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Michael Tobitsch took his first finance class junior year at BU and never looked back. He landed a job after graduation in investment banking at Wachovia Securities, now merged with Wells Fargo, where he honed his skills before securing a position on the mergers and acquisitions team of insurance broker Marsh & McLennan Companies in New York City.
A rising star in his field, Tobitsch (SMG’07) says BU gave him a strong foundation in finance, so he was hardly surprised to hear that 2013 seniors of the School of Management surveyed by Bloomberg Businessweek recently ranked the school’s finance program the seventh best nationwide, beating out competitors like New York University and Boston College.
Tobitsch credits Kenneth Freeman, Allen Questrom Professor and Dean of SMG, with changing the curriculum so students can select finance courses as early as freshman year (an option unavailable to him) and predicts other top-notch rankings will follow. “I really think it’s an indication of what’s to come.”
In compiling its results, Bloomberg Businessweek surveyed 2013 seniors about the courses they took and their overall satisfaction with their individual programs. The student satisfaction score rose to 18th overall, an increase from last year’s rank of 26th. The publication also ranked SMG’s overall undergraduate program 23rd nationwide. Freeman expects more favorable survey results assessing other departments in the coming weeks.
“Being able to rise to the top 10 for finance is a validation of the really strong commitment of our faculty to our students,” says Freeman. “It’s heartening to see that our efforts are being recognized by our students to really differentiate the schools of management.”
Marcel Rindisbacher, an SMG associate professor and chair of finance, thinks the survey reflects the school’s decision to redefine the undergraduate curriculum and “shows the kind of efforts we put in to address students’ needs are paying off.”
“Employers know the quality of our curriculum as well as the quality of our students,” says James French, an SMG lecturer in organizational behavior and acting assistant dean. “Nearly one third of the 2012 graduating class took a position in financial services with a starting salary of over $54,000.”
According to SMG’s Feld Career Center, 92 percent of Class of 2012 graduates concentrating in finance landed a job within six months of graduation, many with Fortune 500 companies, among them Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Fidelity, and J.P. Morgan. Across all SMG departments, 93 percent of Class of 2012 graduates are employed in their respective fields.
Tobitsch wants that trend to continue. That’s why he’s planning his fourth Your Future in Finance conference at BU in September, where young alumni professionals join professors to mentor students for the career of their dreams.
“This ranking was really fully driven by the SMG student experience,” he says, and “demonstrates that the University and alumni care about them.”