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Eleven topics, three hour deadline, three minutes per question, all while hovering over a laptop from an apartment or dorm as a result of a global pandemic. Sound difficult? Not for the recent graduates of Dickinson State University’s School of Business and Entrepreneurship who succeeded in garnering 14 students scoring in the top 10 percentile nationally.

At the end of Fall semester, Dickinson State University business students took the Peregrine exam, a comprehensive exit exam. According to Business Department Chair Loretta Heidt, her students take this exam as part of their final course and prior to the exam, she brings in faculty members to give a review of all the essential concepts they’ve covered in their courses.

In the end if a student doesn’t remember a particular concept, they can connect with the instructor prior to the exam for some help.

Nearly 250 schools across the nation utilize the Peregrine exam, including some of the most renowned academic centers in the country. DSU students, faculty and staff view the Peregrine as a way to pursue excellence as the top corporations in the nation are keen on scoring the next business genius. Among those who recognize the Peregrine exam as a key indicator of future successes are Kellog’s, Shell, and United Way.

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In fact, many Doctorate of Business Administration programs now accept the Peregrine Test as well as the GMAT and GRE to fulfill application requirements.

According to Heidt, the scores left her in absolute amazement at how students, including those who fell right at or above the 50th percentile could do so well and do well in the middle of a pandemic that is often a barrier to educational success.

As a result of national and statewide responses to COVID-19, schools have had to adjust the way they deliver content, and DSU was no exception. The school of business offered classes in various settings, whether that be completely online, online with video conferencing or face-to-face.

“Going into the pandemic, we weren’t quite certain how our students were going to learn. If they're typically in a class room and that’s how they learn the best, what can we do to ensure that they’re successful in their classes,” Heidt recalled.

Learn they did, and excel they did.

Of the countless business students taking the test in 2020, 14 Dickinson State University students scored in the top 10, which is nearly half of Heidt's class. The names of the students have yet to be released officially by the university, but when they are will be included in a future article.

“We had 32 students that took business policy this past Fall semester and out of 32 students, if we can get 14 of those 32 in the top 10 percentile, that’s incredible. We are up against some pretty important schools and when we look at those numbers, it’s amazing,” said Heidt.

She went on to mention that nine of the fourteen made it into the top five and three made it into the top 3 percentile — a feat for a non-Ivy school.

Heidt hopes to use these scores to work with her colleagues to develop various strategies for continued success.