In a test administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) of Princeton, N.J. this fall, 58 undergraduate students from the Beacom School of Business at USD took the exam, and in aggregate scored in the top 2 percent (98th percentile) nationally. The Major Field Test, first administered by ETS in 2002, was developed by leading educators nationally to assess the skills of graduating business students. In addition to factual knowledge, the test evaluates students’ abilities to analyze and solve problems, understand relationships and interpret material.

Leading the way in posting the highest overall score ever for Beacom School of Business students taking the ETS’ Major Field Test (a 165.0 raw score) were six USD students who were presented with Exemplary Performance Awards for finishing in the top 10 percent of all students taking the exam: Jared Lesher of Pierpoint, S.D., a finance major; Travis Jamison, a management major from Sioux Falls, S.D.; Michael Neilson of Gilbert, Ariz., majoring in Health Services Administration; economics major Tanya Hubert of Yankton, S.D.; Gregory Schmidt, an accounting major from Avoca, S.D., and accounting major Lucas Ashland of Rapid City, S.D.

The Major Field Test, explained Daniel Tracy, Ph.D., associate professor of decision sciences at USD, provides the Beacom School of Business with an assessment of how well students are learning basic skills across the specialty areas of business that prepare students for careers in business and commerce. The exam measures conceptual and skill development in several areas, including Accounting, Economics, Finance, Information Systems, Legal/Social Environment, Management, Marketing, Quantitative Business Analysis, and International issues. More than 580 colleges and universities in the United States administer this exam to their undergraduate business students.

In addition to the outstanding achievement in the national ETS exam, USD students also performed extremely well in the Bloomberg Assessment Test (BAT). The BAT is a global online exam developed by the Bloomberg Institute to assess the aptitude and the relevant business and finance knowledge of an individual. An intended purpose of the test is to match the talents of job seekers with the needs of employers. Some employers did find BAT useful in finding pre-qualified talents, and according to Yewmun Yip, Ph.D., associate professor of finance at USD, a couple of USD finance students, who did exceptionally well in the test, received interviews from investment firms from Nashville, Tenn. and other places outside the region.

Since the fall of 2010, a total of 15 Beacom School of Business students have taken the BAT test. Not only did all 15 students who took the test score above the global average, their average total score was 23 percentage points higher than the global average (i.e., 70.3 percent versus 47.7 percent).  Additionally, the average scores of USD students also exceeded the global averages in each of the 11 sections on the test, and in seven of those sections, the USD students exceeded the average by at least 20 percentage points. The areas in which USD students excelled the most are capital markets, global markets, financial statement analysis, investment management and math skills.

“This is an international test administered by the leading provider of financial information in the world,” said Michael J. Keller, dean of the Beacom School of Business. “The results of both the BAT and ETS exam reveal the quality of our graduates and why employers are eager to interview and hire graduates from the Beacom School of Business.”

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