At the University of Pittsburgh’s College of Business Administration, they know how important it is to learn not just within the classroom, but outside of it. That’s why they have the Pitt Business Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC) that is aimed at helping students organize, plan, and communicate the benefits or the many co-curricular and extra-curricular activities engage in.
Developed by two Pitt alumni, students advance through different levels of the OCC program as they earn points and digital badges by attending leadership workshops, having their cover letters and personal statements reviewed, logging at least 40 hours of community service, engaging in financial literacy, health education, and physical activity programs, and more.
To get a jumpstart on preparing their students for the world of work, the College of Business Administration recently also piloted the Pitt Business Global Honors Fellow, where selected students go through an early-exposure program. This year, 11 fellows representing six states around the nation traveled to Dublin, Ireland, for two weeks before school had even started. The four-week program running from mid-July to mid-August saw the students spending two weeks in Pittsburgh completing an accelerated version of a course titled Managing in Complex Environments, visiting companies in the area including KPMG and Google, before traveling abroad to explore the tech and innovation sector of Dublin.
“We attract students that are strong in academics, and we’ve seen that experience doesn’t happen in a classroom, but from interaction outside the classroom,” Audrey Murrell, Associate Dean of the College of Business Administration, said. “With our urban campus environment, it’s easy for students to engage the community to both give back to those around us, while learning from them.”
The undergraduate business program at the University of Pittsburgh is a four-year program that offers students the opportunity to major in Accounting, Business Information Systems, Finance, Global Management, Human Resource Management, Marketing, and Supply Chain Management.
In Fall 2018, the school received 4,632 applications to join the undergraduate business program, and 2,071 were admitted, giving the competitive program an acceptance rate of 44 percent. In total, 583 undergraduate business majors entered in Fall 2018, making the full-time enrollment for all business majors 2,125.
The school shared that 80 percent of students in the incoming Fall 2018 class who submitted their SAT scores had an average of 1,345, and 50 percent of students submitted their ACT scores with an average score of 29.
LIVING LEARNING COMMUNITY CREATES CONNECTIONS FROM THE GET-GO
The Pitt Business program is designed to bring students from the classroom, to the city, to the world. And from the moment a student joins Pitt, they’re family.
All freshmen at the University of Pittsburgh College of Business Administration have the option to join a Living Learning Community (LLC). The business school’s LLC is located in Bruce Hall, and their mantra is “Bruce meets business”. Joining the Pitt LLC means living and learning with your peers, and the hall is home to almost 200 first-year students. Because there is space for only about half the cohort each year, space fills up quickly and while priority is given to Pitt Business students, a business student can request to share a room with a non-business student.
Students who join the LLC are automatically exposed to tens of augmented programs, ranging from co-curricular activities to career and professional development programs, interaction with alums, and service projects that complement the business program.
The Pittsburgh College of Business Administration is ranked No. 22 among public programs, and No. 35 among all programs in the 2019 BEst Undergraduate Business Programs Rankings by U.S. News & World Report. The school boasts a 90 percent placement rate, with the list of top employers including PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Deloitte, BNY Mellon, Vanguard, UPMC, and PNC Financial Services.
To move into the classroom, students have to complete 10 hours of pre-orientation programming before they start their journey at Pitt, where 60 percent of courses have an applied experiential learning component. Every student also has to complete six global business courses in order to graduate, giving every Pitt student a global perspective on the issues they tackle.
In a survey conducted by P&Q, almost 80 percent of Pitt business alumni from the Class of 2016 said that they would recommend the program to a friend or colleague without hesitation. More than 80 percent said that the business program had prepared them well for the world of work, and almost 70 percent said they believed their degree was worth its cost in tuition.
The university estimates that the four-year cost of attending covering tuition and fees for an in-state student is about $22,650, and $37,390 for the out-of-state student per year. Housing accommodations on campus are estimated to add up to about $11,582 per academic year.
To help ease the cost of attending, students can apply for several types of financial aid, from need-based Pell Grants, to the PHEAA Gratuity Program that provides support for families of service officers who lost their lives protecting Pennsylvania citizens, whether they were a firefighter, correction facilities employee, or police officer. Students can also apply for the Pittsburgh Promise Scholarship, which pays for all eligible expenses such as tuition, fees, room, board, and books, after all other grants and scholarships have been deducted. This means a student who has to choose between focusing on school and taking up a second part-time job can seek help to avoid stretching himself too thin and undermining their potential. To qualify, students by be enrolled in the university and be a resident of the city.
Over 70 percent of the alumni of the Class of 2016 said that the Pittsburgh undergraduate business program provided them with exceptional opportunities to nurture and improve their skills in business, and 97 percent of them said that their first job after graduating was in their desired job function, and over 85 percent secured first jobs at their desired company.
