Obstructonist Tactics from Business Schools

It is sad and ironic how two supposedly measurement-oriented top business schools — Harvard and Wharton — are obstructing Business Week’s widely-used business school rankings. In deciding to opt out of a survey underlying this ranking, here is part of what Wharton said by way of explanation:

Currently, there are many external surveys conducted by commercial publications that rank business schools — more than a dozen annually, in fact. This plethora of rankings, and the wide variety of results they produce, yields little useful data for the schools in shaping their strategic agenda. There is also a widely growing consensus, not only among business schools, but also among colleges and universities, that rankings can be misleading to consumers. Many in the academic community have questioned the methodologies employed in some rankings, as well as the fact that some publications change methodologies from year to year, leading to speculation that some rankings are driven more by editorial agendas than by objective data. [Emphasis added.]

The arrogance of the preceding is fairly appalling. Because the rankings yield “…little useful data for the schools in shaping their strategic agenda” Wharton and Harvard apparently feel they can cheerfully drop out of the process.

Leaving aside the truth of that statement — Harvard and Wharton are really dropping out because they don’t like that they’re not top-ranked at BW — it is instructive that said schools put their own interests ahead of those of prospective students. The latter group, after all, find BW’s rankings more than a little revelant, even if they don’t help with their “strategic agenda”.