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USD online M.B.A. graduates 'master' national ETS exam

VERMILLION, S.D. -- University of South Dakota M.B.A. graduates are ready for the challenges that lie ahead in a global business environment, according to results from a national test administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) of Princeton, N.J.

Seventy-four students enrolled in USD’s online M.B.A. program scored in the top 2 percent (98h percentile) nationally with an average overall score of 265.7 points in the ETS’ Major Field Test. The Major Field Test, first administered by ETS in 2002, was developed by leading educators nationally to assess the skills of graduating M.B.A. students. In addition to factual knowledge, the test evaluates students’ abilities to analyze and solve problems, understand relationships and interpret material.

In addition to scoring in the 98th percentile overall, USD students were just as impressive in tests that assessed core concepts in business disciplines scoring in the 92nd percentile in Marketing, Management, and Strategic Integration; 98th percentile in Finance; 96th percentile in Management; and 92nd percentile in Strategic Integration.

“We had 26 out of 74 students score at the 90th percentile or higher nationally with a high in the 99th percentile,” stated Mark Yockey, Ph.D., associate professor at USD’s Beacom School of Business. “That means that one-third of the class ranked in the top 10 percent nationally in individual scores. Another 24 scored in the 80 to 89 percent range. So two-thirds 2/3 of the class scored 80th percentile or higher.”

The Major Field Test, Yockey described, provides the Beacom School of Business with an assessment of how well faculty are teaching basic skills across the specialty areas of business that prepare M.B.A. students for careers in business and commerce. The test consists of 124 multiple-choice questions, half of which are based on short case-study scenarios, and several skill sets are measured, including buyer behavior (Marketing), human resource management (Management), investments (Finance), and financial reporting and analysis (Accounting). USD students have taken the ETS Major Field Test for Master of Business Administration since the fall of 2007. More than 130 colleges and universities in the United States administer this exam to their graduate business students.

“Our faculty also deserve credit for a job well done,” Yockey added. “We are blessed to have good students but it is obvious that the faculty have done an excellent job teaching those students.”

For more information about the M.B.A. program at the Beacom School of Business, please visit or contact Angeline Lavin, Ph.D., C.F.A., director of USD’s M.B.A. and M.P.A. programs, at (605) 677-5232 or e-mail


USD's Beacom School of Business was established in 1927 and has been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) since 1949. The leading business school in the region, Beacom’s programs are consistently ranked among the top business schools in the nation by Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report and others for its high-quality learning experience, student success, affordability, and high-caliber of faculty and students. Whether a student chooses face-to-face or online courses, Beacom’s programs emphasize real-world experience through professional organizations, quality internships and capstone projects.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News