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ISDS ranking reflects program’s excellence

(August 16, 2013) — Undergraduates in the College of Business Information Systems and Decision Sciences Department now have confirmation of what they believed all along: USF has one of the best information systems programs in the country.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek's 2013 rankings of undergraduate business schools, USF's College of Business is ranked No. 25 for the information systems specialty.

"It is an honor to be one of the top 25 schools in the country for information systems," said Kaushal Chari, former chair of the ISDS department who recently took a new position as associate dean of research and professional programs. "At USF, we truly believe that by demanding that our graduates understand 'big data' and know how to extract valuable information from it, they will find better jobs and we will establish a reputation as the place where top employers come to find talent."

Although the ranking confirms USF's excellence in information systems, the College of Business is continuing to strengthen its programs in this area. Part of the College of Business' new five-year strategic plan was a quest to establish a distinctive identity -- one that focuses on data analytics across every department, but especially the ISDS department, where data analytics and business intelligence are a big part of the curriculum.

In addition to world-class faculty who bring practical applications into the classroom, the ISDS department has an industry-sponsored Practice Center project series that allows students to work with companies on real-world projects. These students have opportunities to find creative solutions to business problems while they are still in school, as well as network with companies who might be looking to hire when they graduate. Despite the practice center being a relatively new initiative, more than ten companies have sponsored such projects to date. Several of these have resulted in students getting placed at these firms, contributing to both student success as well as active business engagement.

Being part of the prestigious ISDS program pays off outside the classroom, as well. According to an exit survey of spring 2012 graduates, the average salary of MIS graduates with bachelor's degrees was $51,881 for those taking new positions. Graduates received job offers from companies such as JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, DTCC, Microsoft, Nielsen, AT&T, Ernst & Young, and Raymond James.

Maria Valentino, a recent MIS bachelor's degree graduate who works at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said she felt the ISDS program helped her explore and develop skills that further allowed her to be successful in the workforce.

"As a student with more than 10 years of experience in the Information Systems industry, I still found each course in the ISDS program to be enlightening and challenging," she said. "I was free to take my education as far as I wanted -- dig deeper into concepts, think outside the box and leverage the experience of others -- all with the support and encouragement of my professors."

The ISDS Department's new chair, Balaji Padmanabhan, said he is excited to take the leadership position at such an exciting time for the department and the College of Business.

"We are starting to see decades of continued hard work and innovation in our department paying off in terms of research excellence, program quality, strong business interest in our research and teaching, and most important, student success," he said. "Much of this is due to the amazing faculty we have who have collectively made this possible through their intellectual contributions, thought leadership, excellence in the classroom, and a willingness to go the extra mile for our wonderful students. I look forward to many more exciting things to come."