U of Montana

MISSOULA – The Montana University System Board of Regents has voted to rename the University of Montana School of Business Administration to the College of Business. The unanimous vote took place at the Board of Regents meeting on Friday, Nov. 17, and is effective immediately.

“The school’s faculty and staff have an amazing track record of preparing students for successful careers as leaders,” UM President Sheila Stearns said. “The title ‘College of Business’ reflects its importance and impact.”

With six majors, a minor and three graduate degrees, the College of Business is responsible for educating a large portion of UM students. Business students make up approximately 14 percent of the University’s undergraduate population.

“Becoming a college is more reflective of who we are and our footprint on campus,” said Chris Shook, UM’s Sprunk and Burnham Endowed Dean of Business. “It indicates that a unit conducts scholarly activity as well as prepares students to be leaders. That’s definitely us.”

In becoming the College of Business, the unit also drops “administration” from its title. The school held its first classes in 1918, when it trained clerical staff to “administer” business. Almost a century later, it has nearly 20,000 alumni who take management positions with global powerhouse companies such as Microsoft Corp., Nike Inc., KPMG, and Boeing Co. and launch careers as accountants, IT consultants, marketing professionals and entrepreneurs – work that bolsters local economies in Montana and beyond.

Shook said that the name change also could benefit recruitment efforts so that potential students don’t assume UM’s school of business is somehow inferior to business colleges all over the country, even though UM is a leader in business education.

Among the college’s accolades: It tied for best business school in the Big Sky Conference according to U.S. News & World Report the past two years, a ranking that puts UM 101 spots in front of the next business school in Montana.

The college is known for graduating students who enter the workforce not only with business skills but real-world acumen. Its extensive list of notable and accomplished alumni includes highly successful entrepreneurs and current and former executives at Fortune 500 companies and locally influential startups.

The college also has contributed to the development of a number of successful Montana businesses. The John Ruffatto Business Startup Challenge, which it started in 1989 and runs in partnership with Blackstone LaunchPad, has played a role in the initiation of a host of companies that are now operating on local and international levels.

“The College of Business is a place where students can go to get an education that lets them turn their passion into their job,” Shook said. “We provide real-world experiences and contacts that they can leverage after graduation. The strong majority of our students complete internships, our faculty are constantly bringing in business leaders to connect with students, and our Student Success Center is a one-stop shop for advising, all kinds of workshops and really any kind of support our students might need.”

The college offers undergraduate majors in accounting, finance, international business, management, management information systems, and marketing. Students also can earn certificates in any of six focal areas. A minor in business administration complements any major offered at UM.

At the graduate level, the college offers the only accredited master of accountancy in Montana and the only master of science in business analytics in the Pacific Northwest. Its master of business administration, which is the only degree of its kind in the state, lets students earn their diploma online without stepping foot on campus.

“I’m excited to have a name that’s more reflective of what we offer and the hard work that has made us who we are,” Shook said. “Plus, we’ll be celebrating our centennial next fall and starting our new century as a college feels right.”

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