Welcome back to what is sure to be an eventful academic year. We have started construction on the Business Innovation Hub, which, when it opens for business in 2 ½ years, will be home base for today’s Isenberg freshmen and sophomores. It is one of many strategic investments in Isenberg’s academic “infrastructure” and reputation that are propelling us toward top-ten status among the nation’s public business schools.
In its Undergraduate Business School Rankings last April, BusinessWeek put us right on that threshold, ranking us #11 among the nation’s publics. That elevated us to #1 among publics in the northeast. (In the same survey, we ranked 33rd nationwide among all business schools.) U.S. News & World Report’s just-released undergraduate rankings place us 30th among the publics and 48th overall, up two slots from last year.
BusinessWeek’s rankings employ comprehensive objective metrics (like job placement rates) combined with evaluations from, among others, recruiters and students. In contrast, rankings by U.S. News are predominantly reputational, focusing on evaluations by business school deans and senior administrators at other institutions. With that said, our strategically chosen reputational capital investments are yielding results with U.S. News, but gradually. That underscores a lag where reputation plays catch-up with objective reality.
Several of our MBA rankings also merit mention. Our online MBA program was 9th best on the planet, according to the highly regarded Financial Times. U.S. News ranked that same program #12 and our Part-time MBA #16.
These rankings are more than just numbers—they represent a growing awareness and respect for Isenberg that translates to better opportunities for our outstanding graduates.
Soaring Student Demand
Our reputation is playing out in unprecedented demand for our programs. Among our 372 incoming freshmen pursuing BBAs, high school GPAs averaged 3.91 and SAT scores averaged 1309, up from 1284 in 2015. Note: An additional 149 of our freshmen are working toward B.S. degrees—92 in Sport Management and 57 in Hospitality and Tourism Management. With an overall undergraduate enrollment of nearly 3500 students, our Isenberg graduating class comprises nearly 20% of all graduates from UMass Amherst, and our job placement rate is above 92% for all majors!
Also notable is our Full-time MBA program’s exceptional drawing power with women. This year, women account for 58% of our 37 first-year students. In that class, 24 are core MBAs; 11 are pursuing hybrid MBA/MS degrees in Sport Management; and two are combining their MBA degree with a Master’s in Public Policy Administration (MBA/MPPA). Not to mention the nearly 1400 professionals across Massachusetts and around the world who are studying the same MBA curriculum in an on-line or part-time format—they are an incredibly accomplished and driven part of our Isenberg community.
Our faculty, of course, are crucial to our reputation. This year, we have continued to build our strategic human capital by adding faculty to every department. While I will save detailed descriptions on all of our new faculty for a later communication, I am excited to welcome Muzaffer Uysel, an eminent educator and researcher, who will lead our Hospitality and Tourism Management program. Without question, Muzzo—like so much more—is proof positive of our heightened reputational drawing power.