The University of Maryland's business school at College Park has been ranked among the nation's best in equipping managers to handle technology, according to a new, unconventional survey of MBA programs by Computerworld.

Computerworld, the information technology newsweekly, interviewed 1,000 corporate campus recruiters to determine which schools led the way in combining computer and engineering training with the standard MBA fare of accounting, finance and marketing.

Elite MBA programs at Harvard University and the Wharton School did not fare well. Instead, the top places went to "dark horse" programs, led by Northeastern University in Boston.

Howard Frank, dean of the Robert E. Smith School of Business at Maryland, which ranked third, told Computerworld that programs such as his have "developed a strategy to differentiate ourselves" from the Harvards and Whartons by emphasizing technology and entrepreneurship.

Maryland's program is one of the nation's biggest, with 400 full-time and 450 part-time MBA students. Its MBA graduates receive 2.3 job offers on average, and about one-third pursue high-tech industry positions.

TOP TECH-MBAs

The University of Maryland ranked third in a Computerworld survey of best technology-MBA programs.

1. Northeastern University, Boston

2. University of Texas, Austin

3. University of Maryland, College Park

4. University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

5. University of California, Irvine

6. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

7. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.

8. Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield

9. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh

10. University of Florida, Gainesville

21. University of Virginia, Charlottesville

NOTE: The magazine's two-part survey first identified 63 schools from a poll of 1,000 campus recruiters asked to name the top 10 colleges for technology-bound MBAs, then ranked the schools based on criteria including placement rate and student-faculty ratio.

SOURCE: Computerworld