Business school ranks among best in U.S.

Many of the bricks are discolored and look dusty. The signs to bathrooms and classrooms are worn from years of existence. The hallways are dimly lit. The School of Business Administration building, like many at Portland State, appears to be a cabin compared to the Taj Mahal-esque $41 million Lillis Business Complex at the University of Oregon.


On the second-floor hallway near the Graduate School of Business office, the dim building lights shine brightly against the yellow wall, emulating something similar to a golden hallway just near the office’s door. Since the Princeton Review listed Portland State’s Graduate School of Business among the “Best 237 Business Schools” of 2006, the golden hallway is shining that much brighter.


“This is the second year in a row that the program has been named in the book,” said Scott Dawson, dean of the School of Business Administration. Dawson said the biggest reasons behind the graduate school’s ranking were the amount of students who gave input to Princeton Review’s survey web site,


Michael Palumbo, a Princeton Review student survey manager, said that student responses to a university’s MBA program are one primary way that the company measures a school’s effectiveness. The book also rates the academic experience, admissions selectivity and a career rating for each of the schools.


“The diversity of the program and the Portland job market are what coaxed me into getting into it,” said Tony Reed, a graduate student in the master of business administration program at PSU.


Portland State ranked a close second of the universities in Oregon behind University of Oregon in the three main categories, which Princeton Review measured on a scale from 60 to 99. PSU was listed with an academic experience rating of 82, compared to 88 at U of O, an admissions selectivity rating of 89, compared to 91 at U of O, and a career rating of 77, to 80 at U of O.


“They have a strong faculty, and so do we,” Dawson said. “They’re more homogenous and research oriented. We also have strong research, but a lot of full-time teachers with experience in the business world.”


A total of 414 schools with accredited master of business administration programs were rated according to the Princeton Review, with the 237 best getting a full two page-profile of its program, while the remaining schools are included with a brief profile.

Five total Oregon graduate business programs were listed: PSU, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, the University of Portland and Willamette University. Only PSU, University of Oregon and Willamette were listed in the best 237, whereas the other two made it into the secondary section.


Another ranking that the Graduate School of Business received just two days ago excited Dawson even more than this. Beyond Grey Pinstripes, an organization that holds a biennial survey and ranking of business schools, ranked PSU 20th in the world, on its top 30 list of nearly 100 universities worldwide.


“We ranked ahead of Yale,” Dawson said. “We’re pretty excited about that.”


The dean hopes this will bring more recognition to a program that he said has taken a while to build up. He added that institutions the program might look to for money will probably be more likely to donate after this kind of recognition. These kinds of donations might be used to improve the old and worn facilities of the School of Business Administration building.


Beyond the master of business administration program, PSU itself was listed in Princeton Review’s “122 Best Western Colleges.” According to Palumbo, this ranking is an offshoot of “The Best 361 Colleges,” allowing students who are interested in colleges in a certain area to see other colleges in the same area as those ranked in the best 361.


“What we’re looking to do is to get an even distribution of schools among each of the nation’s regions,” said Palumbo. The western region includes West Coast states and reaches as far east as Texas.