Campus Event: VSA’s Family Outing

April 18, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Mai Lyn Ngo

SMU’s Vietnamese Student Association is presenting Family Outing in collaboration with its sister organizations from the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of Texas in Arlington.

Family Night is a free event that is broken into three segments. All students are welcome to attend.

The first part of the night will teach attendees how to make a traditional Vietnamese spring roll, a vegetable and shrimp or pork roll wrapped in rice paper. All of the ingredients are provided and VSA members will teach those willing to learn how to make this traditional appetizer.

The second part of the night involves listening to interviews of students and members involves in the VSA and the Asian community.

The last segment of the night presents an array of entertainment, dances and music. The night will end with a DJ and several cultural performances.

Ankita Krishnan, SMU’s VSA president, is expecting up to 200 people to attend the event. A free dinner of stir-fred flat noodles, fried rice, beef entrees and eggrolls are also a perk.

This first ever VSA collaboration is an attempt to unify the Vietnamese communities and organizations from the different universities.

In past semesters VSA has hosted a movie night with a pho dinner.

“This is a replacement event for movie night because we couldn’t find a suitable movie and since we’ve always talked about working with other VSAs we decided to make it happen,” said Krishnan.

Each school contributed to the event. The UTA VSA gathered the interviewees and UTD’s VSA contributed by supplying the entertainment and a photographer. SMU provided the venue and the food.

Donald Havien, one VSA exec, said it was difficult getting in touch with the sister organizations, but is glad it all worked out.

“I’m really excited about meeting the other VSA execs from the other universities,” said Havien.

SMU Sophomore Grace Choi is ecstatic about the new upcoming event.

“I am most excited about meeting people from different schools and I really want to learn how to make spring rolls,” said Choi.

The event will take place in the Hughes-Trigg ballrooms April 19 on the basement floor. Family Outing will begin from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Admission is free. For more information contact Ankita Krishnan at, Chi Vu at or Jiyou Xu at

Cox Falls Short in Latest Business School Rankings

April 12, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Praveen Sathianathan

SMU’s Cox Graduate School of Business full-time MBA program dropped eight spots to 57 in the latest national rankings of the best business schools in the country.


The rankings were included in U.S. News and World Report 2012 “Best Graduate Schools” list.

After competing for the top spot for the last three years against Harvard Business School, Stanford University Graduate School of Business took the lead and topped the list this year.

In-state, the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business ranked 17, Texas A&M’s Mays School ranked 32. Rice University’s Jones School ranked 34 and University of Texas at Dallas was ranked 40. Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business came in at 60.

Marci Armstrong, associate dean of graduate programs at the Cox School of Business, attributed the drop at SMU to the job placement metric.

Armstrong said U.S. News measures schools job placement data at graduation and 90 days out. She said the metric counts for 35 percent of a graduate school’s score.

“It was the economy at the time,” she said. “The job market was tough, even tougher for us.”

Armstrong said the MBA career center was also short-staffed. She said the center is now assisting students better.

“We have two new employees in the career center including Troy Stirman, senior manager of employment relations, who works to bring more employers to SMU,” she said.

Armstrong said newly released data from the career center shows that full-time jobs posted with the career center for MBA students is up 76 percent from last year and internships posted are up 98 percent.

She said the spring MBA career fair also had 44 companies that were looking to fill 150 positions, compared with 17 companies last year.

“Next year we will definitely be scored higher and will move up in the rankings,” she said. “There has been a turnaround and we have seen increased hiring of our students.”

She also said that of the 124 second-year students in SMU’s two-year full-time MBA program, 37 percent have accepted job offers and another 50 percent are weighing job offers.

“We believe most prospective students look at Bloomberg’s Businessweek list of the best graduate schools for it measures student satisfaction and the satisfaction of the companies that hire the students,” said Armstrong. “We love being ranked number 12 on that list.”

U.S. News measures reputation, placement success, selectivity, mean GMAT and GPA scores. Bloomberg’s Businessweek rankings focus on employer and student evaluations of what their experiences are.

Alyssa McLaughlin, a first-year MBA student, said the metrics in the rankings were important and that’s why the Businessweek list is more important.

“It’s important to look at the companies you want to work for and what they think of the school you want to go to,” McLaughlin said. “Businessweek looks at company satisfaction with students they hire.”

Megan Knelpp, a first-year MBA student, said it was important for her to pick a school that had a good standing with students.

