The rankings sell magazines, provide data, corrupt our youth (or at least their education), and provide me with material for blog posts. Probably all the above is true, but the bit about corrupting our youth is exaggerated. There are much more powerful forces corrupting them than the rankings.
In the past, the following posts discussed the rankings controversy:
- Business School Relevance. Again
- Law School Rankings: Lies Damn Lies, and Statistics
- Rankings Morph Into Soap Opera
Now the noise level has increased, again, because The Economist-related Economist Intelligence Unit has published its "Which MBA" rankings sans Harvard and Wharton, who refused to provide information necessary for the EIU to rank them.
A few articles and posts have discussed this latest development:
- BW‘s "Wharton and Harvard are Missing" provides a good summary, albeit one that is more critical of the schools.
- Boston Globe’s "MBA Ratings Drop Harvard, Penn" is more sympathetic to the schools.
- Inside Higher Ed’s "Battling Over B-School’s Rankings"
- The Harvard Crimson’s "HBS Won’t Submit to Some Rankings"
- The Daily Pennsylvanian’s "Where’s Wharton? Not in the Rankings."
My take on the controversy: While claiming that their refusal is motivated by the onerous time demands of these surveys, the misleading nature of the surveys, and loyalty to motherhood, God, and country, Harvard and Wharton are in a no-win position with these surveys. They can’t build their brand through them, as can other lower-ranked schools which get great publicity from them. If HBS and Wharton are in the top 3, big deal. Yawn. If they go down in the rankings, that’s news. Buzz. And it damages their brand. Rankings are a no-win for Harvard and Wharton.
Oh yes, the IEU’s rankings:
As with all rankings, you should understand the EIU’s methodology before attempting to use the data, in this case based on student surveys and salary statistics. One useful aspect of the EIU’s resource is that it makes it very easy to compare schools using different criteria.