College of Business Administration mid-road in rankings

MU missed out on a Midwest regional ranking of top business schools. Photo by Cy Kondrick / [email protected]

A recent rating of the best undergraduate business schools across the nation reveals that Marquette remains just outside the middle of the pack.

Of the 113 institutions surveyed, Marquette’s College of Business Administration ranked 68th, a step above 69th place last year.

James McGibany, associate dean of the College of Business Administration, said Marquette’s ranking is no cause for alarm.

“We are competing against many schools that have extremely nice business schools, established well before our own,” McGibany said.

Businessweek asked approximately 28,000 students from 113 institutions to describe their experiences at their undergraduate university. In addition, it asked 246 recruiters to identify institutions that provided the best new employees and have the most cutting-edge programs.

The results, as well as those from previous years, were used to rate the schools according to five categories: overall ranking, median starting salaries for graduates, number of graduates each program sends to top MBS programs, surveys of senior business majors and corporate recruiters, and an academic quality rating calculated using statistics like average SAT scores and ratio of full-time students to faculty.

Among the top 10 were the University of Notre Dame, the University of Virginia and Emory University.

McGibany said there are two differences between these schools and Marquette: the size of their endowments and their connections in the business world.

“With a larger endowment, like these schools have, there are more programs available, new facilities and the ability to hire really great professors,” McGibany said.  “These top-rated universities also have the connections due to strong alumni, as well as the way businesses perceive the quality of these universities.”

The College of Business Administration had both improvements and regressions in the Businessweek ratings.

The academic quality improved from 40th to 31st, and for the third year in a row the business school received an A in teaching quality. Linda Salchenberger, dean of the college, credits this to strong faculty and consistent efforts to improve the school.

“Our ranking in academic quality increased largely because we have increased the percentage of students with internships and our students regularly report that they feel academically challenged,” Salchenberger said.

Kara Buffardi, a senior in the College of Business Administration, agrees with Marquette’s faculty rating.

“I have learned a lot, and the professors help students grow and develop educationally and professionally,” Buffardi said.

On the downside, the college’s facilities rating fell in the lowest 20th percentile, with a grade of a C.

Buffardi is not surprised with this grade.

“We have an old building, it’s true, but on the other hand it is not hindering the learning process,” Buffardi said.

Salchenberger said the college is looking to enhance its facilities over the summer.

“We are exploring a few summer projects to add technology and equipment such as mobile whiteboards to some of our classrooms,” Salchenberger said. “We will also experiment with video conferencing to see if we can incorporate it into some of our larger classrooms.”

McGibany and faculty from other institutions do not see the study and rankings as very scientific.

“We know that Businessweek is collecting data, but we don’t know what questions are being asked or how many,” McGibany said. “It is very much like a black box.”