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The University of St. Thomas (UST) is Houston’s Catholic University, committed to the Catholic intellectual tradition and the dialogue between faith and reason. Our blog is dedicated to helping you explore your future career possibilities and how to make the most of your college experience.
Business Schools in Texas
Comparing Business Schools in Texas: 7 Criteria Students Should Consider
For you, choosing to study business has been a matter of both passion and practicality. You love that it’s a multi-faceted field that allows you to make an impact in a variety of industries. But you can’t deny that you’re also interested in studying business because of how much employers value the corresponding credentials. That’s true for degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s levels, even when the economy isn’t booming.
One survey of graduate business school alumni who obtained a degree in 2011 – meaning they likely began their studies at the height of the Great Recession – shows that 86 percent of those polled were employed after completing their programs. And 82 percent of surveyed graduates reported earning a salary that met or exceeded their expectations.
But you’re wise enough to know that not every business school is created equal. You want to attend a local institution that aligns with your commitment to ethical leadership and offers a great education. But how do you find the right program when there are so many business schools in Texas? It’s all a matter of doing your research and seeking out some key elements.
7 Criteria to look for when comparing business schools in Texas
Whether you’re an aspiring undergraduate student or an experienced professional looking to further your business studies, you can evaluate business schools in Texas based on the following benchmarks.
1. A curriculum that prepares you for a successful career
A good business program should involve rigorous coursework in your major or concentration, but the curriculum should also focus on building foundational education in other related subjects. Having a working knowledge of all those interrelated topics can help you more fully understand your intended field. Every program you’re considering should cover basics like accounting, finance, economics and management.
Undergraduate students should also consider what else the curriculum entails aside from business classes. Liberal arts schools, for instance, typically require students seeking a bachelor’s degree to complete quite a number of core courses that span across disciplines. While some critics have argued that approach wastes valuable time, evidence suggests students gain a lot by learning about so many subjects. In fact, a recent report shows that a student who attends a liberal arts school achieves a far greater return on investment (ROI) than the average college graduate over time.
Some educators also point out that requiring students to complete a core curriculum helps to cultivate an intellectual community that all students at that institution are a part of. This introduces students to a diversity of viewpoints, which can help challenge preconceived notions and foster a deeper understanding.
2. Accreditation that goes above and beyond
You should always ensure that every business school you’re considering has regional accreditation, which indicates the education quality has been assessed and approved by an independent party. But that’s really a bare minimum standard.
When assessing business schools in Texas, you’d be wise to look for accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). This organization only grants accreditation to institutions that meet rigorous standards. Believe it or not, less than 5 percent of business schools in the world have achieved this credential.
3. Quality instruction that meets your needs
It’s just as important to focus on the faculty as it is the program content when you’re trying to choose a business school in Texas. Great instructors can have a huge impact on your educational experience, so it’s worth doing some research for each program you’re considering.
As you’re looking into instructors at various schools, there are a few questions you should ask. Are the faculty experts in their respective fields? What qualifications do they have? At the Cameron School of Business within the University of St. Thomas (UST), for instance, 93 percent of full-time professors hold the highest degree in their respective fields.
You should also consider what type of environment best supports your needs. Some students enjoy being somewhat anonymous in a large class. But if you prefer more individualized attention from instructors, a smaller program like the ones at UST may be a better fit for you.
4. Impressive graduate outcomes
One of the best ways to find a great business school in Texas is to look into how students from different programs fare once they’ve completed their education. Find out what portion of graduates are employed soon after obtaining their degrees. When it comes to UST, 87 percent of graduate students and 73 percent of undergraduate students are employed within six months of graduation. If you can’t find this information on your own, make sure to ask.
It’s also a good idea to compare outcomes that aren’t tied to specific metrics, because those can also provide valuable information. Do graduates work for notable companies? What job titles do they achieve? These details can also tell you a lot about whether a program is high quality.
5. Valuable professional development opportunities
Building and fostering a professional network is essential for career success. In fact, a survey that polled more than 1,500 working adults found that 31 percent of them found their most recent job through someone they know. But while most every business school makes it easy for students to connect with each other and alumni, it’s worth investigating whether there are professional development opportunities beyond that.
There are likely more career-building activities and events out there than you realize. Depending on the school, you could have access to numerous networking opportunities like guest speaker series, conferences, business consulting projects, local company tours and more.
6. Relationships with local employers
For you, attending a quality business school is about more than receiving a great education – it’s about ensuring you’re equipped to join the workforce soon after graduating. A school’s location can actually play a big part in your future job prospects. When you’re comparing Texas business schools, think about where they are in proximity to potential employers. Schools that are near organizations you’d be interested in working for likely have valuable connections through alumni or faculty.
If you’re interested in building your business career in Texas, know that Houston is a great place to complete your education. It’s home to more than 20 Fortune 500 companies, not to mention an array of smaller organizations. The cost of living in Houston is also less expensive compared to other Texas metro areas, meaning your dollar will stretch further.
7. A community that shares your values
Each college and university has its own values that permeate every program from business to education. Individual departments or schools within the larger institution may layer in additional guiding principles. When you think about it this way, it’s clear that attending a postsecondary degree program is an opportunity to join a few learning communities.
Remember to make sure that both the programs and institutions you’re considering not only speak to a given value, but can also show that it matters to them. Perhaps you’re eager to join a supportive community that welcomes students from all different backgrounds. If so, you might be eager to know that UST’s student body is 68 percent ethnically diverse, with learners representing 34 states and more than 60 countries.
Find your fit in the Lone Star State
Choosing a school can be daunting, especially when you’re faced with so many options. But keeping some baseline criteria in mind as you’re researching programs can help make your final decision a bit easier. You’ll quickly recognize which schools share your vision for leading in a way that’s both effective and ethical. Soon enough, you’ll be able to shorten your lengthy list of business schools in Texas to just a few candidates.
Whether you’re new to higher education or you’re preparing to earn another degree, pursuing your education at a quality business school can help you begin working toward your career goals. Some institutions, such as the University of St. Thomas, even provide opportunities to get involved in the surrounding community. To learn more about how you can start working toward your professional goals, visit UST’s Cameron School of Business page.
Ready to take the next step?
The University of St. Thomas (UST) is Houston’s Catholic University, committed to the religious, ethical and intellectual traditions of Catholic higher education. For more than 70 years, we’ve been graduating students like you into successful careers in medicine, education, business, public administration and more – throughout Houston and across the globe.