Diamonds in the Rough: Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business

MBA applicants can get carried away with rankings. In this series, we profile amazing programs at business schools that are typically ranked outside the top 15.

Despite the size of its parent institution, the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University boasts a relatively intimate classroom experience—with approximately 150 students in each incoming full-time MBA cohort—and a close-knit community. Fisher students consequently benefit from the school’s wider university network (more than 500,000 alumni in more than 150 countries) and its proximity to major companies based both in Columbus and throughout the Midwest. Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Fisher 27th in its list of top MBA programs in 2012, up from 32nd place in 2011.

The Fisher curriculum consists of a core sequence spanning the first year of the program and offers three distinct categories of business education: Academic Preparation & Fundamentals; Ethics, Leadership & Professional Development; and Career Management Introduction. With eight disciplines in which students can major (including a “Make Your Own Major” option), Fisher also features four career tracks aimed at developing cross-disciplinary expertise. In addition to being able to create their own custom track, students can choose between Enterprise Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and New Business Ventures, Health Care Management and Real Estate Management. Starting in the final term of their first year, students are able to take Flex Core and elective courses that count toward their major.

A particularly noteworthy highlight of Fisher’s MBA curriculum is its experiential Leadership & Professional Development (LPD) program, which spans the full two years. The first program of its kind to be offered at a business school, LPD begins with a compulsory two-week pre-term immersion course, in which students attend workshops, bond with teammates, perform mock interviews and formulate their professional development goals. During the course of the academic year, the LPD program organizes various workshops and assessments—in addition to connecting students with corporate mentors who offer career guidance and networking opportunities. Also among the LPD offerings is a speaker series that in recent years has welcomed such business leaders as the president/CEO of Victoria’s Secret, the president/CEO of the Timken Company and the founder/CEO of Quantum Health.

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