What’s in a business school ranking?

Dear reader

In a recent article with the title „The Dark Side Of B-School Rankings“, Mr. John Byrne from „Poets & Quants“ reflected on merits and dangers of business school rankings.

Poets & Quants is a social network. Its goal is to create a helpful community of people interested in graduate business school education and I feel we belong to that community.

He points out that those rankings are suspicious and uncovered the case of UCMK, the University of Missouri—Kansas City which was rated higher than MIT and Stanford.

“Could be”, you might say and so do I. However, they also uncovered that the Chinese authors of the study had been at the same Chinese university where one of the professors had been a part-time professor the previous four years, and at UMKC, the three shared the same office number.

Bildschirmfoto 2014-11-05 um 21.23.05Business school rankings: curse or blessing?

Another professor at UMKC even demanded an investigation as according to him the study was contrived.

In another article („More Schools Say ‘No’ To The Economist“) John Byrne reveals that at least 17 business schools, including many highly prominent institutions, declined to participate in The Economist’s new 2014 ranking.

The group of schools saying no also includes our partner in Great Britain, Ashridge (and some other well-known British institutions as the Imperial College Business School, and the University of Manchester).

I don’t want to reject theses rankings lock, stock and barrell but it seems too obvious that there are further criterions which on the one hand are irrelevant for the ranking but matters a lot to a majority of the EMBA students on the other hand.

We at the Lorange Institute of Business do not fulfil a central criterion of any of those rankings and studies: we do not have a permanent faculty. A permanent faculty, however, is a prerequisite for certain accreditations and without certain accreditations any school is downgraded.

But think about it: having no permanent faculty is a USP of our business school. Our professors are global experts in their fields. They typically have a professional business background and come from other academic institutions for short teaching stints at our business school, bringing with them the latest insights in the fields of management and business.

This allows us to react in no time to new challenges. Let me give you just one example: after the financial crisis and the Basel III regulations we could rely on a specialist from the Frankfurt School of Management and Finance who is a a certified EFFAS financial analyst.

Eventually, Patrick Harker, dean of the Wharton School, is most probably right when he told The Wall Street Journal already in 2004. “The most important thing is that I firmly reject the idea that there is a No. 1 school. Different schools are unique.”

And let me add: every student must find a business school that fits his needs.

Peter Lorange


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