By Melissa Plowman
BYU?s Marriott School MBA program continued to receive high recruiter?s rankings in an annual report released by the Wall Street Journal Wednesday. The program received an overall regional ranking of sixth, with a fourth place ranking for excellence in accounting.
The rankings came from more than 3,000 recruiter?s, who rated each of the eligible business schools based on three main components: perception, supportive behavior and mass appeal.
Although BYU has gone down one spot from last year?s fifth place ranking, Kevin Stokes, director of the School of Accountancy, said he feels BYU?s program hasn?t stumbled and will continue to succeed.
Jim Stice, director of the MBA program agreed.
?Two years ago we had zero recruiting from our MBA program students,? Stice said. ?We are better than we used to be and will be better than we are. It?s the field of dreams approach: if you build it, they will come.?
Among the other rankings, BYU?s average base salary statistics went up $6,000 from the almost $70,000 it was at last year.
?Of course it?s great,? said Dennis Wright, finance MBA student from Draper. ?You want to see your school do well. The market pays for what the school and students are worth, and there is a higher demand for us. The students are of a higher caliber than in years past.?
The top recruiting companies, according to the Wall Street Journal, are Ford Motor Co., Ensign Group, American Express and Honeywell. Stokes said the recruiters who get BYU accounting students are well pleased with their work because of the education and training provided.
?The recruiters pick BYU students because of two factors,? Stokes said. ?One, students come through an integrated program so they are able to understand how accounting works in all areas. Two, a lot of professional training is given to the students beyond academic work such as group work, presentations, case work and outside involvement.?
BYU also received high marks in the category based on ethical standards. BYU placed second, just below Yale University.
?The basic premise to start with is BYU?s ethics,? Stokes said. ?Put it all into the program, integrating every part, and you get good students and faculty.?
Stice said recruiters look mainly at BYU?s reputation. This university has a high quality of students and a reputation with people who hire them.
?We make great people, that?s our secret,? Stice said. ?We have highly qualified members of [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] who are leaders that use those leadership skills in their professions, in the church, in their homes and in their communities. That?s what BYU is about ? not business, but leadership.?
Stice said every semester, he reviews each of the MBA online applications personally to see if they meet the minimum qualifications. After they have met the qualifications, an interview is set up. Last semester, Stice reviewed 450 applications. During the interview, Stice asks prospective students if they are committed to building the Kingdom of God and representing BYU.
?Two-thirds of those admitted are BYU undergrads because they understand BYU?s mission,? Stice said. ?They loved it so much they want to come back. We don?t discriminate between those who have an undergraduate here or with those who don?t, but we don?t favor them either.?
According to The Wall Street Journal, BYU?s gender diversity in the program has actually decreased. With the majority of the program male, women are the minority.
?I?ve never considered myself underrepresented,? said Jillayne Whipple, a junior from Gilbert, Ariz. in the accounting junior core. ?It can feel a little intimidating, but I have to take that to mean that I need to be more assertive and confident in my abilities to analyze, simulate information and to be successful.?
Stice said part of the reason for the gender difference is many of the women who would be in the program have gotten married and are having kids. At this point in women?s lives, they are having a family instead of getting an MBA.
With the demand on BYU students to enter to learn and go forth to serve, only the most willing and ethical students are part of the nationally ranked MBA program.
?There is an obligation to build the kingdom,? Stice said. ?There is a great work to do. If they aren?t willing to do that, we aren?t interested.?