Like most other schools, students at the University of San Diego School of Business can choose to major in Accountancy, Business Administration, Business Economics, Economics, Finance, International Business, Marketing, and Real Estate.
But the school takes its students passions and the importance of a global education one step further.
The school also offers five double-degree programs with partner institutions at EM Strasbourg in France, Católica Lisbon in Portugal, John Cabot University in Italy, Dublin City University in Ireland, and Comillas Pontificia in Madrid. Other than sending students to study abroad and even intern abroad, the school also has five student cohorts per year coming to the University of San Diego to study from Madrid. And in Fall 2019, they’ll be bringing in another five student cohorts per year from Ireland.
The University of San Diego is a private Roman Catholic research university located in the Linda Vista neighborhood of San Diego, California. Their four-year undergraduate business program received 13,287 applications in Fall 2018 from first-year students, who do not need to declare a major upon entry or go through an admission process. In total, 7,031 were admitted. The Fall 2018 university-wide acceptance rate was 53 percent.
The average SAT scores of the 67 percent of incoming students who submitted their scores for consideration was 1275, and the average ACT score was 27.7. Among the incoming class, their average high-school GPA was 3.91.
Stephen Conroy, Associate Dean of the undergraduate business program at the College of Business, said that five students have already been enrolled into the double-degree program in Madrid, though it was started only in 2017.
“This is an amazing opportunity for students to have two degrees, and sometimes, become fluent into languages,” Conroy said. “Depending on the program, a student could do two internships and experience two cultures in a profound way that will be life-changing, while opening up doors, especially for those on an international career path.”
The university was ranked 2nd in 2017 nationally for their study abroad participation, with undergraduate students getting to choose from almost 140 academic study abroad programs in 44 countries and 76 cities.
Alumni from the Class of 2016 shared having traveled to Spain, Argentina, Mexico, London, and throughout South East Asia as part of their undergraduate studies, and the school told P&Q in a survey that 56 percent of business school majors studied abroad in a program prior to their 2018 graduation.
SIGNIFICANT FRESHMAN ORIENTATION REQUIRED
The school estimates that the total four-year cost of attending the College of Business is $181,342, with additional expenses such as food, lodging, transportation, and supplies adding another $68,792 to the cost. About 84 percent of all first-year students received some form of scholarship support with the average grant and scholarship aid amount being $30,500.
Even before entering the College of Business, students go through about 65 hours of freshman orientation to help them make the transition. About 15 percent of the Fall 2018 incoming class were first-generation students, 5 percent are international students, and about 24 percent self-identified as belonging to a minority group.
The College of Business has plenty of opportunities for students to participate in hands-on learning, including their Venture Vetting and Global Social Innovation Challenge (GSIC) competitions. Students receive coaching, mentoring, and instruction when they choose to participate in these competitions and can collaborate with the university’s Small Business Development Center for continued support after receiving funding.
The Venture Vetting competition is held in April each year, and the GSIC competition kicks off its first phase in spring before reaching the finale in June.
With the GSIC competition, students are encouraged to look at ways to make the world a better place, whether it’s by reducing violence, pollution, or building peace. “The key is to work on economic development in the holistic sense of the word,” Conroy said. “It’s about trying to use business as a lever for positive social change to create global improvement, one business at a time, one cause at a time.”
In 2018, the winning student teams at the Venture Vetting competition presented ideas including a web-based platform allowing stay-at-home parents to build a business and earn income by working with homebound seniors, an improvement to lawnmowers today, and a jewelry and lifestyle brand inspired by a culture of motorcycles and surfing.
The school’s also has a $1.4 million endowment for their Student International Business Council (SIBC), that engages in real-world business projects, with an emphasis on international projects. The SIBC also takes part in biennial competitions with the University of Notre Dame and Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. In 2017, the group completed undergraduate consulting projects for Facebook in Palo Alto, VectorPharma in Mexico City, Pacifico Aquaculture in Mexico, and Sisois Family Olive Grove in Crete. Students have also been sent to internships in Cyprus to work with family-owned businesses. For the 2018 – 2019 academic year, students are working on consulting projects with Tesla Motors, Ziobaffa Organic Wine in Italy, Procat in Turkey, and Urrea Global Branding in Mexico. The Procat project involves students conducting an analysis of the use of artificial intelligence in call centers.
The business school also has a student-run investment fund of about $500,000 that is managed through a one-unit class that is taught by a real-world financial investor. Part of the proceeds of investment returns over a certain percentage go to the budget for the business school, while students not only get hands-on learning but also the opportunity to learn from an industry expert.
“Students do research on companies and implement investment decisions that the entire school then monitor,” Conroy said. “It’s a great experience to work with real money on the line, applying theoretical knowledge to the real world. It’s a win-win situation where the school wins from earnings, and students gain some experience, and their future clients win by having employees that have already learned these real-world lessons.”
