Top 25 rankings continue to draw students, resonate with alumni

January 29, 2019

When Matt Pierson decided to go back to school for another graduate degree, this time in risk management and insurance, he researched multiple universities before choosing Florida State University’s online program.

“I selected Florida State because of the top-ranked RMI program and the impressive reputation of both faculty and the specialized graduate degree,” said the 2018 alumnus who now works as an employee benefits and risk management consultant for USI Insurance Services in the Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida, area.

Students and alumni alike often point to the College of Business’ national rankings as a factor in their choice – and ultimately an affirmation of their decision – to pursue a master’s business degree online at Florida State.

Once again, the college secured Top 25 status on U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of the nation’s best online master’s degree programs recently released for 2019. The online master’s degree in Management Information Systems (MS-MIS) and the online master’s degree in the Dr. William T. Hold/The National Alliance Program in Risk Management and Insurance (MS-RMI) now rank No. 12 overall and No. 8 among public schools. On a separate U.S. News list that ranks the best online Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs, the college placed No. 21, attaining the No. 16 spot among public schools and No. 13 among the best online MBA programs for military veterans.

“We continue to stand strong in a highly competitive field, a sound indication that we are establishing preeminence among our nation’s leading business schools,” said Michael Hartline, dean of the FSU College of Business.

Florida State students and graduates are the ones who end up benefitting from the high mark of quality signaled by U.S. News’ rankings.

“Our online programs continue to provide affordable and flexible opportunities for working professionals to move forward with their individual career goals, and our graduates say they achieve more thanks to Florida State’s robust business curriculum and individualized attention,” Hartline said.

Pierson credits FSU’s MS-RMI program for taking his industry knowledge and professional network to the next level, saying he graduated with new critical thinking skills.

“The comprehensive, in-depth education is extremely valuable to me now as a strategic business advisor for middle market employers,” Pierson said. “I also benefitted from building relationships with classmates during group projects and having access to advanced industry resources that shared unique analytical perspectives.”

Another graduate, Benjamin Paladino, credits the FSU MBA degree he earned online in 2018 for his recent promotion to vice president of finance at CIT, a national bank, in Jacksonville, Fla.

“The flexible schedule and relevant coursework have really made an impact on my career,” Paladino said. “I attribute a lot of success on recent projects to the foundations the Florida State MBA curriculum has provided. I was able to apply this knowledge immediately while going through the program the last two years.”

According to rankings methodology provided by U.S. News & World Report, all online graduate business programs are assessed in five specific categories with the most weight – 28 percent – given to student engagement, defined as a measurement of “student satisfaction and instructor responsiveness.” Other categories assess student excellence, 25 percent; expert opinion, 25 percent; faculty credentials and training, 11 percent; and student services and technologies, 11 percent.

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- Melanie Yeager