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Business Brief: Why UNF's Business School Is Among Country's Best

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For 10 years running, the University of North Florida’s Coggin College of Business has been named one of the best business schools in the country by the Princeton Review.

They do several things very well, which is how you end up on this list for a decade. But what stands out is their small classes and their connections with the local business community, which has made their graduates especially valuable to two large industries in particular: the logistics and transportation industry and the financial services industry.

Something like 700 logistics companies have set up shop in Northeast Florida, from CSX down to small, family-run operations. UNF made logistics a focus of its business curriculum in 2006, and now graduates about 80 business undergrads a year who specialize in logistics.

Dean of the Coggin College, Mark Dawkins, says, about half of UNF students are from Jacksonville, but “seventy-five to 80 percent of the students who graduate from UNF stay local, and so for a company that’s here in Jacksonville, it’s really attractive because more students are going to stay local than are originally from Jacksonville. So that helps the companies that we work with in terms of recruiting.”

Financial services and finance majors find ready employment with companies like EverBank, Deutsche Bank and Fidelity National Financial.

Overall, the Coggin College has done an excellent job over the years tailoring its curriculum to the needs of the Northeast Florida economy.

And UNF's business school also has strong connections with the business community. For example, when Dead Dawkins arrived in at UNF 16 months ago, he reached out to businesses to ask them what they needed.

“And the companies were telling us that there’s a need for middle-level management talent, and so we created a Master of Science in Management program,” he said.

That's program attracts liberal arts students to try out business, gives them a basic grounding in business concepts, and then steers them toward middle management if it turns out they like business studies.

Dawkins says it’s been effective in meeting the business community’s needs.

WJCT Business Analyst John Burr is a veteran journalist who has been been directing news coverage and reporting in Jacksonville since 1983. He is currently also a news analyst for WJCT, where he can be heard regularly on the "First Coast Connect" media roundtable.