PASSPORT PROGRAM A MUST
All undergraduate business majors at the College of Business are required to complete the Professional Development “Passport Program,” which students must complete by their senior year. In order to complete the program, students must attend career fairs and attend career workshops, practice networking at events, and attend a speaker panel and professional-related seminar outside of the classroom.
All students must also take on an internship that is related to their career, and upon completion, write a reflection that must be submitted to the school’s Career Development Center team.
Because the school believes that great business people serve, students must also join in a community service project.
“We’ve heard from alumni and partners that employers value soft skills, and the program provides a vehicle for students to acquire this,” Conroy said. “Communication skills are not learned in the classroom but over time with practice and we are intentional in making sure our students pick this up while with us. I think it’s why employers love our students.”
The program also provides students with instruction on business etiquette such as how one should dress for a meeting, what each type of silverware is for, speaking during business meals, and even how to behave in an interview. The completion of the program is intended to help the students become professionals who are work-ready.
BEING A PART OF A ‘CHANGEMAKER’ UNIVERSITY
Almost 60 percent of alumni from the Class of 2016 said that their business school experience was life-changing and that the school’s extra-curricular opportunities offered them opportunities to nurture and improve their business skills. About 60 percent of them also said they felt the program prepared them exceptionally well for the world of work, and shared experiences of having worked on large development projects in real estate law that prepared them for their current career in real estate, marketing research projects with local organizations, and marketing reports for FitBit, Joe’s Jeans, and Levi’s.
Chris Barry, Class of 2016, said that he helped build functioning websites for small businesses as part of his training in Social Media Marketing, and analyzed local businesses to provide management and strategic recommendations while practicing business consulting. Today, Barry is a commercial real estate associate broker with Pharma Property Group.
The School of Business’ Career Development Program also recently implemented an initiative called “Torero Treks, that involve career exploration by visiting companies nationally. Each trek usually includes visits to three organizations in a region or industry, where students also get to engage in alumni panels, office tours, and networking opportunities that allow students to learn about career paths and grow their professional network.
In October 2018, a team of 25 students from the university went to Orange County, CA, to meet with corporate representatives from PIMCO, Green Street, and Capstone Partners. And in January 2019, about 20 students will be flying to Seattle, Wa, to meet with corporate recruiters and alumni at companies including T-Mobile, Boeing, Zillow, Microsoft, and Alaska Airlines.
With an alumni network of about 15,300, students from the College of Business have plenty of resources to reach out to anytime to learn more about a position or company culture. The school shared that almost 78 percent of students from the Class of 2017 found full-time employment within a few months of graduation, while 68 percent of those from the Class of 2018 did the same.
The average salary for business majors with full-time employment in the Class of 2017 was $55,193, with 73 percent receiving a signing bonus. The average salary for the Class of 2018 was $57,119, with 79 percent receiving signing bonuses.
“The graduates that leave our school are technically well-trained and have undergone a rigorous academic curriculum that includes a liberal arts foundations, and a strict business curriculum. They know how to socialize, network, and build careers,” Conroy said. “As a changemaker university, we hope they leave with a changemaker personality, taking control when they see a problem to try and make a change.”
What Alumni Say:
“In one of my capstone projects at USD, we were tasked with assisting the San Diego Padres with a marketing campaign. It was a fantastic learning experience that pushed students into a professional environment. It gave students a chance to speak with executives and employees about career paths and opportunities!” – Recent Alumni
“I was able to study abroad in Madrid, Spain and had a couple of business-oriented classes. During my senior year, through my management class, I was able to work on two projects. The first was working with a local coffee shop and brainstorming a way for them to scale their business over the next 5 years. They had looked into options for opening a brick and mortar store so our task was to analyze this from a business perspective and share our thoughts on how they could do this. With the same class, I also entered into our school’s Social Innovation Challenge. We had to build a business model and pitch a company focused on social change. Out of roughly 100 applicants, I was selected as a top 10 finalist and was given an opportunity to pitch my business case for a chance at winning $20,000.” – Recent Alumni
“Most of my senior level classes had projects involved. First of all, it helped me to get to know the different thoughts and perspectives of my classmates through group projects. Second, it gave me the freedom to pick topics that I find interesting in the curriculum in which allowed me to explore outside of class. Last, it involved interacting with professionals who are practicing what I’m researching. Which benefited me in my career now with researching data, interacting with more senior employees, and my interpersonal skills.” – Recent Alumni
Where The Class of 2018 Went To Work:
EY – 12
Deloitte – 6)
Frank, Rimerman + Co. – 5
Grant Thornton – 5
PwC – 5
BPM – 4
E.&J. Gallo Winery – 4
General Atomics – 4
KPMG – 4
San Diego Padres – 4