January 23, 2018 Poets&Quants: 10 business schools to watch in 2018

Brand photo - Campus

Each year, Poets&Quants examines the MBA landscape to identify the 10 business schools that are poised to break out of their lanes. They are the programs whose courageous visions and underlying fundamentals have positioned them to increase the value of their degrees and the quality of their experience as a whole.

Fisher College of Business was among the schools highlighted by P&Q as one that is ready to climb in the rankings and generate greater student interest in the coming year. From Poets&Quants:

Ohio State (Fisher)

How is this for a juxtaposition? Ohio State is one of America’s largest public universities with nearly 60,000 students on its sprawling Columbus campus. And the Fisher College of Business is one of the smallest MBA programs with just 91 students in its incoming class.

By the numbers, the 2016-2017 cycle wasn’t particularly kind to Fisher. Applications and average GMATs slipped a little. In addition, the school remained pretty stagnant in the rankings. So why keep an eye out for what happens there?

Two words: curriculum revamp

That’s right, Fisher is undertaking the most daunting, political, and thankless of academic blood sports. Based on the early sketches, this program would fuse its trademark close-knit ethos with an intense coaching and mentoring culture that runs across the full two years. In the core, students would take courses from Monday-Thursday focused on baseline skills, with Fridays set aside for team-taught sessions that prep students for a semester-long experiential project during the spring. The curriculum would also integrate a robust set of immersions with corporate partners.

Coupled with the program’s strengths — a top five career center and an expansive experiential learning portfolio — and you have the makings of a special curriculum that gives Fisher an identity that truly differentiates it from all comers. “The dean said to blow it up, design a new MBA from scratch, and that is what we have been doing,” explains Walter Zinn, associate dean of graduate programs.

What can make this work? For one, the school can draw from plenty of expertise from the sheer size and research prowess of the larger university. Even more, Fisher is within a four hour driven of nearly 70 Fortune 1000 companies in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Indianapolis. In other words, Fisher comes to the table with a wealth of resources. Come fall, we’ll see if the faculty can mold them into something truly unique.

See Poets&Quants’ complete list of 10 Business Schools to Watch