How Do I Choose a School for Business?
This is a question that countless aspiring businessmen and businesswomen ask every day. In fact, many practicing executives are asking the same question. Whether it be an accountant wanting to advance in her career through an MBA or a high school student dreaming of a future in entrepreneurship, choosing the right School of Business is an important next step in reaching those goals. You will find that there are plenty of voices that weigh in on the answer to this question. To make it easier for you, we have compiled a one-stop checklist to aid you in your search for a school for business.
It’s important to look at the foundational elements of the business school’s curriculum. What does the school define as successful and effective? At Grace, we always come back to the basic principles of the Bible.
“What differentiates us is the perspective we take on Scripture,” said Jeff Fawcett, Dean of the School of Business. “We compare what we learn in a textbook to what God’s Word says. We do this to instill in the students that their ultimate goal is not just to make money, but to glorify God and serve others.”
Achievements of the Alumni
Look at the graduates of the business school. Where are they working? What is their role? Are they approaching their job with a greater sense of purpose?
If you see alumni landing great jobs with good salaries, that is most likely the product of a good business school. And be sure to evaluate a range of alumni. What jobs do the 20-somethings land after graduation? What are the graduates of 1990 doing today?
Quentin Blackford and Matt Abernethy are two accomplished Grace alumni. Blackford was a COO and CFO at Dexcom and is now the CEO of iRhythm Technologies. Abernethy is the CFO of Neurocrine Biosciences. They were both awarded CFO of the Year awards by the San Diego Business Journal in 2020.
“Never in a million years did I think this would be my life or career trajectory,” Abernethy said. “I know I don’t deserve the opportunities I have been given. My goal through any recognition I receive is to make much of Him.”
Josh Remington, a sport management and business administration graduate, has been the director of marketing and fan experience at colleges, including Illinois State University and the University of Washington.
“The School of Business and Sport Management program provided a tremendous base of knowledge from godly professors with real-world experience,” said Remington. “This starting framework, combined with encouragement from School of Business advisors to pursue real-world experience, gave me the springboard I needed to leap into the sports industry.”
Successful graduates are an important indicator of the success of the school for business.
The next step is to do some research on the professors. You want to learn from people who have plenty of real-world experience.
Thomas Pycraft, assistant professor of finance, received his bachelor’s degree in accounting at Grace in 2002. Pycraft was a litigation lawyer for 14 years specializing in finance law. He shifted careers and decided to get his doctorate in business administration at Jacksonville University. He is teaching many business courses at Grace, including business law.
This is the kind of experience you want to learn from!
Another thing to consider is what the professors are involved in outside of academia. If the professor’s values align with your goals and values, then perhaps you’ve found a match!
Professor Danielle Deal, assistant accounting professor, uses her skills to lead students in giving back to the community. She works with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), an organization that helps low-income families with their taxes.
“Grace College’s VITA Program provides the perfect outlet for our students to display character, competency, and service beyond the classroom,” said Deal. “ VITA is where business academics combine with application in a unique demonstration of experiential learning and community service.”
Understanding business theory and conducting business research is critical to a well-rounded education, but this must be put into practice with hands-on experience. All majors in the school for business at Grace require internship credits. At some schools, the real-world practice can be forgotten in the mix, but at Grace, applied learning projects are key to our student’s success!
In the entrepreneurship service practicum required for entrepreneurship majors, students start and run their own businesses. Then they pick a non-profit organization to donate their time and proceeds to. Since 2012, students have donated $15,900 and completed 2,400 hours of service.
Speaking of partnering with community businesses, make sure that your school for business is well-connected. If the school has a good reputation, corporations will seek out its graduates.
It’s also a good idea to find a school that is located in an economically thriving area. Kosciusko County is home to numerous businesses and organizations that partner with us to provide students with internship opportunities. And because of the Fortune 500 orthopedic companies in the area, the internships are often paid, and the salaries are high for many of our business majors.
One of Grace’s recent marketing graduates, Laura Hoke, is a testament to this. As a student, one of her professors connected her with an internship at a local orthopedic company. The internship led to a full-time job and a salary increase that paved the way for radical generosity. Read more here.
Another Grace graduate, Trevor Rumple, recently began his career with an internship through DePuy Synthes.
“Having the intern experience is hugely beneficial for college students,” said Rumple. “School teaches you a lot, but it cannot replicate the realities of a nine-to-five job – being on a computer all day, sending hundreds of emails, keeping several projects on schedule and trying to keep it all organized. I can’t speak enough about the benefits of getting this experience as early as you can.”
Another way we connect students with job opportunities is through our annual Accounting Career Fair. This fair gives our accounting students the chance to sit with accounting firm representatives and interview for open positions on the spot!
Beyond the expectations of the classroom, it’s good to have experiences that supplement your coursework in a school for business. At Grace, we have numerous activities, clubs, and projects to get involved in as a business major. We’ve listed several of these below:
–Business Plan Competition– An annual competition that gives student entrepreneurs the chance at $13,000 to launch their business dreams
–Women in Business- A female-only business club
–VITA Program– A team of students that provides free tax preparation services for the community. This past year they provided services to 350 families.
–Investment Fund – Only 10% of schools in the nation have business students managing an investment fund, and Grace College is one of them.
Now that you know what to look for in schools of business, you can begin your search!