For students looking to get exemplary educations in the highly practical, immediately useful realms of finance, marketing, taxation, and more, the Bauer College of Business is a fantastic choice. For nearly a decade, it has dominated the top slots on our ranking list of the nation’s best entrepreneurial programs. It seems the students overwhelmingly agree with this assessment: “The University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business is all about innovation, entrepreneurship, a go-getter attitude, and moving the world forward,” said one enthusiastic supply-chain management student. “The College of Business is nationally recognized, has significant alumni, and career placement and opportunities seem endless,” offered a management information systems major. One marketing student declared, “I believe we have the #1 business school in the world”—clearly already putting those marketing chops to good use!
So what’s so buzzworthy about Bauer? For starters, its Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship helps students develop and implement business plans with tailored coursework, industry-specific roundtables, weekly Lunch and Learns with expert businesspeople, coaching for mock negotiations, and business plan competitions, to name a few. MBA and master’s students can also get firsthand experience with capital via the Cougar Investment Fund, where they team up to manage a $10 million equity mutual fund. Meanwhile, the award-winning Program for Excellence in Selling gives students the opportunity to make sales presentations, sell sponsorships, and attend the PES career fair—where they can mingle with scouts from more than 100 companies. There are also tons of leadership opportunities at Bauer. For instance, students can apply to the prestigious Ted Bauer Leadership Certificate Program—a year-long endeavor that grooms the next generation of bright young things in business—and the LeaderShape Institute, which seeks to create business leaders with a focus on ethical solutions.
A supportive and responsive faculty cap off the experience. Dr. Richard Scamell, the associate dean of Student Affairs, told us, “I like to think of Bauer faculty and staff as ‘builders’ who make an effort to encourage students, who believe in them, and who build them up.” And associate professor, Dr. Norm Johnson agreed when he described the relationship between faculty and students at Bauer: “It is characterized by a high level of support. This support often comes in the form of faculty members working with students as they prepare for local and regional competitions. Faculty members also act as mentors to students who are engaged in research.”
Talk with any student for five minutes, and they’ll proudly tell you of UH’s coveted Tier One public research school ranking—and share with you how research has tremendously shaped their educations. “The research opportunities afforded to me as an undergraduate have been incredible. I’ve published multiple papers as a first author and a textbook chapter—all of which have helped me to not only grow as a scientist but also get into my dream graduate school,” a physics/mathematics student said. A biology major added, “At UH, I not only prepared for medical school by taking challenging classes and labs, but [I] also had many opportunities to do research.” Sample opportunities in the recent past include working on an interface that allows the brain to control a prosthetic hand, exploring cell-phone sensors in early earthquake detection, and developing the next generation of high-efficiency rechargeable batteries.
These wonderful, career-launching experiences begin in the Office of Undergraduate Research. Identifying itself as a “clearing house for mentored research opportunities,” this program pairs students up with faculty members to collaborate on large-scale original scholarship. Students are usually entrusted with one component of the project, which means they really get their feet wet—and get some good resume or grad-school application cred, too! Of students who engaged in research at UH, a staggering 97 percent reported to the school that it upped their game when it came time to find jobs or pursue higher learning. Opportunities are great, but what about the funding many students need to be able to participate? UH has that covered, too, with the Provost’s Undergraduate Research Scholarship—which provides support for a semester-long study with a faculty mentor—and the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, a ten-week, full-time program that allows students to dig into a topic of their choosing with a faculty adviser.
The university is also set on providing multifaceted, integrated educational experiences for its students—crucial for today’s job market, in which skills and ideas collide to make successful careers. To this end, the school has created six “clusters” to promote the cross-pollination of ideas. There’s the Arts and Human Enrichment cluster, which explores different cultures and histories through visual art, music, dance, literature, and media. Students interested in hacking human health (for the better!) can study within the Bio-Med Sciences & Engineering cluster, while those who gravitate toward fostering cultural sensitivity and economic development through social work and education can select the Community Advancement & Education track. The Energy & Natural Resources cluster allows students to focus on environmental issues and alternative energy and the Nano-Materials students get to geek out on the material sciences (very hot right now!). Finally, the Complex Systems/Space Exploration cluster aims for the stars—quite literally—by working on artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, neuron scattering, and advanced materials for use in space. “There’s a wide range of majors and many interdisciplinary systems, and many ties to local business and industry,” a computer science major shared with us. “There is [actually] a space architecture program in the College of Architecture, building on the synergy with NASA.” Impressive!
Many noted scholars have made the University of Houston their home, including three-time Pulitzer Prize–winner Edward Albee, who penned the eye-opening play “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”; physicist Paul Chu, whose groundbreaking work in conductive materials garnered him a National Medal of Science; and Jody Williams, an activist awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts in clearing the world of landmines. Despite the school’s large size, the student to professor ratio is a healthy 22:1, with 56 percent of all classes containing fewer than thirty students. Plus, professors work hard to make students feel welcome. Dr. Scamell told us that how that over his forty-three years at the University of Houston he had worked with many faculty members across the University who conduct themselves both in and out of class in such a way that students with whom they work feel that they are important to them as persons and not solely faces in a crowd. And Dr. Bott added, “For [a] university of this size and research level, involvement [between] the faculty [and] the student body is much closer to what you’d expect for a small liberal arts school.” There’s also Profs with Pride—a 300-strong faculty group that helps students know what’s going on all over campus, be it lectures, concerts, plays, or athletic events.
As for student reviews of the faculty, the results are in—and they’re highly positive. “I have been very impressed with the quality of the professors and the material presented … in the courses,” said a computer science student. “The professors I have had have generally been excellent teachers, very understandable in class . . . and have very open door policies for helping students.” A vocal performance major echoed the sentiment: “It’s really quite remarkable to be involved with such a talented pool of teachers as well as students. The expectations—as well as the work on the part of the teachers—is really quite high.”