The Cal Poly Orfalea College of Business has moved up on Business Week’s rankings of top undergraduate business colleges in the country. The college was bumped up to No. 64 this year from No. 70 last year.

One of only two public universities in California, Cal Poly and the University of California, Berkeley joined three other private California colleges: University of Southern California (No. 24), University of San Diego (No. 28) and Santa Clara University (No. 39).

Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business competitors, UC Berkeley — which defended its No. 6 rank from last year— and Santa Clara who dropped a few notches from No. 32, have much stronger MBA feeder school rankings. The feeder ranking depends on the amount of students who derive from UC Berkeley and Santa Clara and are admitted to top 25 elite graduate business programs like Stanford University and University of California, Los Angeles.

Orfalea was also graded on specific criteria regarding the quality of its program. It gained a ‘B’ for teaching quality, a ‘C’ for facilities and services and a ‘B’ for job placement.

Many top undergraduate programs struggled to find jobs for their graduates this year, but employers tend to favor Cal Poly. What stumps Dave Christy, dean of the Orfalea College of Business, is why his program earned a recruiter survery no. 11 rank, but a student survey ranking at no. 83.

“The extreme variance between the two causes me to conclude that students are somehow dissatisfied with some element of the program,” Christy said. “It appears they are lukewarm.”

A big part of the ranking process depends on student surveys that graduating seniors fill out on a voluntary basis. This helps Business Week to confirm the application data that administrators submit in advance to gain a ranking. Christy and administrators are challenged to avoid jeopardizing a student survey by telling them what to write, and ensuring that enough students will take interest to fill one out.

As it turns out, some schools received much lower rankings than expected as a result of too few student surveys submitted. Consequentially, Seattle University wasn’t even ranked last year.

Due to fill out a ranking survey next year, business administration junior Sarah Gabel said she likes to know where her school stands in relation to others but doesn’t pay too much attention to rankings.

“They don’t really mean anything to me,” Gabel said. “They are what you make of them.”

Gabel said she is dissatisfied with the college of business’ lack of sustainability and corporate responsibility programs. Furthermore, she said she believes competing with a changing business environment, like the shift technology has taken, will make transitioning into grad programs more difficult because she doesn’t see Cal Poly making the effort unlike other competitive schools.

“A lot of this stems from students comparing (us) to other programs,” Christy said. “If you’re comparing USC to Cal Poly, it’s not a fair comparison. USC is a private school and has much more money. Parents are the ones more focused on the rankings than students are.”

But regardless of what parents think of rankings, students are the ones attending classes and filling out the surveys.

“If you are in finance or marketing, you come out with a solid skill set, but I’m interested in small business entrepreneurship,” Gabel said. “I look at my four-year degree as irrelevant to what I want to pursue.”

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1 Comment

  1. Has to be the $40 million PR campaign, because we all know the OCOB hasn’t invested shit in improving the quality of their programs.

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