Business Majors Score in Top 10 Percent on National Business Test


Southern Virginia University’s graduating business majors scored in the ninetieth percentile on the ETS Major Field Test in business, which has been taken by more than 83,000 seniors at 564 colleges and universities in the United States in the last 3 years.

This achievement is made all the more impressive because there is no restriction on who can be a business major at Southern Virginia. Unlike their counterparts at many universities who have to apply to be admitted to business programs, majors are open to all students at Southern Virginia, where business management and leadership is the most popular major.

“We’re thrilled that our students achieve a high level of intellectual and academic performance, demonstrated by their collective ranking on the Major Field Test,” said Todd Brotherson, a business professor and coordinator of the business management and leadership program at Southern Virginia. The high test scores still don’t tell the full story about the quality of education and preparation these student receive, he said.

“Our aim for them is even higher, however: we strive for leadership and heart as well, working to ensure that our students leave Southern Virginia with a commitment and ability to live the principles and ideals that will enable them to move others to productive action and raise them to the highest levels of excellence and creativity,” Brotherson said.

The Major Field Test for business contains 120 multiple-choice questions designed to measure a student's subject knowledge and ability to apply facts, concepts, theories and analytical methods. The questions represent a wide range of difficulty and assess the depth and breadth of students’ understanding of various business concepts.

The questions are focused on nine different subjects: accounting, economics, management, quantitative business analysis, finance, marketing, legal and social environment, information systems and international issues. The 23 Southern Virginia students who took the test in April scored in the ninety-fifth percentile in economics, management, finance and international issues.

Though the test was long and challenging, those who took the test felt confident in the knowledge they gained from their professors in their business classes.

“For the most part I felt prepared for the test,” said Liz Eckman, a recent business graduate from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. “Even though it had been some time since I had thoroughly studied some of the concepts, the business professors at Southern Virginia do a fantastic job of establishing connections between courses and intertwining the curriculum.”

Business majors who took the test attribute their success to the devoted professors and the quality of education at Southern Virginia, which is enhanced by the university’s small, personal environment.

“The courses require a student to think and analyze, rather than just be a spectator in the classroom.,” Eckman said. “The professors all bring a wealth of knowledge and years of experience to the table, and they genuinely care about their students.”

A high test score is not the only thing these students are taking away from their experience in the business program. More importantly, they learned life skills and developed strong relationships with the faculty and their classmates.

Dillon Farnsworth, a recent graduate from San Anotonio, who also took the test, compared Southern Virginia’s academic experience with a small college he transferred from. Although it was similar in size, he says the other school lacked the feeling and drive for becoming a better, well-rounded and self-driven student.

Farnsworth believes his life and future have been shaped by his experience in the business program, which allowed him to develop close relationships with his professors. “Becoming so close with the faculty has changed my outlook on life,” Farnsworth said. “I am more refined and focused on my goals and feel that while life's challenges may be tough, I am more capable to analyze situations and chose the best route as far as [graduate] school and finding a career.”

Professor Brotherson spoke of the personalized interactions between students and their professors and advisors at Southern Virginia. “We go one step further and offer students intensive academic interaction with deep care and commitment to their whole well-being,” he said. “As we see them and spend time with them in class; on the courts, fields and concert halls; in our homes; in the local community and at church, we build true community and mutual commitment to each other’s achievements and well-being—spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical.”

“Simply put,” Brotherson said, “we honestly care about them, inside and outside the classroom.”