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Mendoza ranked by BusinessWeek

Justin Tardiff | Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A new BusinessWeek ranking puts Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business seventh among top undergraduate business schools – a drop from last year’s No. 3 ranking, but still ahead of 86 other programs.

Dean of the Mendoza College of Business Carolyn Woo emphasized that the ranking of 93 schools – included in Monday’s edition of BusinessWeek but released to the University March 8 – wasn’t the program’s most important accomplishment.

“It’s great to have national recognition, but it is more important to focus on doing the best job we can to prepare our students,” Woo said.

Woo said she believes the best preparation for business students “includes professional excellence, integrity and care for the common good.”

Notre Dame’s seventh-place ranking put it just behind Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Business. Notre Dame was the highest ranked Catholic institution with Georgetown and Villanova in the 11th and 12th spots, respectively.

Last year, BusinessWeek’s first-ever list of 62 undergraduate business schools ranked Mendoza third behind University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. Both of these schools held on to their top spots in this year’s list.

A “critical factor” in the ranking drop was due to a change in the rules regarding faculty ratio, Woo said. For 2007, only faculty members who taught in the undergraduate program in the last academic year could be counted.

Mendoza received an A-plus in the areas of teaching quality, facilities, services and job placement.

The rankings relied on a survey of 77,000 graduating seniors from the 123 institutions eligible for ranking – including students from the only institution that declined to participate, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School – as well as a survey of corporate recruiters.

In addition to the surveys, BusinessWeek looked at factors such as the median starting salary for graduates and the amount of graduates attending Top-35 MBA programs. An academic quality gauge included four measures: ratio of full-time faculty to students, average class size, percentage of business majors with internships and the amount of hours students spend every week on schoolwork.

Many Mendoza students said they were satisfied with Notre Dame’s undergraduate program.

“I think it’s been a good experience compared to what I have heard from friends at other schools,” said Ken Walsh, a senior finance major. Walsh plans to attend law school in the fall.

Sophomore accountancy major Alex Ericksen said he was “pleased” with Mendoza.

“I think it definitely belongs in the top ten,” Ericksen said. Ericksen plans to intern this summer with William Blair & Company in London, a job he landed thanks to his experiences at Mendoza.

Although it is often difficult for sophomores to find summer internships in business, Mendoza students like Ericksen have been successful. Internship placement is an important criterion in BusinessWeek rankings and contributed to Notre Dame’s high schore.

Sophomore accountancy major David Hillegass plans to intern with Comcast this summer.

“[Mendoza] has really helped me forward my business career by giving me opportunities to get internships and future job opportunities,” Hillegass said.

Mendoza graduates have reason to be optimistic. Placement surveys from 2005 show the average salary for a graduate of the undergraduate program is $48,500, according to the Mendoza Web site. Some of the firms that hired the most graduates in the past academic year include Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young and Goldman Sachs.

The BusinessWeek ranking said 71 percent of Mendoza students surveyed were already employed by graduation, while 26 percent planned on immediately moving onto graduate school.

“I would definitely say that having [attended] Notre Dame and Mendoza will be beneficial in getting a job in the future,” Walsh said.

Ericksen expressed disappointment with the college’s recent drop to seventh place, but said other circumstances played into the shift.

“I don’t think [Mendoza] got worse. It’s just that other schools have gotten better,” he said. “There’s increased competition.”

Walsh said Mendoza’s ranking was “still respectable.”

“Third would be better, but seventh is nothing to look down on,” he said.