At Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, all freshmen are required to take a freshman seminar class, where students are divided up into sections of about 14 students each. Over the course of a year, students work with the same cohort classmates and faculty leaders in partnership with a community partner as they pick up the fundamentals of business and apply them to help solve real problems that companies are facing.
Even as students continue into their upper-level classes, practical learning continues, in part because of the school’s strong commitment to public service. In fact, because the school has two required service learning requirements, 100 percent of students get the experience of learning by serving the community while working on their undergraduate degrees.
“The Freeman School provides students with a number of experiential learning courses, where students take what they’re currently learning and apply it to real-world contexts and issues,” Michael Hogg, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education at Freeman School, said. “We’re not just giving them a theoretical business education, but opportunities to contribute their skills and knowledge to developing solutions for problems.”
Tulane University is a private research university in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Freeman School of Business offers students a four-year undergraduate business program. The school received 5,252 applications in Fall 2018, and 1,144 were admitted, giving the program an acceptance rate of 22 percent.
Of the 27 percent of students who reported their SAT scores for consideration, the average SAT score was 1420, and the average ACT score among the 74 percent of students who reported theirs was 31.2.
The Freeman School estimates that the total four-year cost of attending for a graduate in the Class of 2018 is $201,913, and additional expenses such as food, lodging, transportation, and supplies are likely to add another $68,965 to the cost. To help, over 61 percent of students in the incoming class received some form of scholarship support upon being accepted to the business school, and the average scholarship amount handed out was $28,134.
25 YEARS LATER AND BURKENROAD REPORTS STILL GOING STRONG
Life at Freeman is as much about doing, as it is about learning, and at Freeman, students can choose to major in Finance, Legal Studies in Business, Management, Marketing, or a combined degree in a major with a Master of Accounting degree that takes five years, or a combined degree in a major with a Juris Doctorate that takes six years.
Students must declare their majors and minors by the end of the sophomore year, though they may choose to do so earlier. Some students choose to begin their business curriculum as freshmen and can begin taking business classes from the start.
The Freeman School also has a variety of joint programs with other graduate programs at Tulane, such as the 3/3 program with the Tulane Law School where students complete their senior year in Freeman, as a first-year law student.
The most popular joint program is the joint Bachelor of Science in Management (BSM) and the Master of Accounting Program (MACCT), where students earn a BSM and MACCT in five years and have a busy season internship built into the program in the geographic area where the student would like to live. The placement rate in this program for the class of 2018 was 96%.
The school also offers a wide range of experiential learning opportunities even within the classroom, that connects students with for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.
A very highly recognized example is the school’s Burkenroad Reports, which was started in 1993, and is the nation’s first university-sponsored securities analysis program. The program sees about 200 students from the school work in small teams each year to follow 40 small-cap public companies headquartered in six southern states. The program has been featured in many global publications such as The New York Times, Kiplinger, Barron’s, and The Wall Street Journal, and the student’s works are followed by many professionals in the industry. The program has been so successful that Hancock Bank created a Burkenroad Mutual Fund in 2001 where money managers use the students’ research reports supplemented by other research material to help manage the fund. Since its inception, the fund has accumulated about $800 million dollars under management and has outperformed almost 99 percent of all mutual funds.
Every year, a group of upper-level students at Freeman also volunteer with CourtWatch NOLA as part of a Legal Studies in Business class. They are trained to collect data on judges, such as whether they show up on time, and what their demeanor is like, before analyzing the data and giving the judge a grade. These grades are then published in the local paper, and the experience not only helps promote transparency and accountability in the justice system, says the program offers students valuable insights into the judicial system.
Over at the Freeman School’s Darwin Fenner Student Managed Fund course, students actively manage almost $4.5 million in equity portfolios that regularly surpass benchmark indexes. From learning how to conduct research and analyze stocks, to using Bloomberg Terminals and creating sector models, students who participate in the fund leave not only with real-world experience, but also a portfolio that not many graduates from other business schools can match.
Students who choose to join the student venture accelerator and take New Venture Planning courses, get to learn hands-on how to develop an understanding of resources, strategies, and management skills needed to launch a new business. The two-semester course will see students working and refining on their business ideas to turn them into viable ventures under the guidance of faculty, and in the second semester in spring, the students will be guided through their work in teams to assess, plan, finance, launch, and manage the venture.
In a survey with alumni from the Class of 2016, about 75 percent of students said they would recommend the business program at Freeman to a friend or colleague, and 66 percent said they felt the program had prepared them well for the world of work, with about 60 percent agreeing that their business degree was worth its cost in tuition.
Starting next year, Hogg shared that freshmen students would be required to take a class in Excel, in order to solidify the foundation they’ll need for certain upper-level courses. Combined with services from the school’s specialized career management center, including a career development management course that will begin for students in their freshman year, students will be equipped with resume-writing and interviewing skills on top of more one-on-one time with counselors to be ready when the job opportunities start coming in.
