What sets our business school apart

By Tom

Most prospective business majors know that Richmond’s Robins School of Business was ranked #12 nationally among undergraduate business programs in this year’s BusinessWeek rankings. Equally notable, in my opinion, is the fact that the Robins School was tied for the #1 ranking in Academic Quality. (I think this is due to the fact that the Robins School is part of a small liberal arts university, which makes it unique among all the other schools at the top of the rankings. All the advantages of a liberal arts environment carry over into our business school: class sizes are small, professors are first and foremost teachers who love working with undergraduate students, and the academic environment is both challenging and dynamic.)

However, fewer people may know that, when it comes to BusinessWeek‘s speciality rankings, the Robins School comes out the clear winner – or, in the magazine’s own words, “the most celebrated program in [the annual rankings].” The Robins School took the #1 spot in five specialty categories: marketing, financial management, macroeconomics, corporate strategy, and quantitative methods. It also took top-10 spots in four other categories (#2 in business law, #4 in microeconomics, #6 in sustainability, and #8 in accounting).

I always caution against blind faith in rankings – rankings, whatever the type, are based on a particular methodology, and you have to know what went into the rankings in order to truly understand what comes out of them. So make sure you read about BusinessWeek‘s methodology and get a good understanding of the philosophy behind the numbers. The fact that the Robins School came out so well overall and in so many specific categories speaks volumes, I think, about the education that we’re offering.

But a Richmond education in business is much more than just business classes and internships, and this is something all those rankings can’t capture, because it falls outside their criteria. At Richmond, you certainly get a top-notch business education, outstanding internship opportunities, and excellent job placement – but it’s also the only top-ranked business program where you get an equally strong foundation in the liberal arts. At Richmond, you’re not put in a box or confined to a business program for four years of college; all courses across the University are open to you, and your education benefits from our School of Arts and Sciences, School of Leadership Studies, even our School of Law. This is practical stuff, too: we consistently hear, from professors and employers, that Richmond business students stand out for their strong communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, in addition to their business acumen. Those are skills developed through our liberal arts curriculum and through the opportunities that Richmond business students have to make interdisciplinary connections and study a broad variety of subjects. The world – even the business world – doesn’t always fit neatly into major categories, and Richmond students are well-prepared for it.

Add to this the fact that we’re just beginning to break ground on the new Queally Hall expansion of the business school – including new classroom space, a new auditorium, a cafe, and a mock trading floor – and the future of Robins only looks brighter.

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