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Clarkson MBA program ranked among the best in nation


POTSDAM — A national publication’s recent accolades about a Clarkson University graduate business program may be too good to be true, but the truth is impressive, too.

Clarkson ranked No. 1 on U.S. News and World Report’s top-10 list of business schools with the highest employment rate within the first three months of graduation. The magazine notes that Clarkson students reported a 100 percent job-placement rate after leaving school.

“At four schools — Clarkson University, Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, the University at Albany-SUNY and University of Tulsa’s Collins College of Business — 100 percent of full-time students landed jobs within that three-month time frame,” the magazine’s article said.

There’s more to that 100 percent number than meets the eye, said Boris Jukic, director of MBA programs at Clarkson.

“We do have a really good placement rate — I wasn’t surprised we were highly rated, I was a little taken aback with 100. I wish it was reported fully,” he said.

The university tracks three numbers when reporting its placement rate — the number of students placed in a job, the number of students still looking for a job and the students not available to give a response. The magazine’s ranking fails to take into account the response rate of participating colleges’ surveys.

“Our response rate is about 85 percent, everybody who responded verified they are employed,” he said. “Those that didn’t respond, chances are that some of them aren’t employed. If you don’t have good news, you might not want to respond.”

Mr. Jukic also said U.S. News and World Report’s lists are biased toward big-name schools.

“I believe the survey is slightly biased, if you are a large brand-name school, you will be more favorably treated just because you have a more widely recognized brand name,” he said.

For example, Ivy League institutions like Princeton University and Brown University regularly have business schools ranked among the best by the magazine.

“There is no Princeton or Brown business school,” Mr. Jukic said. “When people rank business schools, sometimes they just rank universities in general. A perception of greatness can lead to bias.”

Clarkson has outside factors which impact its ability to place students in jobs, said Mr. Jukic.

“Our students are pragmatic, hardworking and they understand the first job they take might not be their dream job — so they may be less picky than students from other schools,” he said.

Mr. Jukic suggested the school’s broadened emphasis on business programs works to its advantage.

“Our biggest MBA group is in supply chain and logistics, and they are in demand,” he said. “At a lot of business schools, one of the most popular majors is finance, and we don’t emphasize finance nearly as much. Finance placement was hit nationally after the financial crisis — we weren’t affected by the economic downturn as much as other schools.”

In January, the publication lauded Clarkson University’s online business programs.


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