With a powerful new name and increasingly high marks in national rankings, the Carl H. Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati is riding high.

Lindner, who built a financial empire, which includes American Financial Group, from a family-owned dairy store (now United Dairy Farmers), is a longtime supporter of UC. Friends and donors are also launching Friends of Carl H. Lindner to lead fundraising for the business school.

With a new school year under way, Cincy caught up with Dr. David Szymanski, who is in his second year as dean.

Q: What is the state of things at UC's business college?
It's an exciting time to be here. We renamed the college over the summer "¢ This is an opportunity to say what our school stands for in terms of being entrepreneurial, ethical and doing business the right way in the tradition of Carl H. Lindner.

Q: How will money raised by the Friends of Carl H. Lindner fund be put to use?
We're in the formative stages. It's a matter of bringing together a group of people to create excellent programs. It will be used for attracting and retaining faculty and students and whatever the donors would like us to do with it "” endowed chairs, the general fund, etc.

Q: What are your goals in the coming year and long-term?
We are certainly working to improve and grow all of our programs. We have a business fellow program targeted toward minorities that we will continue to develop, along with specialized degrees in marketing, information services and quantitative analysis. We have a new MBA program that is multi-disciplinary that we'll be rolling out in the latter part of the academic year.

Q: Are specialized degrees becoming more popular?
Earning a general MBA is an opportunity for people who don't have an undergraduate degree in business. But there are also people who really want to specialize. If they already know that they want to be in marketing, they can pursue that MBA, for example.

Q: U.S. News & World Report rated an MBA from UC in the top 10 nationally for financial value after graduation.
For us, it's a milestone and an incentive.

Q: How will UC recruit top-tier professors and students in the face of government budget cuts?
You have to become more efficient and there's a bit of an art form to that. But you can't let funding cuts impede your growth. Sometimes it's not about money but about creating the right culture. It also becomes more important that we rely on outside help. Alumni and corporate sponsorships become more important.

Q: How have business schools adjusted their curricula in response to changes in the business world?
The key is to anticipate and get in front of the changes.We have an international major in management, formal relationships with international institutions "” four in China and probably half a dozen or so in Europe and also in South America. We're seeing an increasing globalization of students.

Q: What are the program's greatest strengths?
On a national level, being in Cincinnati is a tremendous advantage. Students and faculty work closely with Fortune 500 companies and family businesses. Our co-ops are a huge advantage. Our students don't just learn theory. They have the application. From the faculty's perspective, there are partnerships to solve business problems. We also have a great alumni base.

Q: What areas could use improvement?
The real opportunity for us is to build more and stronger relationships with the business community and to break down some of the barriers for students. We're not where we want to be in getting the word out there in terms of what we're all about. It might be a shortcoming, but it is also a great opportunity to brand our institution and tell people who we are.