Starting over the holiday break I checked out Poets and Quants, a Web site devoted exclusively to undergraduate and graduate business education. Since my recent visits to Binghamton, Ramapo and Syracuse. I have become more curious to learn more about bachelors programs. I want to see if they provide their graduates with sufficient value added when they seek internships and jobs. 

Poets and Quants has ranked 88 business schools.

This is far from every undergraduate business program in the US. But it is a good starting point to help prospective business students gather information.

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, to probably no one’s surprise, topped their rankings for the second straight year. To quote from their story points about Wharton: Some 95% of the graduates land jobs within three months of commencement at starting base salaries and sign-on bonuses that bring starting pay to a record $92,057 this year.

Sounds great. But admissions to Wharton are more selective than admissions to Penn as a whole. During the last admissions cycle Penn accepted just over eight percent of the students who applied to join the current freshman class. For Wharton, Poets and Quants reported an acceptance rate below seven percent. The average SAT was just under 1490. Most high school seniors who wanted to go to Wharton were not offered the opportunity to come.

Presuming a more modest set of accomplishments, such as an SAT between 1200 and 1300 coupled with a GPA just below 4.0, where could a prospective student find success, according to Poets and Quants?

I scrolled down the site’s rankings to find schools that had an average SAT below 1300 combined with an acceptance rate of 50 percent or higher.

Here’s what I found:

  • #51 Purdue University (IN)— 62% acceptance rate/1268 average SAT
  • #55 University of San Diego—53% acceptance rate/1275 average SAT
  • #58 St. John’s University—59% acceptance rate/1208 average SAT
  • #59 Christopher Newport University (VA)—75% acceptance rate/1270 average SAY
  • #62 Seton Hall University—58% acceptance rate/1257 average SAT

Beneath Seton Hall were several more schools. Providence, James Madison, Drexel, Elon, Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of New Hampshire, Ithaca College, Sacred Heart and Duquesne are among those considered by students from Central New Jersey. Among the 88 schools in Poets and Quants rankings, I would believe that my hypothetical student had at least a fighting chance for admission at between 35 and 40.

Poets and Quants also gathers data on average starting salary. There’s a gap of approximately $50,000 between Wharton graduates and those of the University of Akron. That’s likely because the recruiting is more regional. But it’s silly to compare business schools by starting salary across all of their majors. At some schools Accounting majors, for instance, might be the most aggressively sought graduates. At others it might be Management Information Systems graduates. Wharton graduates do well across all of the business specialities as do graduates of most of the more selective programs. 

How does Poets and Quants stand out as an education site?

It’s nice to know about starting salaries, but Poets and Quants does not limit its coverage to the highest ranked schools or to salary surveys. Two of the more interesting articles on this site cover ‘Undergraduate Business Schools to Watch’ and Alumni Satisfaction. I place a premium on alumni information, especially from recent graduates, whenever I can find it. Freshman retention, graduation rates and alumni satisfaction surveys  are among the best measures of whether a college or an academic program has delivered as these alumni had hoped.

The Paul Stillman School at Seton Hall University is a ‘School to Watch’ 

An interesting surprise was that the Paul Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall University is one of the Schools to Watch and that it ranked third among all 88 rated business schools in alumni satisfaction. Seton Hall Stillman alumni were more satisfied with their educational experience than their peers at every school except Notre Dame and Brigham Young!  Seton Hall ranked no lower than 16th in any aspect of the alumni ranking. It ranked first in three: Preparation for Work World, Extracurricular Opportunities to Improve Skills and Life-Changing Experience. It ranked second in three more: Classroom Opportunities to Improve Skills, Faculty Availability for Mentoring and Help with Networking. 

I have visited Seton Hall and  profiled the school a while back. Like the alumni who completed the survey, I was impressed by the connections that the business school had with firms in New York City, accessible from campus by train, the Honors Program in Leadership Development and the numerous academic options that you cannot get at many other undergraduate business schools, including Rutgers.

If someone was to use Poets and Quants to compare business school opportunities she could literally drown in information, presuming that her schools are among the 88 that the site ranks.

But I do recommend this site to motivated students who are serious about business. Not everyone can earn admission to Wharton or the more selective business schools. But many can find a school that will help them to get to where they want to go after college. Seton Hall earned the thumbs up from alumni because it delivered as it promised.

Need help in considering programs in a specific major? Contact me at stuart@educatedquest.com or call me at 609-406-0062.

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