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Barney Barnett School of Business at FSC Prepares Students for a Global Marketplace

January 19, 2023 News

Faculty at the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise at Florida Southern College are committed to excellence. This is one of the main reasons it’s been recognized on so many lists and is known as one of the best business schools in the nation.  

“I believe that the faculty are focused on student success, and they are committed to excellence,” said business school Dean J. Michael Weber. “They deliver a practical curriculum that reflects the best practices in the business environment.” 

In the last two years, the school has appeared on several lists, including: 

  • No. 1 in Teaching Quality in 2021 by Poets & Quants, which also ranked it No. 6 in Faculty-Student Mentoring and No. 68 for the Best Undergraduate Business Schools in 2022. 
  • No. 12 Online MBA (Master of Business Administration) in the U.S. and No. 35 Global Online MBA in 2022 by CEO Magazine. 
  • No. 45 Best Online MBA Program and Top 20 among Private Universities and Colleges in 2022 by Fortune.  
  • Top 100 Online MBA Programs by U.S. News. 

The school – Florida Southern College’s first named academic school — is named after Barney Barnett, a 1965 graduate of the college. Barnett was vice chairman of Publix Super Markets and a member of Florida Southern’s board of trustees. His wife, the late Carol Jenkins Barnett, donated millions to have the school named after him as a 68th birthday gift in 2011. 


It’s an important part of the county and a contributor to the region’s economic development. 

“I think that Barnett Business at FSC is a critical partner in the economic development of Polk County because we contribute to a high-quality work force,” Weber said. “We are also building entrepreneurial ventures through our Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (CFEE), and these ventures will be contributing to our economy through revenue generation and employment.” 


The school has been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB. This accreditation is a mark of excellence in business education. It offers degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels, along with minors and adult online courses.  

“The AACSB accreditation is very important because it is a quality stamp that is only achieved by the top 5% of business schools in the world,” Weber said. “I think the students that have done research on high-quality schools of business look for this badge of quality, especially if they are considering graduate school.” 


Students receive hands-on experience in business during required internships, Weber said. “All of our business students are required to participate in an internship as part of the academic program. Many of the internships turn into job offers. We take students on corporate field trips for a ‘day-in-the-life’ view of various corporate environments.” 

The school also offers students a chance to compete in several ways. “We have a variety of pitch and business plan competitions, which provide a hands-on approach to problem solving, communicating ideas and competing. And we participate in case competitions. Our students have won and placed in the Top 3 in a variety of statewide, regional and national case and business plan competitions.” 

The school also prepares students to enter the global marketplace. 

“In today’s business environment, most industries and businesses participate in the global marketplace at some level. Our students are being prepared for strategic decision-making that is influenced by the economic, financial, cultural and political issues that exist in the global markets,” Weber said. 

Faculty work with industry partners to ensure the school’s curriculum is up to date and relevant. 

“We make sure the curriculum is aligned with industry best practices and current technologies,” Weber said. “We want to make sure that our students are technically agile, skill ready and topically astute. For instance, our industry partners have stressed the importance of Project Management skills, so we have developed new badges, certificates and courses in project management.” 

Educational Excellence

“I am impressed daily with the educational excellence that is proven in the Barnett School of Business. We are preparing this generation to be outstanding business leaders, with the skills necessary to be successful in a wide variety of businesses. In addition to teaching students the tenets of the various business disciplines, Barnett School graduates understand the importance of dedication and an entrepreneurial orientation to achieve their career goals. Our community is fortunate to have these students who are graduating ready to make a consequential impact in this region of Polk County.” 

Dr. Anne Kerr, President, Florida Southern College

Weber estimates that about half of the school’s students remain in Polk County after graduation. “We attribute that high number to high-quality internships, great employment opportunities and high quality of life.” 

 The school is proud of its Online MBA program, which has gained much recognition.  

“The Online MBA is one of the few MBA program types that is sustainable in terms of demand and growth. It offers a convenient modality while also maintaining a high-quality curriculum,” Weber said. “Our Online MBA is nationally ranked and recognized as one of the premier MBA programs.”  

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