At more than 100 years old, the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business has a deep history steeped in innovation and high quality undergraduate business education. Founded as the School of Commerce in 1912 and awarding its first bachelor of science in commerce in 1915, Terry was the first business school founded in the southern United States. While the school’s age is dated, the innovation coming from the school is not.
In the past three years, Georgia Terry has launched an online BBA program in general business, unleashed the Terry Women’s Initiative, introduced a required course in business analytics, and expanded its entrepreneurship certificate and program to students across the entire university. Indeed, the school’s leadership has made a commitment to innovating niche programs, boasting 10 majors and eight certificates.
“We’ve had some dedication to some smaller programs,” says Henry Munneke, the associate dean of undergraduate programs at Georgia Terry, noting the school’s Music Business Certificate. “Those are ways students can come in and be a traditional finance major but, hey, if they have an interest in music or the music business, they can use their electives to go through and out the Music Business Certificate.”
EVERY STUDENT ATTENDING UGA MUST COMPLETE AN EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING PROJECT
After being accepted to the University of Georgia, students may enter the Terry College as juniors. The school says students “self-select” on if they should apply to the college or not, which requires a minimum 2.6 GPA at the University of Georgia, three required pre-requisite courses, a purpose statement, and passing a proficiency profile exam.
Once in the program, all students must complete Financial Management, Principles of Marketing, and Principles of Management in their first semester. By the end of the second semester, they must also complete Predictive Modeling and Optimization, the school’s required course in business analytics. Students may also choose their major upon entrance and begin working towards the 30 required hours of Terry-specific courses to graduate. Interestingly, Munneke notes, the University of Georgia is the largest university to require all undergraduate students to complete an experiential learning requirement. “That’s bringing the classroom to the world,” he insists. “We are the largest university to require that of all of its students.”
While Munneke was quick to praise the school’s strengths in specific majors such as Risk Management and Insurance and Real Estate, he also noted newer initiatives the school’s leadership is particularly pleased with. “Right now the entrepreneurship certificate is something we’re excited about because we just revamped it,” he points out. Munneke says the program used to sit within the management department — typical to entrepreneurship programs across B-schools — but part of the revamp was to move it outside of that umbrella. The result has been students from across disciplines, like the sciences and engineering in particular, pursuing the certificate or at least taking entrepreneurship courses. “We’re trying to get those students who may not traditionally be business students to come out and see that they do need some background in business,” Munneke adds.
NEW ONLINE BBA COURSES ‘WILDLY’ POPULAR AMONG STUDENTS
Another substantial addition is the online BBA. Designed as a “finishing degree,” Munneke says it has “been a great way to meet military need.” Faculty teaching online are the same residential Terry faculty, and the program has also significantly increased the number of online courses available for traditional students. “If the students are doing a summer abroad or something away from campus, they can take a course if they want,” Munneke says, noting the online courses have been “wildly” popular for the traditional students.
“Our enrollment numbers are increasing substantially by giving students the opportunity to go out and do what they normally would during the summer like a part-time internship, and allow them to keep taking courses and moving through their coursework to graduation,” Munneke explains. “I’m sure you’re going to see other schools doing this if they don’t already.”
To be expected from a public university, Terry offers an elite business degree on the cheap. Georgia residents pay less than $45,000 in tuition total for all four years. With a cost of living estimate under $52,000, Georgia residents can live on-campus for four years and earn the degree for just over $100K. If students chose to live off-campus, the entire expected cost is under $100K. Considering some 84% of students received scholarship support at an average of $7,058, the degree is one of the best deals in Poets&Quants’ top business programs.
ONE OF THE BEST OPTIONS FOR LAND GRANT UNIVERSITIES
Ranked 31st, Georgia Terry is in the top 15 of land grant public universities in the Poets&Quants ranking. The school’s strong performance is buoyed by its impressive 22nd-place finish in the outcomes-specific portion of the rankings. Riding an average salary of more than $60,000 and a 96.51% placement rate three months after graduation — up from 86% for the class of 2015 and around 90% for the Class of 2015 — the school was able to best fellow land grant universities like Wisconsin, Arizona, and Massachusetts in the outcomes category.
This past fall, Terry enrolled a class with an average SAT of just over 1320 and 39% of the class finished in the top 10% of their high school class. Hitting the 10% minimum participation rate this year, Terry’s Class of 2015 placed the school at 31 in the alumni experience portion of the methodology.
A FOCUSED, PROFESSIONAL STUDENT POPULATION
In terms of student culture, Munneke says the students are mainly excited to focus on a major once they enter the school and then are very engaged in finding jobs.
“When the students get here, they are excited to focus on what they want to study. They are professional and focused on their education,” Munneke says, also noting the school’s Student Service and Corporate Relations office, which provides a robust employer engagement and mentoring program that taps into nearby Atlanta.
“Our message is, yes our alumni are Terry, yes the faculty are Terry, but we want you to know from the first day in the college, you are the Terry College of Business,” Munneke says. “And together, we want to build a strong program that reflects what the business world wants and what makes you successful.”
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
“A key experience was a capstone project where we consulted a local non-profit on various ways to maximize efficiencies and improve the fulfillment of their mission. It was a great way to learn how to work in teams towards a common goal and balance your time, resource, and scope of projects.” – Class of 2014 alum
“A key experience was the Deer Run Program — a personal development course with the Dean of Terry College of Business. We spent a weekend at Doug Ivester’s property (former CEO and Chairmen of Coca Cola).” – Class of 2014 alum
“For my Senior thesis for economics I learned what it was like to work with a professor to contribute new knowledge to the field.” – Class of 2014 alum
Where the Class of 2017 went to work:
Ernst and Young LLP: 25
Deloitte and Touche LLP: 14
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP: 13
The Home Depot: 9
Georgia Pacific Corporation: 8
Newell Rubbermaid: 8