The hallmark of the Goizueta MBA experience is learning the business basics in a tight-knit, intimate community where every student, faculty member, and administrator knows each other by first name. As Will Felder, a Class of 2013 JD/MBA student puts it, “If you don’t want to form close personal relationships with your classmates and professors, then this isn’t the place for you.”
The school has both a one-year and a two-year full-time MBA program, enrolling a class of just under 160 two-year students and fewer than 60 one-year students annually. A revamp of the MBA curriculum has led to rather dramatic changes at the school that have met with rave reviews from corporate recruiters. Goizueta’s two-year MBA kicks off in late July with a pre-term of foundations courses and an orientation. In the second semester, students are able to select four electives, not including a required experiential course.
The benefit of this approach is that students enter their summer internships well prepared to impress. Instead of having one elective in finance, for example, they could take four and walk into an investment banking or private equity firm and do the type of work that would be expected of an MBA graduate, not a student intern.
The changes helped to increase the conversion rate–the percentage of students who return with jobs in their pockets from their summer internships–to nearly 60% from 25% five years ago. That is an exceptionally high rate of success that can only be attributed to the curriculum overhaul that has led to significantly better placement and salary outcomes. In fact, for the past two years, no top-ranked U.S. school has had better job placement rates than Goizueta. For both years, more than 96% of the graduating two-year MBAs had job offers three months after graduation.
Goizueta’s general management curriculum offers core business principles but also the freedom to customize the experience. While the majority of students attend Goizueta to pursue careers in finance, marketing, or consulting, the school offers more than 20 different concentrations within five academic areas. After satisfying core requirements, students can select from dozens of Goizueta electives or approved electives from other schools within Emory or other partner institutions.
The school also boasts three research centers in areas that are expected to generate increasing numbers of jobs in the economy: alternative investments, marketing analytics, and social enterprise. Each center grants fellowships to incoming students during the application process.
For the past five years in a row, 100% of the two-year MBA students at the school have had a summer internship. That is one of the other reasons why Goizueta has the best job placement performance of any top U.S. business school in the past two years. But that’s not all: Goizueta has shown the largest growth in reported salary and bonus among U.S. News’ top 25 schools over the last four years and the only double-digit growth during that time: 18.6%. Average salaries rose to $104,334 in 2013, up from $103,463 a year earlier and from $91,074 in recession-plagued 2009, while average bonuses jumped to $25,593 from $17,710 back in 2009.
If you want a sure bet for a good job, there are only a few other places that can pretty much guarantee it. For the Class of 2013, 86% had at least one job offer at graduation and 96% had offers three months later. Those are dazzling numbers.
Emory’s Goizueta School slipped just one spot to a rank of 21 in the latest PoetsandQuants ranking of the top MBA programs. It also slipped slightly in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 survey, which placed Goizueta in the No. 20 spot, down from 18th a year earlier. The Economist was more generous, giving the school a U.S. rank of 13th, up five places from 19th in 2011.
The Financial Times also gave the school a boost, naming Goizueta 22nd among the best U.S. schools, a rise of one spot from 23rd last year. Globally, Goizueta placed 41st, marking an eight-place jump from 49th last year.
The school slipped two places in the 2013 Forbes ranking, which measures return on investment, moving to 24th from 22nd in 2011.
Emory maintained its 22nd place finish in the 2012 ranking from Bloomberg Businessweek, which largely measures schools on graduate and corporate recruiter satisfaction. Though the school didn’t move forward in the BW poll last year, it did much better in the corporate recruiter portion of the BW survey, ranking 23rd this year, from 31st in 2010. But that increase was somewhat offset by slightly weaker graduate satisfaction scores where the school ranked 29th, down seven places from 22nd in 2010.
All told, this is a very strong showing for Goizueta. As one Class of 2012 graduate told BusinessWeek: “The wealth of academic experiences provided by Emory’s Goizueta Business School truly makes the MBA program unique. The school offers over 90 electives, the bulk of which are experiential in nature. This unique learning method consists of hands-on consulting projects in almost every class that require deep interactions with the industry and is complemented by a number of guest speakers who are the top leadership within leading firms in the field. This helps students gain an outstanding perspective of how business really works by experiencing it in real life and brings academics to life. In addition, the diversity of the student body along with the breadth and depth of the number of events held on campus (career, academic, social and professional) provide strong intellectual development.”
Watch Poets&Quants’ John A. Byrne Interview Dean Erika James of Goizueta Business School at Emory University. Watch the full interview.