities as a part of a faculty-selected portfolio practicum class. I had voting authority to research, pitch, and transact on securities — and interact with fund managers and industry practitioners in Dallas.”
“Developing a 50 page business page and having to create financials from scratch and other existing business models. In accounting they never make you build an income statement from scratch let alone BS and Statement of CF. This was a very integral part of understanding how businesses are constructed, structured and financed.”
Where The Class of 2020 Went To Work:
Goldman Sachs – 10
EY – 9
JPMorgan Chase – 8
Wells Fargo – 6
JLL – 6
FTI Consulting – 5
Bank of America Merrill Lynch – 5
Citi – 4
Accenture – 4
Bain & Co. – 3