Why TCU: The Power of Small


TCU’s full-time MBA program at the Neeley School of Business is ranked among the best business schools in the country. According to The Princeton Review’s Best Business Schools (2013 edition) survey, the Neeley School of Business brings in top faculty, provides students with professional experience and offers a rigorous academic workload. But the benefits of TCU’s program don’t stop there.

The Neeley School of Business affords big-city opportunities in an intimate setting. TCU’s classes are global in scope, but small by design. Students have a voice in every classroom discussion.

The smaller size of TCU’s MBA program benefits students in three primary ways:

1. Small changes the classroom experience.

With its small classes and personalized teaching style, TCU’s MBA program isn’t for those looking to coast through. “The small classes increase your performance. You can’t just blend in. You have to bring your 'A' game every day,” says Tyler Lewis, TCU MBA class of 2011 and Senior Financial Analyst at Pier 1 Imports.

The small class sizes (core classes of 30 and elective classes averaging 20) allow professors to know their students’ work experience and career goals on a personal level. Knowledge of these details allows instructors in the Neeley School of Business to leverage their industry contacts to help students realize their goals beyond the classroom.

“At large universities, it’s difficult for faculty and students to be able to get to know each other. Classroom interactions are much more dynamic in a smaller school. Students participate in class discussions and case discussions on a daily basis here,” says Robert Leone, J. Vaughn and Evelyne H. Wilson Chair and Professor of Marketing. “At a larger school, I’d log in a class participation point for a student maybe twice a semester. And there, even to take a class you have a lottery system. You might not get the faculty member you want. Here I know every marketing student in the MBA program by name, background and job aspiration. At Ohio State or Texas, that’s just not possible.” 

2. Small changes relationships with faculty.

Students in the Neeley School of Business get more face time with professors than they would get at a larger school. It’s a hallmark of the TCU MBA experience. “Our offices are close to the classrooms, so we don’t just see our students for five minutes before or after class,” says Professor Leone. “We have an open-door policy. Students stop by all the time to talk about whatever is on their minds and to get informal advice—about course selection, job search, you name it.”   

Like all faculty in the Neeley School of Business, Leone draws on his contacts and experience to assist students with job opportunities. “Recently, an MBA student e-mailed me that he had applied online for several market analyst jobs at UPS. He had uploaded his resume into cyberspace and felt he wouldn’t ever hear anything back. I e-mailed the senior marketing executive about half an hour later, and a half hour after that someone called the student to set up a phone interview.”

Stories like this are only possible at a school like the Neeley School of Business, where students are comfortable talking to faculty, and faculty make it a point to know each student’s goals.

3. Small gives students more access to meaningful experiences.

Students in the Neeley School of Business have access to a myriad of innovative programs and resume-building experiences throughout their two years at TCU. This isn’t always the case for students in larger programs. Being small means more exposure and greater access.

Major resources—from scholarships to career consulting—are readily available to TCU MBA students. How does that translate into ROI?

“If you take those resources and divide them by the smaller number of students, everybody here gets a bigger piece of the pie,” says Lewis. “That’s just math. But when you think about programs like Neeley and Associates Consulting project or the Educational Investment Fund, the chances to be involved are broadly available. You don’t have to survive some cutthroat round of competition before you can be part of these deep experiences.” 

TCU MBA students get personalized career development, too. The moment an MBA student first steps on campus, his or her career preparation is in full swing. Personalized career coaching helps students refine career goals, appraise the marketability of their skills, develop a target company list and plot the path to success.

“I liked that my career advisor knew my name and face and didn’t have to flip through some notebook to figure out who I was,” says Melissa Leach, TCU MBA class of 2011 and Manager of Catering Contracts at American Airlines. “The feeling you get when you meet other students and professors lets you know this is a special place. When you visit campus, you’ll see how TCU is different from other business schools.”

At TCU, small is a competitive advantage, and it is powerful.
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