When Bloomberg’s Oliver Staley recently wrote a story about Pepsico’s ex-Chairman Steve Reinemund joining Wake Forest’s Babcock Graduate School of Management as its new dean, he turned to Veritas Prep for a viewpoint on the MBA rankings game.
Among Reinemund’s first tasks will be improving the school’s job placement statistics and raising the school’s profile in global business school rankings. On the latter point, Staley interviewed me for my take on the challenges Babcock will face in improving its ranking in U.S. News:
The school will have to displace others that are also seeking to improve, said Scott Shrum, the director of MBA admissions research for Veritas LLC, a test-preparation company in Malibu, California. U.S. News’s rankings are hard to move because 40 percent of each rating is based on how well a program is viewed by other deans and by corporate recruiters, he said.
“It is extremely tough and, unfortunately for a school like Babcock, so much of it based on the reputation of a school,” Shrum said in a phone interview on Sept. 9. “That can take decades to change.”
Babcock is a good school. The challenge will be for Reinemund to raise the school’s profile among other MBA programs. It sounds like Wake Forest has completely handed him the keys to the program. We recommend that he take some risks, overhaul the curriculum, and otherwise shake things up. Chicago GSB and Michigan (Ross) are two examples of other schools that have taken on new leaders in recent years and let them shake things up, which caused other programs to take note, which ultimately helped their overall reputations and strengthened their rankings.
We think that Reinemund has the opportunity to create a similar effect at Babcock. It won’t be an overnight success, but by innovating and listening to Babcock’s own community year after year, we think Reinemund will be able to do it.
You can read the entire Bloomberg article here.