by Joe King
BusinessWeek Magazine once again has included the NIU College of Business on its list of the top undergraduate business schools in the nation, ranking it 73rd, up eight spots from last year.
“I was delighted to see that we climbed in the rankings, because that is external validation of the quality of our program,” said Denise Schoenbachler, dean of the business school. “Even more exciting, however, were the comments and rankings from our students that demonstrate that they find real value in our strategic decision to incorporate real-world experience into their education at every opportunity.”
The BusinessWeek methodology incorporates measures of student satisfaction, post-graduation outcomes and academic quality. What makes it unique from some other popular rankings (such as U.S. News & World Report) is that the methodology places a premium on input from people who have interacted with the college – whether as students or as business recruiters.
Recruiter rankings were compiled using data from nearly 200 companies. They were asked to evaluate schools they recruit from based on quality of graduates, innovativeness of curricula and the effectiveness of career services departments.
Based on that criteria, recruiters ranked the NIU College of Business 48th overall. That was good enough for second best amongst the five Illinois business schools that qualified for the survey, trailing only the University of Illinois, which recruiters ranked seventh.
To get the student perspective, the magazine polled 85,000 graduating seniors at the 137 eligible schools. They were asked to complete a 50-question survey on everything from the quality of teaching to recreational facilities. Among those results, NIU business students gave the college a grade of “A” for facilities and career services and a “B” for faculty.
Based on student satisfaction ratings, the college ranked 50th once again trailing only U of I, which ranked 28th in the category. The student survey accounted for 30 percent of a school’s final score.
When provided an opportunity to comment on their experience, NIU students said that one of the best things about their education was that it didn’t rely solely upon text books. “Professors invite CEOs, presidents and high-level executives into the classroom to talk about the business world,” wrote one student. Another commented, “The access to business contacts is extensive. I interact with alumni on a weekly basis and have opportunities to tour businesses regularly.”
Other Illinois undergraduate business schools included in the rankings were University of Illinois (22nd overall), University of Illinois-Chicago (94), DePaul (71) and Loyola (95). Other schools from the Mid-American Conference included in the rankings were Miami (18) and Akron (93).