In business school, you’re bound to study word-of-mouth advertising. Here, you’ll run into a stunning stat: 90% of people give heavy credence to recommendations made by family and friends. That may be one explanation behind the success of Lipscomb University’s College of Business.
In the 2020 P&Q alumni survey, Lipscomb graduates were asked how likely they were to recommend their alma mater on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the highest possible score). The result? Lipscomb scored a near-perfect 9.93 average. Not surprisingly, the school jumped from 86th to 46th in the latest P&Q undergraduate business ranking.
Lipscomb is a private, faith-based institution just 20 minutes south of downtown Nashville. Caterpillar, Bridgestone, and UBS are within walking distance of the business school, which is home to roughly 450 students. In the alumni survey, business graduates also ranked Lipscomb among the ten-best for networking opportunities, faculty availability, overall experience, and being worth the cost. Andy Borchers, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Management Professor, lists high job placement and CPA passage rates as one reason for the high satisfaction. In the end, he notes, it comes down to the program’s “high touch” philosophy.
“Close faculty-student interaction is paramount,” he tells P&Q. “At Lipscomb, all of our classes are taught by highly qualified faculty, not teaching assistants. Faculty are very accessible to students and bring both strong academic credentials and significant industry experience. The college also has a talented professional staff to provide student services and career connections.”
That’s not the school’s only advantage. Based in Music City, Lipscomb can tap into a wide range of blue-chip firms, with Bridgestone, Genesco, Cracker Barrel, and Hobby Lobby calling the metro home. The real draw is healthcare, however. Area companies manage over half of all American hospital beds, with Hospital Corporation of America and Community Health Systems combining for nearly $61 billion dollars in revenue alone. It’s not just big business flexing its muscle here. In 2018, 35 Nashville startups attracted $733 million dollars in VC funding. Is it any wonder that Nashville ranked second only to Austin for job growth over the past decade according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics?
“Lipscomb students have great opportunities to start their careers while they are students,” Borchers observes.” Nashville is a highly-desirable, rapidly growing city with extensive opportunities for internships and longer-term work experience. Students connect to business leaders in a variety of ways including executives-in-residence, guest speakers, and chapel speakers. Students also gain hands-on experience in field trips and study abroad programs. Many of our students have entrepreneurial interests and the college supports them with pitch competitions (local and national) and mentoring by seasoned entrepreneurs.”
In fact, the program is so entrepreneurial that it kicks off with an Introduction to Entrepreneurship course where student teams build their own businesses. Later on, many students head out into the community to help fledgling entrepreneurs launch their businesses. Such activities reveal the true purpose of the program, where business is a mission to create a positive and lasting social impact in the local community…and far beyond.
“Lipscomb University and its College of Business have been faith-based from our founding in 1891,” Borchers notes. “This focus is deeply-rooted and affects every aspect of our work. Our mission is to develop business leaders that embrace the values and virtues of Jesus: Purposeful, Bold, Credible, Creative, and Servant. We have found that these five points resonate with students and employers, whether they are faith-focused or not. Students see this from their very first semester when they are introduced to “Business as Mission”, a theme throughout our BBA degree program. In their first business course, they work in groups to start a new business. Proceeds from this experience (often $5,000 for a class) are then invested in entrepreneurial ventures in the developing world. We strive to demonstrate how one’s faith and professional life can be fully integrated.”
It is a proposition that students and staff have bought into wholehearted. In P&Q’s alumni survey, Lipscomb grads gave the school 4th-highest marks in both career advising and achieving dream careers. Borchers is quick to credit the school’s four-member Career Connection group. “They serve students from the day they arrive on campus to the end of their careers. The Career Connection group hosts an on-going series of events ranging from resume review, interview skills, business etiquette dinners, networking, and formal career fairs. The College has strong relationships with many employers.”
Despite these advantages, Borchers adds, the College of Business is hardly content to rest on its laurels in the coming year. “The college is constantly developing new and improved academic programs. Major enhancements to business analytics for all majors is a current initiative. Programs in areas such as social entrepreneurship, supply chain and health care are two other examples. Lipscomb is also committing significant resources to the College and is planning a new facility in the next few years.”
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