Tonight, PSEG executives and Rutgers University administrators will dedicate a rooftop garden at the Rutgers Business School–Newark flagship building at Washington Park, celebrating a partnership that has grown in the past few years.
PSEG Foundation President Vaughn McKoy, a Rutgers law school graduate, said the utility’s $2 million donation toward the $83 million building project fit the foundation’s three core priorities for giving: education, environment and economic development.
“They have a real plan to develop the University Heights area, and we really believe a new business school would attract attention to the area as well as exceptional students from around the world and the country to come and experience Newark,” McKoy said. “The fact that Rutgers Business School has churned out graduates — some of which we’ve hired over the years — we really believed it was a good match.”
McKoy said the school’s master of quantitative finance program, which he called “renowned around the country,” is especially important to PSEG, as “we see the focus on science, technology, engineering and math as one of the areas within education … that fits squarely with what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Since Rutgers opened 1 Washington Park in the fall of 2009, RBS has seen application and enrollment numbers rise in both the MBA and MQF programs. Applications for fall of 2011 are up 10 percent for MBA since 2009, and up 140 percent for MQF since the building opened. The MQF program is expecting 85 students to enroll for the fall semester, an increase of 50 students.
“The most important aspect of any program, in terms of whether it will be successful or not, is the ability to provide a curriculum that will train students in the areas that are needed for job placement and to find people who will hire the students,” said Ivan Brick, chair of the RBS finance and economics department. “I know PSEG has given $2 million to the school, but I look at their other involvement.”
Brick said PSEG leaders have advised on the MQF program curriculum, as have other corporate executives, which has directly improved the program’s national ranking. He said students also get a closer look at what working in the field means.
“PSEG’s contributions are much more than the dollars they give us — it’s also the volunteer time they give to the school to help our students,” Brick said.
Brick said the improvements made to the curriculum, and the school’s ability to attract high-caliber students, are on display when RBS students compete against other top business schools. Recently, a team of RBS graduate and undergraduate students were runners-up in a 500-school global investment challenge. He said alumni often speak of how their RBS experience has prepared them for the work force.
“In my role now, to be in a position to participate in today’s events, makes me proud to be an alumni of Rutgers, and I think we have many here who feel the same way,” McKoy said.