Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics has been ranked as one of the nation’s best undergraduate business schools by Poets&Quants for Undergrads.
Paul College placed 58th nationally in the 2018 Best Undergraduate Business Schools, moving up 11 spots from last year. As a subset of the ranking, Paul College placed 35th for alumni satisfaction and 48th for career outcomes.
Poets&Quants is an online publication for undergraduate business education news. With a long history of ranking MBA programs, this is the third year it has ranked undergraduate business schools and the second year Paul College has entered. It is considered the most comprehensive assessment of undergraduate business schools.
“Achieving the highest national ranking to date for UNH’s business school is a proud moment for the entire Paul College community,” says Deborah Merrill-Sands, dean of Paul College. “In 2014 we sharpened our focus and strategy and set ambitious goals that included increasing our enrollments, improving the academic profile of our students, enhancing student engagement and strengthening student career outcomes and success. We made outstanding progress in these areas, all of which weighed heavily in the Poets&Quants ranking.”
The Poets & Quants methodology for ranking schools, developed in collaboration with business school deans and administrators, puts equal emphasis on admissions standards and career outcomes reported by the schools, as well as the college and business school experience based entirely on responses to an extensive alumni survey. In all three areas Paul College stands out, and student interest in its programs has soared in the past five years. Undergraduate enrollment has increased by 21 percent since 2013, and the number of undergraduate degrees granted has increased by 60 percent. While numbers have risen, the academic quality of accepted students also has increased, improving the selectivity rate from 71 to 65 percent.
Paul College has prioritized strengthening experiential, or applied, learning for its students. With this focus it has broadened opportunities for them to engage with alumni and other business professionals to learn about a range of industries and career paths as well as connect their knowledge and skills more concretely with the “real world."
Some of the student-centered programs launched in the past three years include the Paul Scholars Program, Rines Angel Fund, redesigned Honors Program, Internship Opportunity Fund, Leadership Minor, Business in Practice Program and Rutman/Och Advancing Women’s Leadership Initiative.
The efforts have paid off. The job placement rate for Paul College graduates seeking employment has averaged 94 percent within six months of graduation, with total compensation packages averaging $55,009. The quality of companies recruiting on campus has risen, with students landing jobs with top employers including Fidelity Investments, Liberty Mutual, EY, PwC, Wayfair, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Direct Capital.
“We are creating a professional business program capable of competing on a national level,” says Neil Niman, associate dean of academic programs. “We believe that our new Business in Practice program is the future of business education. It is taking engaged and experiential learning to the next level by inviting corporate partners to participate in the development and delivery of courses designed to enhance our core business curriculum. It will provide our students with those skills, tools and experiences that are highly sought after by employers, thereby enhancing their professional success and setting them apart from other business school graduates.”
This recent ranking is the latest in a series of accolades for Paul College. In 2016, it was named one of the top 100 undergraduate business schools by Bloomberg Businessweek, the last year the publication conducted the ranking. In 2018, both the online and part-time MBA programs were ranked among the top 100 nationally and top-ranked in northern New England.