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To commemorate Businessweek’s 2014 ranking of the top undergraduate business programs, Forster Thomas is profiling the top ten. At #8 this year is a newcomer, Indiana's Kelley School.

By Ben Feuer, Photo by Jeff Hart


Kelley is an innovator among the top ten, with a popular new online initiative and an undergraduate program whose reputation continues to rise.

Fantastic in-state tuition of $8,919 per year

#1 ranked by recruiters

Top feeder for EY

Mark Cuban is an alum! That's fun.

Average salary upon graduation: $55, 167



85 percent of Kelley applicants are freshmen. As a Bloomington direct admit (available to students entering in the fall semesters only), you can bypass the admissions requirements current IU students must meet to be accepted into the program, so if you know this is the way you want to go, it's a good bet.

Students must indicate an intended major in business on the university application and meet the direct admit criteria of 1270 SAT or a 30 ACT and earn a high school GPA of 3.7 or higher. To actually gain admission, however, a 3.8 / 1350 split is more realistic.

Unconventionally, Kelley does not require letters of recommendation or essays from undergraduate applicants in the initial review process, although both may be required if you are invited to apply for Selective Scholarships and/or Scholar Programs. The required personal statement for freshmen has a 300-word limit.



Standard admission into Kelley gives you a powerful advantage when it comes to acceptance into Kelley: they don’t care about your ACT scores from high school.

Interested students must fill out an application for admissions to the Kelley School by April 1 for fall admission or November 1 for spring admission. A student must take specified courses in business analysis, business communication, and mathematics and complete 26 credit hours to apply. Consistent B performance across all courses is expected, and they look at all grades, not just business.

Your involvement with extracurricular activities, community service, and any work experience you have are considered by the committee, but academic performance weighs most heavily in the decision.


If you are interested in transferring into the Kelley Undergraduate Program, your first step is to apply and be admitted to IU Bloomington. You’ll need to be enrolled as a University Division student for at least your first semester on campus.

Once you are admitted to IU Bloomington, you are encouraged to apply for Kelley School admission during your first two semesters.


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To commemorate Businessweek’s 2014 ranking of the top undergraduate business programs, Forster Thomas is profiling the top ten. Jumping three spots to #6 this year – UT Austin McCombs.

By Ben Feuer


McCombs, the second highest ranked state school on our list, is ideally situated in Austin, a growing city that has a strong focus on energy, tech, and entrepreneurship.

Reasonable in-state tuition of $10,738 anually

Top feeder for Deloitte, well represented in consulting

Outstanding career center

Powerful alumni include the CEOs of ConocoPhillips and Southwest Airlines

Average salary upon graduation: $58,049


Thanks to an unusually well-organized admissions website, getting the information you need is easy.


Freshmen apply through the usual ApplyTexas website – unless they are interested in the Business Honors program, no separate application is required. Letters of recommendation are optional, and UT Austin does NOT conduct interviews for candidates applying to the McCombs School of Business.


Transferring into McCombs is, of course, highly competitive (last year's acceptance rate was 72%), and bear in mind the McCombs School of Business accepts students for the fall semester only.


McCombs requires at least 24 hours in residence at UT Austin, at least one year of college foreign language or two years of high school foreign language, Calc I, II, Micro and Macroeconomics.

Students are limited to two attempts, and must be made within the first four semesters.


3.0 GPA minimum, 3.5 recommended. The residency and class requirements are the same as for internal transfers, as is the foreign language requirement.

In addition to these requirements, students must have at least 30 hours of transferrable coursework.

17% of appliants were admitted last year.


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To commemorate Businessweek’s 2014 ranking of the top undergraduate business programs, Forster Thomas is profiling the top ten.  Today, the #2 school, University of Virginia: Mcintire.

By Ben Feuer


McIntire is the top ranked state school for undergraduate business majors, according to Businessweek, and it is the top ranked major feeder school for Washington DC.  Need I say more?  All right then, I will.

• In-state tuition just over $10,000

• No need to declare your major until your junior year

• Students give back – 30% of alumni donate to the school

• Strong presence (1500+) in NYC and Washington DC

• An average salary upon graduation of almost $64,000 – not too shabby


McIntire requires that students complete a minimum of 54 credits and strongly desires that students complete a minimum of two academic years before enrollment.

Admission is competitive, and personnel look for evidence of competitive academic performance, intellectual ability, significant work or life experiences, as well as other qualities of character that may not be quantitatively measured. These include:

•Strong communications skills





•ability to work with others




For Current UVA Students:

A committee of four faculty members separately reviews and makes independent decisions on each applicant. Afterward, the group meets to reach consensus.

