At Poets&Quants, we read and often love the comments readers leave on our stories. And this year MBA hopefuls, students, professors, and others have had a lot to debate on our pages, from business school rankings and which school is better to the U.S. election and more. Along the way, our readers–even the trollers–have dished out some pretty funny lines.
So to round off the year we’ve compiled some of our favorites–all anonymous and all unedited in their raw humor, cruelty and sarcasm– to acknowledge the active community on our site. It is a community of readers that we cherish and actively engage with. Every journalist at P&Q is encouraged to get into the fray. And 2016 was yet another record-breaking year for both traffic and reader engagement at Poets&Quants. You’ll find some back-and-forth between school rivals, timely references to the 2016 election, and as can only be expected, some advice for P&Q.
B-SCHOOL RANKINGS – IMPROVED AND/OR EXPLAINED BY READERS
To start with, there’s always a healthy and vigorous discussion about whose school is best. In November, P&Q released its single most-popular read of the year, our 2016 MBA Ranking, with Harvard Business School topping the list, Stanford following in second, and Chicago Booth in third. One reader disagree–slightly–and wanted to set the record straight for everyone else.
Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Tuck, Yale
Of course, the 2016 Poets&Quants MBA Ranking wasn’t the only place people debated school rank. Under a Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds article in July, a disgruntled reader vented his or her frustrations over the most recent Bloomberg Businessweek list: “Rice is number 8th ahead of Kellogg!!! I cee this year is a complete joke in almost everything it turns..elections, ranks, …”
Others prepped themselves for a good, constructive fight: “Let’s have a constructive debate below, with only 1 rule: No emotions or feelings towards a particular school, only facts. I am for Columbia, you are for Kellogg. Let’s go.”
And still others–like this reader commenting on one of our Meet The Class series–interrupted heated disagreements with other, apparently interesting things to note: “While people are debating below regarding which school in Cali is better, can I just mention that Alexis from page 10 is kinda cute.”
U.S. ELECTION COMMENTARY: B-SCHOOL EDITION
After the U.S. election on Nov. 8, political references filled our comment sections both in P&Q articles about the election and in completely unrelated articles .
In response to an essay titled “Why Trump’s Election Is Good For International Business Schools,” one reader realized something important: “The good thing about (the) Trump win is that age is no longer a problem. Now even Sandy can hope to be president someday!,” a reference to HBSGuru founder Sandy Kreisberg who regularly weighs in on the chances of admission for MBA applicants.
To which our Editor-in-Chief John A. Byrne responded: “Sandy is the real Bernie Sanders!”
Another, who appears rather disgruntled over the political talk in the comments section, offered a bit of a scolding, writing “You are not allowed to bring trumpism to business school discussion.”
And on a completely unrelated article, the 10 Biggest Surprises In Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2016 MBA Ranking, one reader asked us when P&Q would release its own ranking this year. When John responded with the date, our reader replied, “Very good. Many thanks. LET US MAKE MBA RANKING GREAT AGAIN.”
INEVITABLE SCHOOL RIVALRY: ‘YALE IS AMAZEBALLS’
There were also some zingers we have to mention, like these Meet The Berkeley Haas MBA Class of 2018 comments, clearly full of school pride. One reader wrote, “The main problem with Haas is the deep feeling of inferiority to Stanford.” The commenter didn’t provide any evidence for this, but we’re fairly certain he or she is pro-Stanford.
And when another reader insisted that Haas was a Top Five program, along with Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, and MIT Sloan, declaring all other Top Ten programs great but noting that they are “alternative programs to these top 5,” we witnessed another commenter valiantly coming to the defense of Yale University’s School of Management.
“Gotta fact check you here: Yale is amazeballs.”
MBA HOPEFULS ARE STRESSED OUT: ‘THE PROCESS IS SO CRUEL & STUPID’
It wouldn’t be P&Q if MBA hopefuls weren’t obsessively commenting on the trials and tribulations of admissions. As business schools started reaching out to round one candidates this year, stress levels got excruciatingly high.
When HBS interview invites started rolling out, this reader expressed his frustration with the process: “The entire invitation process is just so cruel and stupid. Unevenly spread dates, keeping us crazy for a week. Just get it over with HBS, send the rejections as well. At least applicants will better utilize the net one week instead of keeping their hopes alive. I am one of them as well.”
Another reader had a very short comment, which is quite sad, and not so funny.
“ :'( “
Some people had very strong thoughts about Harvard. In the article “A Ding Or Admit? Find Out Why,” MBA hopefuls posted their profiles, and Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com, tried to explain why they may have been rejected.
One reader, in response to a woman who was dinged by Harvard, wrote “These two schools, HBS and Stanford are known for “humiliating” helpless applicants, so that when you got in later on, you will be deeply grateful for their “blessing” of giving you their “god” power to succeed in life.”
We’re not so sure about “‘god’ power” and “blessings,” but the dinged applicant wrote back, saying her morale had been lifted. So that’s good.
Finally, in response to an article about Harvard’s online CORe program of business fundamentals, one reader confessed: “I would have given a finger to be able to redo my interview and hopefully have gotten in.”
COMMENTARY ON P&Q: ‘THE DUMBEST, LEAST INFORMATIVE ARTICLE’
In the interests of being fair, we want to acknowledge some of the more humorous comments aimed at P&Q. To start us off, on the article “How Much Has HBS Changed Since Bannon Went There In 1983” one reader wrote “That was the dumbest, least informative article.”
Following an article about how consulting has risen in popularity at Columbia, a commenter said “Exactly how much did Columbia’s Marketing team/PR pay Poets&Quants to promote it so egregiously? And my God, I’ve never met a group of people that worship a school so fanatically in my life as I do with the commentators here. Find a hobby. They’re just schools.” The answer, of course, is that no one pays P&Q for coverage which is why our stories tell it like it is.
And perhaps one of our favorite, if slightly unkind, comments, was posted to the 2016 P&Q MBA Ranking. One reader wrote that “After seeing all the pushback on its recent MBA rankings results, I would think that the Bloomberg Businessweek readership base wishes that John A. Byrne was still serving as its Executive Editor and Editor-in-Chief.”
But another reader was not having it. “Look at John Byrne over here, masquerading as a random P&Q reader, pumping himself up!”
To this we say, it wasn’t John.
AND OUR FAVORITE: ‘KEEP YOUR TICTACS AT HOME’
But above all, our favorite comment of the year was a serious inquiry about TicTacs made in the immediate aftermath of the headline-grabbing video of Trump’s women grabbing comments.
I’m a good looking guy and I’ve heard most of the adcoms on Campus are gals in their 20-30’s.
I booked an HBS interview on campus and I was thinking of offering the interviewer a TicTac when I walk in? What do you think?”
Sandy Kreisberg posted this inquiry to an article about HBS interview invites, asking for advice for the good looking lad.
John’s retort? “Poets&Quants strongly recommends that you keep your TicTacs at home.”
Do you have a favorite? If so, add it to our list in the comment section below!