“Reputation was more important to me,” said Knelpp. “I looked at [the rankings], but only to make sure it was on the radar.”

Lauren Basham, first-year MBA student, said that some students look into rankings, but also look into location.

“Where you want to live after school is very important,” Basham said.

Of the 437 MBA programs surveyed, SMU was one of the top ten droppers, but it did not fall by the most.

The University of Oklahoma’s Price School of Business also dropped 25 spots to 91 from 66. Rollins College’s Roy E. Crummer Graduate School of Business fell seven spots from 100 to 107.

For a full list of the rankings click here.

Correction: Earlier we reported that Rollins College’s Roy E. Crummer Graduate School of Business fell 57 spots when in fact the school fell seven spots.

North Texas Fasts For The DREAM ACT

November 16, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

By Gloria Salinas

Candlelight for the DREAM ACT from on Vimeo.

More than 25 students and community leaders braved the cold winds Friday, Nov. 12 to keep hope alive for the DREAM ACT.

Among the crowd gathered at SMU’s flagpole for the Candlelight for the DREAM ACT were students from SMU, the University of Texas at Dallas, University of Texas at Arlington and Mountain View Community College, as well as community advocates, like elementary bilingual teacher Lydia Rincon.

The candlelight vigil for the bipartisan bill known as the DREAM ACT, Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, was part of a week-long event entitled ‘5 Days Fasting for the DREAM ACT,’ put on by the North Texas DREAM TEAM.

The DREAM TEAM consists of leaders from campuses around North Texas and various LULAC chapters.

“Now, more than ever before, the DREAM ACT has the best chance to become a reality,” said DREAM ACT advocate Ramiro Luna. “Senator Harry Reid said he would introduce the DREAM ACT into the Lame Duck session to try to get this passed once and for all and Speaker Pelosi echoed those sentiments.”

Students and advocates created a circle around the flagpole and lit candles signifying their ten year struggle for the DREAM ACT and hope for its passage into law. Many had been on a three-day liquid diet with two more days of fasting remaining.

“In the end we’re all dreamers and we all have a dream,” advocate Marco Malagon said.

The DREAM ACT was born in 2001, shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11. According to Rincon, the chaos of Sept. 11 made the act harder to pass and it was swept under the rug.

“We thought there was no way this wouldn’t pass,” Rincon said, “but ten years have now gone by and the DREAM ACT is still a dream.”

Senate and House Representatives continue to introduce the DREAM ACT every congressional year, but it continues to remain a bill. If the DREAM ACT were voted into law it would allow qualifying immigrant students the freedom and opportunity to gain a college education.

The criteria are: they must have arrived in the U.S. before their sixteenth birthday, have lived in the U.S. for at least five years, have graduated from a U.S. high school or obtained an American G.E.D., or have served in the military or attended college for at least two years and have good moral character.

The candlelight was followed with students’ stories and voices on the matter, prayers and rally chants like, “Up, up with education! Down, down with deportation!”

“We have two weeks to get this DREAM ACT passed,” Luna said. “For too long we have been denied these opportunities, for too long we have been mute, for too long we have been viewed as law breakers, but it is the law that continues to break us.”

Events for the passage of the DREAM ACT began on Wednesday, Nov. 10 and were hosted at Mountain View Community College, the University of North Texas and University of Texas at Arlington, as well as SMU.

The final event ended on Sunday, Nov. 14 with mass at the Cathedral of Guadalupe in Downtown Dallas.

Losing Big at For-Profit Schools

May 22, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

Aida Ahmed

At a time when the job search can yield no real promise, more students are heading back to the classroom.

A growing number of them are enrolling in trade schools that focus on information technology, health care and paralegal work. But these for-profit colleges can cost thousands more than traditional community colleges and even public universities. The difference is that for-profit schools exist to generate a profit for the school’s owners and investors.

Some for-profit schools, like ITT Technical Institute, promise students hands-on training and unrealistic job offers upon graduation, but fail to mention the thousands of dollars of debt students will face- along with very slim prospects of a job.

Many find that the only thing worse than graduating with a huge pile of debt is graduating without a solid degree. That’s what happened to Juli Quinteros de Hernandez.

“I graduated in 2006 with a degree in multimedia with the highest honors,” Hernandez said.

But when it came time to look for a job, her career services representative recommended her for a part-time job as a document scanner for a company that digitizes medical records. The pay was about $8 an hour.