Important academic factors considered by Admissions include cumulative grade point average, academic performance in prerequisites and those courses related to business (accounting, economics, mathematics), and degree of difficulty of courses taken to date.  Also considered are Collegiate Extracurricular Activities, Activities and leadership within organizations, and Work experiences.

For more information, check here.

For Transfer Students:

Applicants enrolled at schools other than the University must apply to the University of Virginia as a transfer student and should indicate application to McIntire.  It is strongly recommended that students complete all prerequisites before transferring to the University, and transfer should be made directly to McIntire as a third-year student. The University of Virginia: Transfer Information Web site has more information about this process.

Students currently enrolled at a Virginia community college and interested in applying to McIntire should complete the suggested courses listed in the Prerequisites-Equivalents at Virginia Community Colleges.

Some Useful Facts:

• The mean GPA of students admitted to McIntire from other colleges and universities has historically averaged 3.8.

• The same admissions criteria apply for transfer students as for current students, including extracurriculars and work experience.

• The University is aggressively increasing the goals for admitting students from the Virginia Community College System; over half of McIntire’s incoming transfer students are historically from the VCCS.


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To commemorate Businessweek’s 2014 ranking of the top undergraduate business programs, Forster Thomas is profiling the top ten.  First up – the #1 school, University of Notre Dame: Mendoza.


By Ben Feuer


Mendoza is the #1 business school this year according to Bloomberg Businessweek, and there are a lot of very good reasons for that.  Here are a couple of points that distinguish Mendoza.

• Choose from five majors -- ACCT, FIN, MARK, MGT IT, MGT Consulting

• Strong emphasis on ethics – they even put it on their homepage.

• Happy student body – Mendoza graduates are loud and proud

• Chicago market feeder, with over 2300 graduates in the Chicago area on Linkedin

• With an average salary upon graduation of almost $60,000, you won’t need to pinch pennies with a Mendoza diploma in your pocket.


There is no separate application for UND Mendoza this year.  Interested students should apply to Notre Dame and pursue a “broad liberal arts curriculum in a variety of academic areas”, according to Mendoza’s home page, before declaring a business major in their second year.

Notre Dame accepts the common application, with a writing supplement, choosing three of the following five prompts and providing a response between 150 and 300 words to each.

  1. In his 2005 inaugural address, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame, challenged our community: “We at Notre Dame must have the courage to be who we are. If we are afraid to be different from the world, how can we make a difference in the world?” When you leave Notre Dame, what is one way you will bravely face the world, stay true to your values, and make a difference large or small?

This is a kind of cousin to an essay about a goal or even a personal statement, but phrased broadly, so as to allow for the fact that you probably have no idea what career you’d like to have.  But most likely there is some corner of the world, something you’ve had personal experience with, where you WOULD like to make an impact.  Where is it?  This is not a ‘brag’ essay.  This should reveal something about who you are at your core, something surprising and (hopefully) endearing!

  1. What is your proudest accomplishment that doesn’t appear on your résumé — an act for which you did not receive a trophy, grade, or other type of outward recognition?

Another way to look at this question is “what don’t we know about you that we SHOULD know about you?”  The most obvious way to answer this question (and potentially a very effective one) is to talk about your family, using a specific incident as a springboard to discuss a larger lesson about your life, like when you went on a summer camping trip with your uncle and learned what roughing it really meant.  But this could also be a story about overcoming an internal obstacle, or even a powerful friendship.  Whatever you choose, it will most likely revolve around a relationship.

  1. Tell us about a time you fell in love… with an academic concept. What excited you about this idea, project, or lesson?

When writing an essay about academic achievement, the most important thing to remember is that this is NOT a question about grades.  Believe me, Notre Dame has seen your transcript.  This is an opportunity to go beyond that.  The question asks about excitement, falling in love with an idea – believe it or not, this is anything but a dry, intellectual question, so don’t treat it like one!  Tell them about a time when learning became hands on or personal for you, an unforgettable teacher, or a project that took you above and beyond your everyday expectations.

  1. Why are you interested in attending the University of Notre Dame?

A standard-issue ‘why our school’ question.  The usual caveats apply.  Try to find something specific that links your application to the school,  do your research, and don’t be afraid to discuss campus visits and current students you’re friendly with, especially if they helped to give you perspective on the school.

5.  By the end of the college application process, you will have probably written dozens of essays and responded to a multitude of questions. Use this opportunity to try something new.

This is what we in the business call an ‘open-ended’ question.  The worst thing you can do when faced with a question like this is panic.  With no multimedia component and only 150-300 words to play with, there’s no call to get too out of the box.  Think about strengths or interesting qualities in your application that might otherwise go un-noticed, and then figure out a specific format for your answer – don’t speak broadly about your non-profit commitments, instead, write about that one unforgettable summer in Kuala Lumpur. 


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