Location. Alumni network. Financial aid. Employment.
Every applicant weighs these key factors when choosing a full-time MBA program. However, there is another variable that’s sometimes overlooked: Class size. In small programs, as conventional wisdom goes, faculty and staff lavish personal attention on students. You’re part of a transformative experience, with supportive peers and a larger purpose. At the same time, however, you can miss out on the smorgasbord of trips, clubs, classes, speakers, and recruiters inherent to a larger program. In contrast, it’s easy to lose your way in a hypercompetitive big school, where you can sometimes feel like you don’t really count.
A SMALL SCHOOL WITH UNMATCHED RESOURCES
So why can’t you have both depth and breadth? That’s the value proposition of Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. At Fisher, you reap the best of both worlds: A nurturing atmosphere that’s embedded within one of America’s largest and most renowned research universities. In other words, you get the small school experience supplemented with vast resources, so you never feel like you’re missing out. And that’s by design, with small classes fostering “collaboration” and a “sense of community” according to first-year Vinayak Viswanath, a UK-trained analyst with Caterpillar India.
An intimate cohort translates to an in-depth network. And a large school represents a myriad of opportunities to enrich learning, says Shashi Matta, Fisher’s deeply engaged academic director of MBA programs and a clinical associate professor of marketing. For example, Fisher MBAs often partner with students from other schools, such as public health, design, and architecture, for research, competitions, and even startups. They also work in cross-functional discovery teams to address global issues ranging from energy to poverty. “You can take a class in just about anything [at Ohio State],” Matta marvels. “[Fisher] MBAs want to get involved.”
But scope and support are only part of Fisher’s appeal shares Jacob Kuss, a University of Chicago graduate who hails from nearby Worthington. “The structured first-year curriculum will put me on par with classmates who have worked for years. The open, student-centric second-year curriculum allows me to completely structure my education and focus on classes, topics and areas I deem necessary for my future. In between, Fisher’s Global Applied Projects program provides MBA students with a month of international work experience. Nothing can beat hands-on learning.”
INCOMING CLASS HOLDS HIGHER UNDERGRADUATE GPA THAN COLUMBIA
Kuss and Viswanath are among the 115 members of Fisher’s 2017 full-time MBA class, which includes students as diverse as a salsa dancer, a Navy Lieutenant, a corporate lawyer, and a bionutritionist. They have worked for firms like Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, Dow Chemical, and Intel. One first-year has even swapped roles, going from being an assistant admissions director to a graduate student.
Matta explains how this class personifies the Fisher philosophy. “One thing is abundantly clear – they are diverse, they have varied life experiences, and they have an underlying common core of what it means to be Fisher. Yes, what it means to be Fisher, and not be at Fisher. Our incoming students are Fisher, and embody the Fisher MBA spirit of being ‘Collaboratively Competitive’. We’ve always been, and continue to be, an intentionally small and intimate program that nurtures a strong sense of leadership and achievement through collaboration, teamwork, respect and integrity. The excitement, as we welcomed this class of 115 terrific candidates for their two-week Pre-term Program, was palpable. We’re thrilled that we can contribute to shaping their Fisher experience, and in a small yet compelling manner, contribute to shaping the future of business.”
Last year, Fisher received 606 applications for roughly 110-120 spots in the full-time MBA program, with the acceptance rate coming out to 34%. As a whole, the 2017 Class averaged a 664 GMAT score, with scores ranging from 600 to 720. Students taking the GRE produced a 156 score in both verbal and quantitative. As undergraduates, the class managed a 3.5 GPA, equal to Columbia Business School and higher than 2017 MBA classes at the University of Michigan and the University of Texas. As undergraduates, 31% earned bachelor’s degrees in business and commerce, with engineering (27%), humanities (23%), and sciences (13%) majors also heavily represented in the class.
Demographically, women comprise 23% of the incoming Fisher class, with American minority students making up another 13%. International students account for 35% of the class and represent 14 countries, including Indonesia, Taiwan, Peru, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom. The average student is 27 years old and brings 4.3 years of work experience to the table.
EACH FIRST-YEAR STUDENT GETS AN EXECUTIVE MENTOR
Go anywhere in the world and you’re bound to bump into a Buckeye. Ohio State boasts over 500,000 alumni, including 70,000 Fisher alums. In fact, the school’s motto is “Go beyond.” And Fisher’s Global Applied Project (GAP) program epitomizes this spirit. This seven week first year course traditionally attracts over 60% of the class. In this spring course, students work in six member teams on a company project, including a three week, all-expenses-paid stint in the host country. For example, recent classes have partnered with firms like Philips Healthcare and Western Digital in China and DHL in Germany. And the course concludes with first years presenting their findings to senior company executives. Bottom line, Matta argues, GAP acts as a rehearsal for their summer internship that begins upon their return. In addition, students can further master the intricacies of international commerce by accompanying faculty on 8-10 day Global Business Expeditions.
Go to next page to access student profiles of this year’s incoming class.