Top Talent at the School of Business
| 2015 Q3 | story by AUSTIN FALLEY | photos provided by KU School of Business |
As the University of Kansas School of Business prepares to open the doors to Capitol Federal Hall (the new School of Business main building) in May, the school looks at new ways to recruit and retain top talent.
The School of Business recruitment philosophy mirrors Dean Neeli Bendapudi’s three-pillar vision of the school as a great place to learn, a great place to work and a great place in which to invest.
The school began accepting high-ability freshmen (those who earn high scores on the SAT and ACT, and have strong high school GPAs) in fall 2012, admitting 188 freshmen in the initial recruitment class.
Now, at the beginning of the fourth academic year accepting incoming freshmen, that number has nearly doubled, with more than 300 freshmen admitted to the school.
This growth in direct admission reflects the school’s marked enrollment growth of its undergraduate programs. In 2012, about 1,200 undergraduates were enrolled in the bachelor of science in business program; this fall, enrollment reached more than 1,600.
Once high-ability students have been recruited to the School of Business, academic and career services advisors work to make each student experience productive and successful.
Retention rates are an important benchmark in that effort. Since revamping direct admissions standards, the school boasts more than 90 percent retention from freshman to sophomore years (91.2 percent in 2014).
Direct admits participate in the Business School Experience (BSE), a series of one-credit-hour courses designed to connect students to life as a Jayhawk.
Students are immediately paired with an academic advisor and connected to on-campus resources, such as the Business Career Services Center and the Office of Study Abroad.
Combined with programs like the Business Leadership Program, the Business Honors Program and the newly formed Business Student Ambassador Program, freshmen get immediate exposure to career and leadership opportunities.
Recruitment director Kimberlee Hinkle notes the Freshman Admit Program gives high-ability students immediate access to a competitive and hands-on program.
“By admitting freshmen to our school, we are able to engage with students early on and track their progression through the business school to make sure they are successful during their time at KU,” she added.
Hiring Top Faculty
Dean Bendapudi’s second pillar—to make the School of Business a great place to work—contributes to the virtuous cycle of her vision.
The School of Business continues to focus on recruitment of top scholars and instructors. To that end, the construction of Capitol Federal Hall has already given the school a competitive advantage in recruiting top scholars to Lawrence.
This fall, the School of Business welcomed five new assistant professors to join the faculty. Each new research professor joins KU from top U.S. business programs—the University of Michigan and Northwestern University, among others.
The School of Business offers three options for students interested in earning an MBA (master of business administration): the full-time program in Lawrence; a part-time, working, professional program in Overland Park; and a fully online MBA program.
“For the KU MBA, recruiting students is all about identifying and developing future business leaders,” says Dee Steinle, executive director of MBA programs. “We are a trusted source of talent for many area companies and organizations, so finding the right students for our MBA program is a serious commitment.”
KU MBA students join the program with a variety of backgrounds and undergraduate degrees, from journalism to engineering to liberal arts programs, to name a few.
“We seek those who have outstanding leadership potential,” Steinle explains. “For qualified students selected to be part of our MBA program, career opportunities abound.”
Career outcomes are the key benchmark for the program’s success, and KU MBA graduates place between 95 and 100 percent within three months of graduation.
“Career development is at the heart of everything we do in the classroom,” Steinle says.