Olin rises to 13th place in magazine’s rankings

| Staff Reporter

BusinessWeek ranked the Olin Business School 13th in its fifth annual undergraduate business school rankings, up from 16th last year and 15th in 2008.

Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business took first place in the rankings, while the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce came in second. University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School, which had been ranked No. 1 from 2006 to 2008, fell to fourth.

In the categories ranked, Olin was No. 1 in two categories. The school’s average SAT score of 1460 was the highest of all schools ranked, jumping 28 points from the previous year. The school also remained the No. 1 MBA feeder school.

Olin had the seventh highest median salary for Class of 2009 graduates, at a $57,000 median base salary. According to the school’s employment statistics, there was a $500 increase in the median base salary and a $4,000 increase in the median signing bonus from 2008 to 2009, despite the financial downturn.

The school was also ranked seventh for internship placement and was in the top 10 for job placement.

The biggest improvement seen in the rankings was in job placement, one of three major categories that are awarded letter grades. Olin’s job placement grade improved from a C to a B, while its teaching quality grade fell from an A-plus to an A. The facilities and services grade remained at an A-plus.

Dean Jeff Cannon and the Olin Weston Career Center’s (WCC) director, Mark Brostoff believe the better job placement grade is reflective of immense efforts the school has made to improve student job prospects through the WCC this year.

“Students have noticed the changes of the Weston Career Center of the last 14, 15 months…We’re focusing on student preparedness so they can succeed in interviews, helping them determine a career path, and [building a] renewed sense of partnership between WCC and Olin students,” Brostoff said.

In the past year, the WCC produced a career guide and an internship guide and added adjunct professors in health care and investment banking. A new required course in career development also began this year for incoming freshmen.

“We are revamping our career education component; [the classes are] going to be more industry and career focused,” Brostoff said. “We’re bringing alumni in to do mock interviews…[There are going to be] more outreach trips, more road shows.”

According to Cannon, the school has been actively seeking career opportunities for its undergraduates.

“Dean [Mahendra] Gupta did an outreach to the Olin community…and from that outreach, we have over 50 new postings of full internships and jobs,” Cannon said.

Although Olin’s student survey rank improved from 32 to 17, the school did not fare well in its recruiter survey rank, falling from 36 to 71.

According to Louis Lavelle at Business Week, the recruiter survey asks recruiters where they are recruiting students and also asks them to rank what they think are the top schools.

Olin’s usual competitors also rose in rankings. The Stern School of Business at NYU came in at No. 12, one spot higher than Washington University. Boston College made a large leap from No. 17 to No. 9, underscoring the volatility of the rankings from year to year.

In a chat that provided a live countdown of the rankings on Mar. 4, Lavelle explained the tipping point for Notre Dame.

“A lot of students really like the school’s values,” he said. “And the big, active alumni base helping them find jobs didn’t hurt, either.”