Business: The rise of the business alumni

The College of Business' trajectory has been straight up during the Rose presidency, manifesting most visibly in six straight years rated by BusinessWeek in the nation's top 5 percent of public undergraduate business schools.

JMU student presents in Business Plan Competition

At the center of the junior-year CoB300 course is the building of the business plan by a collaborative student team learning the fundamentals of finance, management, marketing and operations. The top five plans each year make it to the alumni-funded Business Plan Competition with prizes up to $30,000.

Shadowing that sustained faculty triumph has been the rise of another phenomenon, that of the involved business alum. Former College of Business Dean Robert Reid recognized early that business alumni know the value and impact of investment and made it a priority to channel that entrepreneurial energy into the college, charging the Executive Advisory Council with leading the way.

It's working. From mentoring students and offering them internships, to making connections and private gifts, today's business alumni are offering JMU students advantages from their own success. Today approximately 10 percent of the college's annual budget comes from private sources, up from 2 to 3 percent 10 years ago. While not all of that comes from alumni, today's students reap the benefits from alumni-backed academic efforts like the Business Plan Competition, the Gaglioti Capital Markets Lab, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence program, the Gilliam Center for Ethical Business Leadership, the Masterson Essay Contest, scholarships, faculty endowments and fellowships. Business alumni continue their ascent, resulting in real-world benefits for CoB students.

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