PROVO — Brigham Young University's business school is a "hidden gem" whose graduates shine when they leave the halls of higher education and head into the dog-eat-dog world of Big Business.

That's according to a survey of the country's business schools in Monday's edition of The Wall Street Journal.

To create a list of the best colleges and universities, the newspaper joined with an Internet-based pollster to ask 1,600 corporate recruiters where they look to find the best workers.

The survey was completed during a three-month period last year and asked recruiters to grade the schools on 27 different attributes. Questions centered largely on the perceptions of graduates and the "overall appeal" of the 344 accredited business schools, according to the newspaper.

In the survey, which ranked the top 50 private and public accredited schools, BYU's Marriott School of Business ranked 41st. The school also landed at the No. 5 position on a Top 10 list of non-Ivy Leaguers who produce "great graduates."

The Tuck School at Dartmouth College topped the overall rankings, followed closely by Carnegie Mellon and Yale universities in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, respectively.

The large number of students who served proselyting missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in foreign countries is a positive attribute for the school, according to the survey by the Journal and Harris Interactive.

"The Marriott School enjoys a good reputation for finance and for its students' international experience and fluency in foreign languages," the Journal's report said.

Ned Hill, dean of the Marriott School, wholeheartedly agrees with survey respondents who said BYU students are "appealing because of their integrity and strong work ethic."

"They learned that from pioneer stock, I guess," said Hill, laughing, after reading the newspaper's rankings Monday.

Also, such companies as Ford Motors and Intel recruit at BYU because the school's graduates "want to be part of the community and settle down, and they aren't flighty," Hill said.

Some 125 students graduated last week from Brigham Young with graduate degrees. The Marriott School, which counts about 3,000 students, offers five graduate degrees.

As of December, about 80 percent of the graduating class had accepted job offers. Hill expects a 100 percent placement by August.

Hill also said the school has corrected some of the deficiencies pointed out in the survey. The school is revamping its curriculum to add classes about e-commerce and has a new career services office that provides companies with CD-ROM's of students' rsums and profiles.

The incoming class of MBAs also has about three years of job experience. Last year's class didn't quite have two years of experience when they graduated, he said.

"That should just push us higher next year," Hill said.


E-MAIL: jeffh@desnews.com