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Mendoza reclaims No. 3 BusinessWeek ranking

Becky Hogan | Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Mendoza College of Business has reclaimed its No. 3 ranking of the nation’s top business schools for undergraduates according to BusinessWeek magazine’s Mar. 10 issue, jumping four spots from its 2007 ranking.

Notre Dame’s College of Business previously held the No.3 spot in 2006, its highest ranking to date.

Mendoza is exceeded only by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce, who occupied the top two spots, respectively.

” I would say we’ve actually been performing this way before there was a ranking, and we haven’t tried to change anything to get a higher ranking,” said Carolyn Y. Woo, Martin J. Gillen Dean of Business. “We are always trying to improve, but it’s not because of rankings … whenever we see new opportunities or weak spots we try to attend to these.”

Woo said that Mendoza’s high national ranking can be attributed to several factors including rigorous academics, job placement success after graduation, the strong alumni network and the College’s emphasis on ethics.

“The ranking isn’t important to us in the sense that it changes our actions or the way that we look at ourselves. But if you ask whether a lot more people know how good we are the answer is ‘yes,'” Woo said.

“This year we paid more attention to companies that recruit our students so they know to expect that a survey will be coming to them,” Woo said. “We are always looking at reasons to improve, but not in response to rankings.”

According to the BusinessWeek ranking, the median annual starting salaries for Mendoza graduates rose to $53,500, a nearly 10 percent increase from the previous year.

The survey also said that students commented that Notre Dame’s “die-hard alums and an emphasis on ethics separated Mendoza from the pack.”

“When students commented on ethics, that means more to me than being No. 3,” Woo said.

The BusinessWeek ranking also places Mendoza as the top Catholic business school in the nation. It is followed by Boston College’s Carroll School of Management at No. 14 and Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business at No. 19.

“Our motto is that we will be faithful to Catholic teachings, integrity, ethics, responsibility to society and the common good,” Woo said. “We have always stood on a dual mission of academic excellence and faith. We want our students to exceed but to exceed in the right way,” Woo said.

Although enrollment usually fluctuates from year to year in the College of Business, Woo said that enrollment has continued to increase in the past three years, although she was not sure that this could be attributed to the rankings.

The Mendoza College of Business currently enrolls 1,626 undergraduate students in the departments of accountancy, finance, management and marketing.

BusinessWeek based its ranking on nine sources including median starting salaries for graduates, the number of graduates admitted to top MBA programs, faculty-student ratios, average class size, the percentage of students with internships and the number of hours students spend weekly on class work.

Despite its strengths, Junior Hajime Sargent believes that Mendoza still has room for improvement.

“One weakness that I think Mendoza has is just being in South Bend. I would like to see more opportunities in the community to gain practical experience,” he said.

Sargent said he thinks the BusinessWeek ranking is “ultimately its just a number.”

“I think the rank gives us more opportunity to be recruited, but on the day to day level, as long as you’re engaged in challenging program, I think there would still be a way to stand out [regardless of ranking]” Sargent said.

Sargent said that he feels Mendoza has prepared him academically for several business fields.

“They offer a lot of opportunities for interdisciplinary advancement … I’m a marketing major, but I am also educated in wide background of accounting,” Saergent said.

Senior Brian Cavers said that he feels Mendoza has prepared him for the business world once he graduates.

“We practice real world examples with case studies…and we analyze a company just as you would be doing in a job,” Cavers said. “I feel confident that once I get a job … Mendoza will have prepared me.”