The University’s Ross School of Business is consistently ranked as one of the top ten business schools in the country, but on campus it has a reputation as an exclusive community. While the Business School’s private gym might earn some jealous eyerolls, the school’s unique grading structure is a real cause for concern. According to Lynn Wooten, the Business School’s associate dean of undergraduate programs, the School has been assigning a grade point of 4.4 to Bachelor’s of Business Administration undergraduate students who earn an A+ in any class since the 1950s. This grading policy, which will be reviewed next year, is different than the grading policies of other undergraduate programs at the University. In all other schools, a 4.0 is given for an A+. This policy creates inequities in the grade distributions of non-business classes taken by Ross students. The Business School should make its grading policy consistent with other undergraduate schools and programs within the University.
In an LSA class, a Business student can earn a 4.4 grade point, while at the same time, an LSA student who worked equally as hard can earn a maximum of 4.0. The Business School’s current grading policy incentivizes taking classes perceived to be easier to boost GPAs, rather than selecting classes based on interest. This may inflate the grades of students who choose classes based on their expectations of receiving a high grade.
The Business School’s grade-inflating policies are by and large unique to the University. In top business programs like those at Notre Dame University, University of Virginia and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, any grade within the A range grade earns a 4.0 with no disparity between other colleges. The Business School’s grading difference might give students a slight edge in employment opportunities, but also highlights a discrepancy among how the University prepares its Business undergraduates for post-graduation life. Grades are important, but inflating the grades in only one program suggests that the Business School is more focused on making its graduates appear attractive on paper than by merit. The fact that other top business schools refrain from such inflation suggests the Business School should change its policies.
The Business School also has a number of unique policies outside of grading that contribute to the Bachelor in Business Administration program’s high rankings in publications like U.S. News. For example, Business juniors and seniors have an extra week added to their winter break in order to seek out internships and job offers. In addition, Ross avoids scheduling Friday classes so that their students can compete in case competitions, attend special events at the Business School and work on group projects. It’s not that Business students don’t deserve these perks, but if they’re offered to them, they should be offered to undergraduates across the University.
This year, the University unveiled plans to allow LSA undergraduates to receive a Business minor. Slated to start in the fall of 2013, LSA students will take classes to learn business skills alongside their other studies. As the University moves toward integrating Ross into the rest of the campus community, it’s essential that the administration change the inequities that exist between colleges.