Last week, USD was ranked 14th in Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2011 list of the top 20 part-time MBA programs. Moving up to 14th from 26h in 2009 is a big step for USD’s program and has an immediate benefit for my classmates and I. It is a vindication of the effort we’ve put in, which has qualified the program for this distinction. And, it also doesn’t hurt that the honor comes with some pretty great bragging rights.
Before USD was ranked in the MBA world, I would rationalize the uniqueness of San Diego’s economy and then admire our blue sky and thermometer in February in order to validate my choice in B-school. The weather and local culture allowed me to duck the implied superiority of other schools and let me simply enjoy the core qualities that earned USD this ranking:
A+ in quality of teaching – The most straightforward way of describing the strengths of our Professors is that their success is linked to their own hard work and dedication to us students. I saw this in my first semester when my most challenging professor was available every Saturday morning to coach students in a class where nobody complains that the final is easy.
A+ grade for curriculum – the closest equivalent of this ranking would be my mother teaching me to each my broccoli, while I just wanted to eat Flintstone vitamins. In my 14 years of experience in Management Consulting I can say that the difficult and frank discussions we undertake in class are the exact topics that I experience in the conference rooms of our local companies. Some of these topics include Wall Street reform, Global Economic Policy and Corporate Social Responsibility.
A+ grade for Caliber of Classmates – We establish respect for one another by qualifying for the program, but we develop lifelong relationships through what we experience together in our cohort. I am proud to be associated with my cohort based on the diversity and personal qualities of each individual.
A+ grade for Student Life – This is actually my fictitious topic that addresses the real life experience that the 14th ranking could not cover. Unlike other schools, students do not have difficulty getting into required classes, understanding the implications of curriculum changes or making mid-course corrections to change emphasis.
Any student considering joining us should reach out to any of my peers and ask them if business school has been worth it. Ask them if the University leadership has not only pointed them towards the right goals, but was then also there to push them over the goal lines. This ranking is a tremendous leap in our public recognition and for those of us in the program, those of who have earned this opportunity, it merely enhances the San Diego MBA experience.
Dave Hayes is an Evening MBA student at USD. He has spent 14 years in consulting and currently works at Amylin Pharmaceuticals.
To read more about the ranking, visit Dean Pyke’s blog here.