PROVO — Brigham Young University's business school jumped 12 spots to 26th in The Wall Street Journal's annual international rankings published Wednesday.

The national financial newspaper also ranked BYU's Marriott School of Management second — Yale ranked first — in the new "Emphasis on Ethics" category. That ranking is based on a Wall Street Journal/Harris Interactive poll of 2,191 MBA recruiters who named which schools they considered "best for hiring graduates with high ethical standards."

Despite those high marks — 26th is the highest the Marriott School has ever been rated in an international ranking, assistant dean Joseph Ogden said — BYU also tied for third with Vanderbilt University in the "Hidden Gems" category, a ranking of 10 schools that "don't receive the respect and attention they deserve." The No.1 and 2 Hidden Gems were Babson College and Emory University, respectively.

"We're gratified by the spotlight this recognition shines on our students and the values of our sponsoring institution," said Ned C. Hill, Marriott School dean. "And while it's a great honor to be ranked next to other top academic programs, we're most excited about our showing in the new ethics category."

More than 465 accredited business schools were considered. The final sample of schools eligible for ranking included 183 U.S. schools and 73 other schools from around the world.

BYU, Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management (ranked 34th) and the University of Denver (ranked 44th) were the only schools from the Intermountain West that made the newspaper's Top 50 list.

The rankings were published in a 12-page special section that included an article on corporate scandals and the renewed efforts of "business schools to teach students to be virtuous." "Some recruiters say they are drawn to religious schools like Notre Dame and Brigham Young University," the article says.

"Recruiters find that Brigham Young produces an especially valuable type of graduate these days: the ethical accountant," the Journal reports in its profile of BYU in the Hidden Gems rankings. "Brigham Young, which is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is considered one of the best schools for hiring students with high ethical standards."

BYU's accounting program is its strongest field, according to recruiters surveyed. BYU students also received "very high marks for analytical and problem-solving abilities, communication and interpersonal skills, fit with the corporate culture and team orientation."

Recruiters complained about the Marriott School's lack of diversity — only 15 percent of the 3,000 students are women and only 5 percent are minorities. The Journal pointed out that BYU has developed an "extended reach" program in an attempt to attract more female and minority students and faculty members.

BYU's other low scores were for amount of work experience graduates have, faculty expertise and students' original and visionary thinking. The school is working on those areas as well.

"Two categories where we compared less favorably — work experience and diversity — are areas where we've already begun focusing attention," said Maurice Stocks, assistant dean of corporate development and career management. "Post-bachelors full-time work experience for this fall's entering MBA class was 3.2 years — excluding mission experience. And the school launched a major diversity initiative last year to recruit more underrepresented students, enhance the school's internal climate and hire minority faculty members."

The rankings were welcome news to students, said Jessica Johnson, president of the MBA student association.

"We work hard and know we're quality students, but it's encouraging when recruiters validate that thinking with a high ranking," Johnson said. "It's exciting to see BYU's reputation growing. Good rankings not only help current students as they search for jobs but also increase the value of a BYU degree for those out shaping their careers."

In January, BYU also moved up 12 spots, to 51st, in The Financial Times of London's rankings of the world's top 100 business programs.


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