With a strong campus community and a 99 percent job placement rate, Bentley University gets down to business.
“You’re not alone in your learning at Bentley,” says Bentley University alum Tyler Dolan, CFP®. “It’s really focused on team projects and collaboration. When you get into the real world, it’s very rare that you’re going to have a career where it’s just all about you. That collaboration—and the group project-specific core business courses that Bentley required you to take—really helped me.”
Located nine miles west of Boston in Waltham, Massachusetts, Bentley University is a business school grooming students for careers primarily in accounting, finance, marketing, and management. With a curriculum focused on real-world relevancy, a Career Services department that starts early in developing strong outcomes, and a 99 percent job placement rate, Bentley University joins the ranks of Edmit Hidden Gem colleges.
Studying at Bentley
Dolan spent five years at Bentley, getting his bachelor’s degree in finance in 2010 and his master’s in 2011. While he had been considering other business schools in and near Boston, visiting Bentley’s Hughley Center for Financial Services sealed the deal.
“I went on a tour, and what really sold me was Bentley’s trading room,” says Dolan. “It had the ticker tapes going all across the wall, all these Bloomberg terminals right inside, this really high-tech building. So it seemed like that was the place where I was really going to learn finance.”
Bentley has 4,200 undergraduate students, and student-to-teacher ratios average 14:1. Dolan appreciated the small campus feel.
“It’s a place where when you’re in the hallway or walking around campus, you’re going to recognize people,” he says. “There’s definitely going to be people that you have in all of your classes and in your program.”
Dolan also cited professors’ real-world experience as one of the most valuable aspects of his studies at Bentley. “A lot of the professors were in the finance industry, or were in the industry they were speaking to,” he says. “So not only could they explain the theories and the examples--how to calculate things, whether it was stock valuations or how to determine if a bond is a good price--they were able to bring personal experiences, experiences with their clients, and how the real world actually comes into financial planning or corporate or personal finance. Not only did you understand that the professor knew what they were talking about from an academic background, they were also bringing in professional stories, which always resonated with me.”
Bentley’s average net price for the 2016-17 academic year was $32,713, and more than 70 percent of undergraduate students receive financial aid. Financial aid is available in both merit-based and need-based grants and scholarships, federal student loans, and work-study programs. To maintain eligibility for financial aid, students must maintain a 2.0 GPA and complete courses on time (e.g., passing at least 67 percent of courses a student is enrolled in).
“Bentley’s financial aid counselors did a good job of saying ‘OK, if you have this amount of student loans when you graduate, here’s what your payment might look like,’” says Dolan. “It’s not a perfect estimation, but it gives you an idea of ‘if I go down this road, do I think that I’ll be able to get a job and afford this monthly payment?’ The financial aid counselors take it a step further and say ‘here’s what you can expect once you graduate.’”
Bentley Career Prep
Bentley’s Career Services get going early: Their HIRE Education programming builds specific career action items into each year of college, with students starting with career exploratory activities during freshman year and refining their focus through experimentation, job training, and hiring skills practice in subsequent years. Bentley’s career initiatives, combined with the university’s outcomes-driven curriculum, lead to impressive results: 99 percent of 2016 graduates were either employed (with a median starting salary of $55,000) or enrolled in graduate school shortly after getting their degree.
“With every job that I’ve had, there’s been a Bentley connection,” Dolan says, citing the Bentley network as a key factor in obtaining his in-school internship and two full-time jobs out of college. With his first full-time job, another Bentley alum from the Masters of Science in Financial Planning program was part of his interviewing team.
“From the company’s perspective, they could say, ‘OK, this gentleman who had that experience is doing well for the company, and here’s another coming from that same program, we’re going to go ahead and assume they have similar knowledge areas,” Dolan says. “So it lent itself to a natural conversation and when you have that common ground immediately, everything else is just gravy.”
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Photo by marktsy on Flickr.