School of Business Administration Programs Soar in Latest U.S. News Grad-School Rankings

A professor stands at the whiteboard in a graduate-level business course as students listen
Gonzaga's MBA program has both in-person and online options. Photo by Zack Berlat

April 29, 2024
Gonzaga University News Service

Gonzaga University’s MBA program in its School of Business Administration jumped up 10 spots in this year’s U.S. News and World Report Graduate School Rankings, landing at No. 53 in the 2024 list.

In addition to the MBA program, which is offered both in-person and online, several other graduate programs in the business school made impressive showings in this year’s rankings, including Accounting (No. 41), Entrepreneurship (No. 11), Finance (No. 21), Management (No. 21) and Project Management (No. 4).

Ken Anderson, dean of Gonzaga’s School of Business Administration, says the new rankings “speak to the high quality of our graduate business programs and to the regard in which they’re held. We have an outstanding brand.”

With the MBA ranking in particular, Anderson credits his colleagues in the school – administrators, faculty and staff – as well as the students who join Gonzaga to pursue their graduate studies for continuously raising the bar of what graduate studies in the business school can be.

Gonzaga MBA Programs Director and Associate Professor of Management Rebecca Bull Schaefer says it’s “delightful” to see a program of Gonzaga’s size move up in the rankings. She attributes that success to “our students and our community.”

“We have a strong pool of students who want to come to Gonzaga because they want to build networks and to build family and community, and they want to engage,” says Bull Schaefer.

“That's something that makes us really unique compared to other MBA programs that might, say, partner with large, publicly traded institutions. We have a lot of relationships with smaller mid-size or national organizations that have headquarters here in Spokane. And with nonprofits as well. [Students] are looking to us because of our holistic way of teaching. They love our emphasis on ethics and social justice. We’re attracting a special group of professionals.”

Contemplating the strength of the business graduate programs, Anderson says it comes from a combination of three things: “a high-quality business education, grounded in Jesuit values, and strengthened by our focus on the individual student.”

Given the dynamic nature of higher education in 2024, the School of Business Administration is always working to meet the needs of students who find themselves competing in a volatile, fast-moving employment environment. New programs have come online recently that are just starting to get notice.

“Our two newest programs, the Virtual MBA and Master’s of Science in Business Analytics, are still being learned about,” Anderson notes. “Both are great programs in the Gonzaga graduate business tradition.”

Bull Schaefer emphasizes the flexibility within the graduate programs — some of which evolved out of necessary changes during the early days of the pandemic, and some which have been adopted to embrace the needs of modern students and businesses — as attractive aspects of a GU business graduate education. While core MBA classes are offered every semester, the electives change regularly and reflect changes in the workforce.

“Our electives are mostly taught by professionals in the local community, experts in the field,” Bull Schaefer says. “We have cybersecurity for nontechnical managers. We have some social media applications for realtors. We’re offering an employment law class for managers to understand the employee lifecycle. The electives change with what the students need and what’s going on in the economy.”

Among other program features proving appealing to students are a partnership with the Gonzaga Career Center in a “professional development championship program” that complements academic classroom work with lessons on social media, interview preparation and information tours of local businesses. “That way, people feel a lot more comfortable on the job market, and know how to use online tools to find their next opportunity,” Bull Schaefer says.

There’s also a two-week trip to Italy each summer for both working professionals and more junior graduate students that’s evolving into a fall course in partnership with Gonzaga’s campus in Florence. “That’s definitely a partnership we’re building, it’s good to build cross-cultural competencies and be able to see the world,” Bull Schaefer says.

Explore the graduate programs in the School of Business Administration