“They didn’t spend much time trying to get me a job in my field,” Hernandez said. “I knew when I graduated that I would have to continue school.”

She said she was either under qualified for positions in multimedia or over qualified for other jobs. And six months after graduation she began receiving letters to start paying $38,000 for the loans she took out.

“It wasn’t worth the money I paid to go there,” Hernandez said.

ITT is one of the leading for-profit colleges in the country. With over 100 campuses nationwide and three locations in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area alone, their Web site claims they enroll approximately 70,000 students. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools and offers several bachelor’s degrees in information technology and electronics technology.

Similar training can be found at some Dallas County community colleges that cost thousands less, but many students still choose ITT. The cost of one credit hour at a DCCC is $41. At ITT it’s $493. The difference in an associate’s degree from the two schools would be over $45,000.

A current student at the Richardson ITT campus, 24-year-old Joseph Rivera, is studying computer network systems in his first year and says he chose ITT for their school of information technology.

“ITT shows you more hands-on experience in specific areas,” Rivera said. “I think in the field of computer networks it is better to go to technical school than a university.”

Rivera was in the military for four years and says the post 9/11 GI Bill pays for his schooling. After graduating from ITT, he hopes to work for the FBI or the CIA.

Michael Doty, Director of Career Services at the University of Texas at Dallas, thinks students like Rivera should go to a vocational school if they want to go into a specific trade.

“It really depends on what the student is looking for,” said Doty. “There’s going to be a difference in what a vocational school can teach and an academic school can teach. Academic schools can offer a broader, rounding set of skills. Vocational schools are not training you to go onto college.”

Assistant Professor of Higher Education Administration at Texas A&M University and co-editor of the book, “For-Profit Colleges and Universities: Their Markets, Regulation, Performance and Place in Higher Education,” Vicente Lechuga, says that there are many benefits to the for-profit college system.

“Students are able to finish their programs very quickly,” said Lechuga in an e-mailed response. “A certificate might take a few months, a bachelor’s degree might take 3 years, and a master’s can be completed in about a year. There are a lot of students who will pay a higher tuition so that they are able to finish much more quickly than the cheaper public universities.”

Graduate game development student at the Guildhall at SMU, Vicki Smith, said it is already hard enough to get respect for a degree in video game design, let alone one from a technical school. Smith looked into many programs but knew the Guildhall was the best choice to add value to her portfolio.

“I did look into some technical schools, but never very seriously,” Smith said in an e-mail interview. “A technical degree simply does not carry the same weight as a master’s from a recognized university.”

Smith counts on SMU’s reputation to get her a job after graduation.

“Because of the Guildhall’s track record, paying my tuition felt less like e-gamble and more like an investment.”

One of the selling points of for-profit colleges is that they are open access institutions that accept students who might otherwise be denied admission to traditional institutions.

Luchuga says what this translates to is that for-profits enroll a much higher percentage of low-income and minority students than non-profit institutions.

This seems to be the case at ITT.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics website, graduates from the Richardson ITT campus are 52 percent Hispanic, 25 percent white and 22 percent black. However, only four percent of full-time, first-time students who started at ITT in 2004 graduated in the specified amount of time.

Lechuga warns that the downside to accepting so many students is that they may not be able to handle a college workload.

“Students who are less academically prepared, of which for-profits have a higher percentage, may drop out of college owing lots of money,” Lechuga said.

Jamel Manoun is a senior at Plano East Senior High School who plans to go to Collin County Community College when he graduates. He says he never even considered attending a technical school.

“Those schools seemed frowned upon, there’s a negative stigma if you go to ITT,” Manoun said.”People who failed go there.”

He chose community college because it is cheaper than going straight to a four-year college.

“I’m going for two years and then transferring to save money,” Manoun said.

Although paying for community college is pennies on the dollar compared to ITT, Lechuga said for some, their time is worth the money.

“While tuition at community colleges is cheaper than at for-profits, some students don’t want to waste time taking classes that don’t count toward their certificate or degrees because they can’t get into the classes they need to graduate,” Lechuga said.

Still, there are many people like Hernandez who don’t think the training at an expensive technical school helped them in the long run. After ITT, Hernandez graduated from the Art Institute of Dallas and is currently looking for a job, which she said is still hard.

“The main issue of concern with their debt is whether the education students from for-profits received was enough to help them to get a job that allows them to pay back their loans,” Lechuga said. “But, this is also an issue for students at traditional colleges as well.”