The Business college has numbers but they don’t add up to elite rankings.

Each university puts itself on the map somehow. It may be the athletics program, fundraising or the most obvious – academics. BGSU puts itself on the map academically with the education college, but when it comes to how the business college ranks, there is room for improvement.

A BusinessWeek article published Oct. 23 ranked the top 30 U.S. MBA programs. Among the best are The University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

In addition, BusinessWeek ranked the best among undergraduate programs, but BGSU was not on that list either. Among the top 61 schools were The Ohio State University, Penn State University, Indiana University and Miami University.

“There are a lot of different organizations that rank business schools,” said Rodney Rogers, dean of the College of Business Administration. “You see some usual suspects that have very strong brands.”

But another report this year, by The Princeton Review, “Best 282 Business Schools,” rated BGSU’s MBA program in the top 10 for each of two specific categories; providing the best opportunities for minority students and having the most competitive students.

Regardless of numbers, ranking of any sort is significant when the total number of business programs are taken into account, Rogers said. He estimates over 1,000 such programs exist in the nation alone, not including online programs.

Accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business since 1954, BGSU’s business school is one of 171 worldwide to have this accreditation in both business and accounting.

Numerous factors contribute to rankings and include recruiter grading, teaching quality and how many students get post-graduation job offers.

“The rankings are a difficult game,” Rogers said. “It can be a very expensive proposition to play the rankings game unless you have some natural ability to gain national attention.”

Another factor playing into how business schools rank are students’ starting salaries upon graduation and salaries in locations such as New York City or Los Angeles are higher simply because of the cost of living.

“We tend to place students more regionally where salaries aren’t as high as on the west coast,” Rogers said.

Comparing colleges

When people hear about BGSU they most likely think of the education program. It now ranks 14th in the country out of 1,300 schools in the annual American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education report, according to Josué Cruz, dean of the College of Education and Human Development

“BGSU started as a teacher’s college and that’s where the roots are,” he said. “The teacher education program has remained very large and a significant part of the community. We produce the largest number of teachers for the state of Ohio.”

This amounts to approximately 750 to 800 new teachers each year coming from BGSU, he said.

Cruz attributes the College of Education and Human Development’s high ranking in part to, “the long term reputation that its had of being a real serious institution for teachers.”

But as trends in society change, so have students’ desires in what they want to study.

“When I came here in 1982, business was the biggest college,” said Gary Swegan, director of Undergraduate Admissions. Today the College of Business Administration has the third highest enrollment of freshman students at 476.

“Historically, business is something we are very well known for,” he added.

Improving the rankings

According to Rogers, the College of Business Administration is looking to expand on traditional recruiting efforts, which may influence rankings.

“At the minimum we’ve got to get a lot more creative in terms of recruiting these students,” he said, adding that new strategies include improving the college’s reputation in the learning communities and incorporating new technology into recruitment efforts.

Starting with the class of 2007, the College of Business Administration has set an ACT score requirement. And this might affect the college’s rankings in the future.

Students must now have a composite ACT score of 18 and a math score of 18 to be admitted into the program, according to Timothy Chambers, director undergraduate studies in the College of Business Administration.

“We looked at the students who didn’t succeed in our program and the ACT just popped up,” he said.

Other schools already have entrance requirements for their business schools.

“Business schools are becoming competitive by nature and that is one way to distinguish themselves,” Chambers said.

A minimum ACT composite score of 29 is required for admission to The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, according to their Web site. In addition, at the Ohio University College of Business, an ACT composite score of 24 is required for admission, according to their Web site.

Despite what the rankings say, students’ education remains the University’s priority.

“I would hate if we all get caught up in these rankings and forget that we’re here about educating students,” Rogers said. “We have to deliver a very high quality program and do our very best to send that message out to deans and recruiters.”

These ranking reports do help colleges keep tabs on their programs and ensure constant evaluation.

“It causes us to start thinking here at Bowling Green how we can improve the curriculum,” Rogers said. “It puts a little fire on our feet to be working constantly, improving.”

Three main goals are kept in mind to improve rankings – recruit students, keep great faculty and add to the curriculum, Rogers said.

“The ranking forces us to think about ‘How do we get better?'” he said. “Can we get better? Absolutely.”