TULANE BUSINESS MODEL COMPETITION A HIGHLIGHT
Outside the classroom, Freeman students can also join a student organization or case competition to gain experiential learning and continue building up their portfolios.
For those interested in entrepreneurship, the Tulane Business Model Competition encourages students to bring forth their early-stage venture ideas that can demonstrate a market-tested ability to adapt to customers’ needs. Working in teams of between two and five students, the team can win up to $40,000 in prizes to help find their dreams.
A student entrepreneur looking to grow their professional and personal network can join the Tulane Entrepreneurs Association, which hosts Speaker Series, coordinating workshops, and helps connect students with industry professionals who can turn into mentors and employers.
If a student has an idea on their mind, and find themselves wanting to try their hand at creating a product, the Tulane Makerspace is a student-operated space that is open to art, craft, and technology. Students are provided with access to tools, assistance, and ideas for the development of devices and prototypes, and the space is set up to allow for laser cutting, 3D printing, and Computer Numerical Controlled machine tools.
Students who feel like they need to read up more on how to launch their businesses can visit the Turchi Business Library, where they’ll have access to resources to guide them through starting and managing a business, including information on business entity databases, business plan guides, intellectual property registration sites, and links to city and state sites for determining the best legal structure for the business.
In the last three years, the school has even continued to introduce even more resources to ensure their students’ needs are met.
At the Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, a new Student Venture Incubator has been set up as a space for students to access mentors and services from corporate sponsors including Amazon, Hubspot, and IBM.
High-performing undergraduate students at Freeman may also be selected by the Lepage center for paid fellowship positions where they work directly with local entrepreneurs as well as help research and map regional entrepreneurial activity.
Over 60 percent of alumni from the Class of 2016 said that they were engaged in a “signature” experience” while at Tulane, many of whom said they had participated in the renowned Burkenroad Reports.
“(Burkenroad Reports) was one of the most valuable courses I’ve ever taken. Extremely hands-on, with a real-world experiential learning experience,” Harrison Ezratty, Class of 2016, said. “I cannot speak highly enough about this course and my overall experience as a student at the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University.” Ezratty is now working as a marketing coordinator at Relix Magazine.
STRONG AVERAGE SALARY FOR MOST RECENT GRADUATING CLASS
While no global courses are required of Freeman students, the university offers them 126 programs in countries across the globe to choose from, and the school offers 43 business-specific exchange programs in partnership with schools in China, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Chile, Brazil, and many more.
The school shared that 53 percent of the graduating class of 2018 went on semester-long exchange programs, and many others shorter on travel opportunities.
Alumni from the Class of 2016 shared stories where they interned at PricewaterhouseCoopers in New Orleans and studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, went to Venice in Italy and studied in Paris.
Veronica Bird, from the Class of 2016, spent a semester in Chile taking four business courses. “I found the experience invaluable due to the cultural communication learning alone,” Bird, who now works as a multimedia sales consultant with The New Orleans Advocate, said. “The interaction of different cultures in business was a big focus of the coursework,
and made it much more meaningful to be studying in a place with a culture much different than my own.
The school shared in a survey with P&Q that about 68 percent of students in both the classes of 2017 and 2018 completed at least one business-specific internship before graduation and about 93 percent of students from the Class of 2018 found full-time employment within a few months of graduation. These students received an average salary of $60,422.
“Learning is so much more engaging when you have courses that go beyond a lecture, where you can apply things to figure out if it works or not,” Hogg said. “Employers tell us our students are ready to hit the ground running and don’t need extra training, and that’s because the best kind of learning is to do.”
What Alumni Say:
“I did an exchange with the top business school in Latin American (FGV Sao Paulo, BR) where I was exposed to top-level professionals from across Latin America. My program also included European students who have already gone on to great things. The network I built and the classes I took through the Freeman-FGV exchange were huge for me personally and professionally.” – Recent Alumni
“Burkenroad Reports was one of the most valuable courses I’ve ever taken. Extremely hands-on, real-world experiential learning experience. Cannot speak highly enough about this course and my overall experience as a student at the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University.” – Recent Alumni
“I participated in the capstone case competition that helped prepare me in major ways for the real working world. The ways we practiced to pitch an idea to CEOs and business leaders in the New Orleans area helped polish my speaking skills and ability to compile a presentation about a business pitch. Invaluable experience.” – Recent Alumni
Where The Class of 2018 Went To Work:
Ernst & Young LLP – 16
PricewaterhouseCoopers – 16
EY – 8
Deutsche Bank – 5
KPMG – 4
JP Morgan – 4
Vettery – 3
Capital One – 3
MightyHive – 3
Merrill Lynch – 3