The University of New Hampshire’s Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics secured a spot at No. 55 in this year’s rankings.
Improving 12 spots from last year, the Paul College had an impressive improvement in internship prospects as well as a slightly more selective admissions process. Despite the COVID-19 economic downturn, 88% of the Class of 2020 landed a business-focused internship before graduating — an uptick from last year’s 83.90%. Employment this year saw a dip, however, with 86.74% of the Class of 2020 securing full-time employment within three months of graduation — down from last year’s 91.11%. The Paul College had an acceptance rate of 71.23% and an average SAT score of 1183 this year, making admissions a tad more selective than last year’s 72% and average SAT score of 1167.
The success of the Paul College is largely linked to the “real-world” applications of its education. From its signature FIRE program to the capstone experience, Paul undergraduates get a real sense of what business is all about. That was evident in this year’s alumni survey, where Paul alums ranked their academic experience No. 34 overall, which was the strongest finish for New Hampshire in our three methodological categorical areas.
One of the signature programs at the Paul College is the first-year research and innovation experience (FIRE), an experiential learning program designed to help first-year students engage in college life and build relationships with faculty, staff, and other students.
The year-long experience is built around a set of grand challenges where students work in teams, learn research skills, and develop business plans that they present at the end of the year during the undergraduate research conference. FIRE uses game design principles to both motivate and engage students as they participate in a series of healthy competitions designed to increase student involvement and the formation of lifelong friendships.
“This focus on solving real problems is further emphasized and reinforced throughout the curriculum to ensure that students have the knowledge, experiences, and skills they need for successful and meaningful careers,” Sharon Keeler, Director of Communications and Marketing at the Paul College, tells us. “The vast majority of students report that FIRE helps them gain critical academic and professional skills that they build on over the rest of their college career.”
FIRE is a prime example of Paul College’s distinct approach to experience-based learning. At many other B-schools, students don’t experience this hands-on learning until their junior or senior year capstone project. But, at Paul College, students get a taste of experiential learning and teamwork early on in their first year. Year by year, Paul students build on their knowledge and gain valuable teamwork experience that will help them succeed in the real world.
REAL-WORLD CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE
The Paul College’s capstone experience offers students the opportunity to apply their business education in real-world environments. Whether they major in marketing or information systems, every Paul undergraduate gains valuable and relevant experience through their capstone project.
“Our marketing degree capstone project was to work in teams of 8 to serve as the ‘marketing consulting team’ for a local business in the Southern NH area (near our school),” one 2018 alumni told us. “We had to work with the business owners to determine the goals of what they wanted in terms of marketing improvement. Our capstone professor was there to guide us through the structure of how we should approach the work, but each group was working with a very unique, niche business and no two projects were alike. We got real-world experience working with actual businesses to implement a marketing plan that would fill a gap in the business.”
“Information systems concentration has a capstone project where you are placed on a team of students and you are paired with a company in the surrounding area to complete a project that will assist the company,” another 2018 alumni said. “Gives you hands-on experience doing a project in a corporate setting and extends your network as well.”
At many other B-schools, the capstone project will feature a theoretical company or issue. But Paul students partner directly with a local company to solve a real issue. This small, but significant difference enables students to understand what it is truly like to work in a real-world team setting.
“My biggest takeaway from my capstone project was not necessarily what I learned from the actual content, but more along the lines of project mgmt., time mgmt. and communication skills. For example, building a project plan, delegating work, what work can be done individually/remotely vs. in person, etc.,” a 2018 alumni said. “The contact at the company we did our capstone for was also great at creating a ‘coworker’ type relationship with our team, which proved invaluable to our team dynamic and ability to fully understand the value of our work to the company’s success. We weren’t doing busywork, it genuinely felt like we were a part of the team.”
At the Paul College, students gain real-world experience no matter what major they choose to pursue. With a relevant curriculum, strong faculty support, and a variety of hands-on learning opportunities, Paul students are well-prepared for whatever the post-grad world has in store for them.
“Partnered with a local business to solve real world problems, not just a simulated lesson.”
“Marketing and Advertising Club provided me the opportunity to work with a local, small business and help them solve a marketing problem. It was a real-world problem with real-world results and I reflect on my experiences from that project frequently.”
“Capstone projects working for enterprise rent a car and a hitchiner manufacturing gave me real-world project experience for real companies.”
Where The Class of 2020 Went To Work:
- EY – 21
- Fidelity Investments – 18
- Raytheon – 8
- ALKU – 7
- Liberty Mutual – 7
- PwC – 6
- John Hancock – 5
- Brown Brothers Harriman – 4
- Dell EMC – 4
- Putman Investments – 4
- RSM US LLP – 4