Business school to gain core Livingston facility


Following a large donation from an anonymous donor, the Rutgers Business School is set to undergo an expansion, with new facilities being constructed on Livingston campus.

The expansion started materializing after administrators realized there had not been enough emphasis on business, said Glen Shafer, dean of the Rutgers Business School.

“We felt there was a great student need for it,” Shafer said. “I think everyone in the administration felt that we were not meeting the student demand in the area, and they thought it was the right thing for Rutgers to do.”

Antonio Calcado, vice president of facilities and capital planning at the University, said it was a crucial decision for the future of the University to invest in the business school.

“Let’s face it — the backbone of America is business, and we should be training students in business in the state of New Jersey,” Calcado said. “That’s something we should aspire to do and I think we do it well, so it’s gratifying to see an expansion of the program.”

In an action of gratitude, an anonymous $13 million donation from a University alumnus was received, and of that gift, $3 million was allocated to honor Paul G. Falkowski, a University professor, with an endowed chair, Shafer said. The remaining $10 million will offset the $85 million it will cost to construct the expansion, Calcado said.

“[The donor] felt that his education at Rutgers was very important for his business success, and he wanted to give back,” Shafer said.

Bonds will fund the rest of the expansion’s cost, Calcado said.

Classrooms, office space and business labs will all be included in the facility, which Calcado said will also feature smart boards and laptop-based webinars.

“We want to make sure that it’s cutting edge in technology, so we will continue to evolve as we build, because technology continues to evolve,” he said.

Calcado said the expansion is a necessary reaction to a growing pool of incoming students.

“The business school is expanding because of new programs and because of the demand of the curriculum for the business school,” Calcado said. “We’ve got lots of students who need to be business students but unfortunately we didn’t have a place to put them in.”

The school began accepting undergraduates in 2008 to attract more applicants, Shafer said.

“Before [2008], the students were all in the School of Arts and Sciences and other schools,” Shafer said. “They’d start there, major in business, and they’d come to the business school as juniors. Instead of just judging their GPA at Rutgers, we’re now looking at their credentials as high school students.”

The effects of this decision can be seen in enrollment numbers, he said. The number of first-year students enrolled in the undergraduate program rose from 486 in 2011 to 639 this year. The school also saw a sharp increase in international students, rising from 17 last fall to 107 this semester, Shafer said.

Diversity has also been on the rise, with 66 percent non-white students enrolled this semester — an increase from last year’s 50 percent, said Paul Johnson, assistant vice president of Enrollment Management.

But even with the increase in enrollment, the University is still far behind its Association of American Universities peers in international enrollment, lagging at the 14 percent margin, said Courtney McAnuff, vice president of Enrollment Management.  

The University began increasing its international recruitment since 2010, after the state lifted a heavy fine.

“It was part of a movement to improve diversity in the classroom,” he said. “We want it to be extremely diverse, with representatives from many nations and different parts of the United States.”

Shafer believes the increase attributed to the expansion can only help the business school improve its prestige.

In fact, academic quality of applicants has also been on the rise. The incoming class averaged 12 points higher in SAT scores than last year, with students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their class increasing from 32 percent in 2011 to 40 percent this year, McAnuff said.

Shafer said the school is also looking to connect students with the business community through internships and mentoring.

“We have a philosophy of continuous improvement,” he said. “Students are interested in a top-notch education. They want to be introduced to what the real world of business is like.”

McAnuff said frequent visits from companies and business firms show the importance of business education in today’s day and age.

“Business is certainly an instrumental academic discipline that sets a tone for many folks who want to work in New Jersey,” he said. “Many corporations that want to do business in New Jersey are looking for strong students.”

But it is the University as a whole that trains its students to be effective managers. Shafer said a recent survey of 500 companies determined the University to be among the top 10 in the country to produce CEOs — but not all of them graduated from Rutgers Business School.

“Many students who are not in the business school have careers in business,” he said. “Rutgers is very proud.”


By Lisa Berkman

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