By Winfried Ruigrok, Dean, Executive School of Management, Technology & Law
and Professor of International Management, University of St.Gallen (Switzerland)
Over the past fifteen years, rankings have become a ubiquitous and often uncomfortable phenomenon of business school life. The surge of rankings has led to strong reactions. Some scholars even talk about ranking “fetishism”.
University presidents, deans and faculty often have a love-hate affair with rankings. Admittedly love is usually the weaker emotion of the two. We rarely feel that rankings do justice to our schools or programmes—unless of course, we appear on top.
As business school and university administrators, we like to think that we are the primary addressee of rankings. Ultimately, we are not. We are the ranking object. Rankings (should) first and foremost serve future students and aspiring faculty.
Tomorrow’s students and young faculty are on average relatively mobile yet face a great deal of information asymmetry. They have little information about the quality of teaching, research or executive education at different schools, and such information is difficult to collect. Both groups, therefore, benefit greatly from fair and adequate rankings offered by independent institutions.
Most rankings will claim that they meet these criteria. My colleagues and I, therefore, rated the rankings along the above five criteria. Some rankings did not perform well.
Therefore: business school deans, junior and senior faculty, administrators, current and future students, and alumni around the world, UNITE! Let’s demand fair and adequate rankings based on the above five criteria.