BLENDING CLASSROOM AND OUT-OF-CLASSROOM LEARNING
Much of the Pitt learning takes place outside the classroom as much as it does inside. Their OCC program requires that students fulfill ten areas of achievement. They are leadership development, career and professional development, communication skills, cross-functional team management, personal financial literacy and wellness, global and cultural engagement, pitt engagement, networking and relationship management, business acumen, and civic and social engagement.
Made up of extracurricular and co-curricular activities, events, projects, and membership ins student organizations, students receive points for completing an activity, and their standing is updated on a leaderboard for them to see where they stand against their peers. Completing a set of activities helps them earn achievement badges, and because there are four levels of competencies, completing an activity at a high level earns a student more points. The four levels are exposure, participation, engagement, and mastery. To further encourage the students, they are awarded gifts as they work on their out-of-classroom learning, receiving school T-shirts and sweatshirts, to the highest level of being recognized at graduation and having their achievements noted on their transcripts for employers to look for, and an awards luncheon.
Business students can also choose to work towards earning several certificates, such as the Certificate Program in Business Analytics, Certificate Program in International Business, Certificate Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Certificate Program in Leadership and Ethics, and Undergraduate Certificate in Supply Chain Management.
Dave Barr, Class of 2016, shared that as part of the work towards his Certificate Program in Leadership and Ethics, a program that took place over three years, he learned about different leadership styles and effective ethical questioning while leading through in-class learning, as well as immersive real-world consulting. David Kline, also from the Class of 2016, shared that he wrote a 25-page research paper on the developing commercial airline industry in China for his International Business certificate.
Over 70 percent of alumni from the Class of 2016 said that they were involved in a “signature experience” while working on their undergraduate business degree, with many sharing that they benefited greatly from learning how to “work under a tough boss” during their communications class and “handle authority and feedback”, performed realistic audits on university clubs, engaged in work simulations, and even developed marketing campaigns for FOX Sports and the US Open for their 2017 tournament in Pittsburgh.
As part of the OCC program, internships are not required but highly encouraged. With the Class of 2017, 82 percent completed at least one business-specific internship before graduation, and with the Class of 2018, the number rose to 95 percent.
The school shared that 71 percent of students from the Class of 2017 found full-time jobs just months after graduation, and 74 percent of students from the Class of 2018 achieved the same. The average salaries for graduates of both classes were about $55,000, and about 37 percent of students received signing bonuses of $6,000 in both years.
Sierra Welsh, Class of 2016, made full use of the OCC program and had an active school life while at the University of Pittsburgh. The accounting major also had a minor in Spanish and worked on certificates in International Business and Latin American Studies. She had four internships, went on three study-abroad programs, held a work-study position at the Pitt Business Academic Advising Office, and was also involved in leadership roles in multiple student organizations. Nowadays, she is working as an audit senior at Deloitte.
Students at Pitt get to choose from over 75 places to travel to as part of their undergraduate studies, and the school shared that 46 percent of students have global experience of at least four weeks of international study before graduation. Murrell added that 100% of qualified students receive a scholarship to reduce the cost of their study abroad experience. Alumni from the Class of 2016 said they had traveled to South Africa to study social entrepreneurship, completed a global business program by spending a semester in London, studied abroad in Shanghai, explored the marketing industry in Ecuador while not even being a marketing major, and worked on their Certificate in International Business in Barcelona.
Nick Krakoff, Class of 2016, said that studying abroad in London was one of the best experiences he had in college. “Pitt is huge in study abroad, and it shows in the business school,” Krakoff, who now works as an analyst with Goldman Sachs, said. “People are well-traveled and can relate so much easier to one another.”
PITTSBURGH IS BECOMING COOL AGAIN
According to The Global Liveability Index 2018, Pittsburgh is the second most livable city in America. Where the University of Pittsburgh College of Business Administration is located in the downtown Oakland neighborhood, students who love nature can slow down when college life feels overwhelming in Schenley Park, or explore the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
With KPMG and Deloitte offices just minutes away by public transport, it’s easy to see why they have a good relationship with the school, and students are securing internships and full-time positions with the “Big Four” accounting firms.
“The Pitt experience is not in the classroom,” Murrell said. “It’s interacting outside the classroom, and being a part of the business community even while being a student.”
What Alumni Say:
“I participated in the Projects in Marketing course the fall of my senior year, and as a result, had real-world job experience, working on a project for FOX Sports University and the USGA.” – Recent Alumni
“The HR major at Pitt was almost entirely an experiential-based learning model- this set me up for success. Because of my EBL classes, I was able to take on larger projects in my new job and also feel more confident in my abilities as a recent graduate. The other opportunity that really helped me was in the study abroad experience there was an internship experience. Having international experience on my resume as a recent graduate definitely helped to set me apart.” – Recent Alumni
“My study abroad experience is by far the best decision I have ever made. The classes were incredibly informative about business on a global scale and having an internship with an international company (Marriott) was a life-changing experience.” – Recent Alumni
Where The Class of 2018 Went To Work: