by John Elliott, Vice President and Dean, Zicklin School of Business, Irwin and Arlene Ettinger Professor of Accountancy
As the dean of the Zicklin School it has been my pleasure to participate in the monthly meetings of the EOC Executive Council and to participate as the program has evolved and matured over time. While this is the one-year anniversary of the newsletter, that milestone is just a reminder of the growth and maturity of the effort.
Education is very much about people, about transformational experiences in the lives of our students and about creating futures that look different than they might have. As I see the relationships that grow out of EOC events I realize that they are truly significant and that our EOC members gain from these activities as much as our students. While they are not education in the classroom, academic credit sense of the term, they are clearly educational in terms of supporting lives well lived and careers to be well launched. Whether it is the ESP, Job$mart, Mentor for the Morning or one of the many information sessions, guest lecturers, or other engagements; the events invariably have a sense of excitement, of energy and accomplishment that reminds me of why we are all so committed to this fine institution.
Our undergraduate students need to complete specific courses with an excellent GPA to begin their studies as a junior in the Zicklin School pursuing the BBA degree. We hold numerous orientations for students at this stage to position them for success. The orientations cover all of the details of what is required of them for graduation. More importantly we encourage them to approach their final years at Baruch very consciously and to focus on what will distinguish them as they graduate. Our alumni and our corporate partners emphasize the soft skills such as oral and written communication, teamwork and leadership, and we emphasize these issues in the orientation. We underscore the importance of preparation for the career search, involvement with the STARR Career Development Center and using every opportunity to develop a resume that stands out from the crowd. Important as the grade point average might be, we stress the additional value of involvement, of demonstrated leadership and work experience that is connected to students’ desired career path.
It is interesting to note some characteristics of our students today. There are many of them; our fall 2011 enrollment exceeded 17,000 and almost 80% of them will graduate in business. As we talk with these students we realize that well over 50% are transfers. Most come from CUNY community colleges but many transfer from prominent four year institutions. Ten years ago, when we asked how many thought their BBA would be their last degree, the response was overwhelming. Perhaps 95% would say “I am done.” Today, the answer is totally different in that 95% will say that they will earn a graduate degree. In our last orientation, almost as many said they would seek a PhD as said they would stop after a BBA. This is partly a recognition of the changing times and the realization of the importance of education in a learning economy. But it is also a realization of the increasing ability of our students as evidenced by an average SAT in excess of 1200 today, up by almost 200 points in the last decade.
It is interesting to watch the changing preferences of students as the economy ebbs and flows. We created an academic department of real estate a few years ago and it began with great student interest. But the recession and housing crisis pushed enrollments down sharply. We are seeing interest return and multiple sections of the key courses are again full to overflowing. A decade ago, our students fled Computer Systems and Information Systems as the dot.com bubble burst. Our faculty have reinvented the curriculum and the economy has changed so that this is once again a growth area. There are jobs for technically able students. Today the biggest student enrollment pressures are in accounting where a recent change in New York State requirements is driving students toward graduate study to meet the 150 hour education requirement to become a CPA.
We are constantly innovating and creating new programs, as noted above with the creation of the Real Estate Department. This year we are seeing strong interest in our newly created BBA in International Business. Our revised and expanded entrepreneurship program is also attracting student interest. We spent almost three years in refining our core curriculum in the MBA program and we are now implementing that innovation. It increases student flexibility, enhances the global component and stresses linkage between our course offerings and the AACSB based learning objectives.
We have been blessed by strong support from our alumni and I am always pleased to tell our new students that 10% of the budget of the College is from philanthropy. I am pleased to introduce them to Bernard Baruch, Larry Zicklin, Bill Newman and Larry Field. These are giants who have transformed the College. But I also stress the depth of alumni support and encourage them to become familiar with the other distinguished alumni who support our efforts. Their names appear on the front of the buildings, in the names of special programs, in the names of specific rooms and spaces; each representing a deep appreciation of the education earned at Baruch College. Within the Zicklin School we now have three departments that are endowed. Recently the Wasserman Department of Economics and Finance and the Aaronson Department of Marketing and International Business joined the Ross Department of Accountancy with this distinction.
As I look forward I want to thank all of you for your engagement. I also want to emphasize that in the Zicklin School we are grateful for the whole EOC effort and the seamless way in which our Graduate Career Management Team interacts with and supports these efforts.
I hope that our EOC members will share their experiences with friends and colleagues. This is a special and distinctive program and one that distinguishes Baruch in many ways. And looking ahead, I hope that we will find EOC members exploring new ways to engage with the College. We often have interesting speakers at the School; in the Banks lecture, the Kossoff lecture or the Mason lecture series. We also have periodic Leadership Speaker Series presentations. You are all welcome as are your friends and mentees, so please join us now and again. Examples of speakers have included; Jack Welch, Dick Grasso, The creators of Zagat’s, the creator of Craig’s list and many more. Stay tuned.
Top Left: Dick Merians (’55), Dean John Elliott
Top Right: Dean John Elliott, Norm Brust (’55), Anna Vander Broek (MBA ’12)
Bottom Left: Charles Scherbaum and Kristin Sommer with Dean Elliot at the 2010 Faculty Recognition Event
Bottom Right: Garen Marshall (’11), Joel B. Zweibel (’55) with Dean Elliott at the Student Achievement 2011 Awards Ceremony