A Wacky Follies Look At MBA Rankings

No one has ever ranked Columbia Business School No. 1, and it’s unlikely to ever happen.

But when it comes to MBA Follies’ shows, there’s no question about it. CBS rocks the house.

The latest performance includes this must-see satire on MBA rankings that allows Columbia students to poke great fun at all their rivals, from Wharton and Booth to Kellogg and Harvard.

The video starts inside the offices of U.S. News & World Report and goes on from there.

A sample of the hilarious lyrics:

You know it’s kind of hard just to be Top Ten these days, our building isn’t great and we do too much cocaine. Our library may be crowded and our food is real gross but we got Warren Buffet and Wall Street is so close.

Wharton’s in top eight, they overcompensate. At least we know we’ll never be confused with Penn State.

We get that Harvard’s up there, and Stanford, we agree. But Booth at number three? Are you fucking kidding me?



  • Josh

    As one of your “best and brightest” I was incredibly thankful and honored for the privilege of getting selected. I even wrote Jeff Schmitt a thank you note for including me this year. That being said, seeing this on P&Q was incredibly disappointing and isn’t representative with the values I emphasized in the piece you highlighted about me. This video is outdated and just plain wrong. It might have been acceptable 15-20 years ago but thankfully, most of us have grown up. To be clear – it is not funny. CBS is a great program and this likely was for internal use only (still not ok) but your publishing of it is pretty disparaging. As a father to 3 little girls I’ll think twice about my kids considering CBS solely because of this video. You’re doing more damage than good to their program despite them creating it. No one with any sense is looking at this video saying “oh cool…now I want to apply to CBS after seeing this!” Instead you’re getting a certain population with no opinion, and another population thinking “I’m nixing that application.” Really disappointed and hope you just remove the video in the next few days. This isn’t about free speech – don’t get confused. You’re just wrong here – own it and delete the video.

  • Chris

    “If the women who watch this video can’t see the satire at the heart of the video, then perhaps it is their responsibility to broaden their horizons and grasp all of the context behind the video.”

    I’m not a woman. In no context is this okay.


  • student1

    @poetsandquants-c81e728d9d4c2f636f067f89cc14862c:disqus, interesting that you point out how busy you’ve been with the best and brightest series. Have you considered what the friends and family of 2017’s Best and Brightest may accidentally find when they navigate to the sight? For example, say one of the Best and Brightest has a little sister on facebook, and stumbles across this and think this is what MBA life is like for women? I’ll probably need to stop to sharing P&Q media. What you thought might increase viewership is actually harming your credibility. Make better choices.

  • somsquared

    It really bothers me that the girl in the video can’t chew her pretzel with her mouth closed. Seriously…

  • paratroopermba

    It’s never appropriate to make these jokes?

    Alright, well you have fun with your definition of humor – I’m sure it works for you. Unfortunately, the rest of the world does not revolve around your definition of appropriate and inappropriate humor. I can understand the idea that some humor is unacceptable some of the time, due to context. However, you (or anyone else) do not get to completely forbid humor concerning one important part of our society.

    If the women who watch this video can’t see the satire at the heart of the video, then perhaps it is their responsibility to broaden their horizons and grasp all of the context behind the video.

    Women being in on the joke doesn’t make it okay? A woman making fun of herself is ALWAYS okay. The ability to be self-deprecating is highly valued in civilization. Constantly being serious about all topics all the time is a great way to isolate yourself from normal functioning people. This is the exact attitude that feminists fight against in many spheres nowadays. Whether it’s abortion rights panels that don’t include women, public shaming for revealing outfits and voluntary nudity, or equal access to education, there are far too many women (and men, for that matter) who argue that “real feminists don’t do” this or that. No one person gets to decide that, and certainly not in the field of humor.

  • adselge

    You meant Harvard, Stanford, Wharton. That is the holy trinity and it has been so for quite some time. Booth comes after.

  • adselge

    SOM is beyond overrated. Hardly a top 10 school.

  • Sorry for the delay in getting back on this. We’ve been super busy of late getting out the best and brightest series. While I am not insensitive to the concerns you are raising, merely bringing attention to what many will find to be an entertaining video is not an endorsement of some of the foul language in the video or the perceived treatment of women who agreed to participate in the filming of the video. I very much doubt that the female students who are in this video have or had a problem with it. If so, I would love to hear from them. As is often the case with humor, some people will find it funny. Others will be offended. No matter where you stand on this issue, it’s important for people to have the freedom to do such a video and for people to have different perspectives on it.

  • Bill38

    Guys seriously, this video is meant to be a joke and in case you didn’t notice, they are also making fun of themselves. It is not meant to send any political message. That is why probably most people don’t care about it, it is not meant serious and does not reflect any views of the world. It is just funny and I would assume that John considers this the same way.

  • MBAStudentClassof2018

    Hi @poetsandquants-709f74cf9721328e98be6f216e8a05a8:disqus – great questions. It’s never appropriate for people to make these jokes. The people getting hurt here are the women who are looking for news about MBA programs and seeing that students (and Poets & Quants) make light of the very serious problem of women being continuously objectified and disrespected. Finally, women being in on the joke still doesn’t make it ok. I too would like to request a formal response from John Byrne to explain why he finds this video so wacky and fun.

  • Amanda Fried


  • JohnByrneispissinagirloff

    I’m with @poetsandquants-0137cf7a39941220a946fe9b8298d6d7:disqus. Columbia students can make whatever follies videos they want, and leave it up to the viewer to determine if they want to attend or take a school seriously that perpetuates lame, sexist jokes.

    My issue is with John Byrne, who decided to give this tasteless video a public platform on Poets & Quants. Can I please get a response, John Byrne, as to why you find this so hilarious and don’t take issue with the sexism it presents?

  • paratroopermba

    Exactly when are people allowed to make these types of jokes, then? Female comedians (including extremely successful and well-known ones) make ‘degrading’ jokes all the time. It was a female student making the joke, or at least a team including women. There’s no threat toward the student – no job offer at stake, no one’s being paid, there’s no loss if she doesn’t make the joke. Sooooo…..who exactly is getting hurt here? They’re making fun of a couple stereotypes in business (not enough women, rankings being swing-y, women getting by on looks) and having fun while doing it.

  • student1


  • student1

    I’m all for follies, but a scene depicting an NYU Stern woman coming up from giving a sexual favor in exchange for US News Rankings crosses the line, and can’t be good for Columbia’s recruiting efforts. Poor form for all involved.

  • MBAStudentClassof2018

    I don’t find anything “wacky” about the depiction of women giving sexual favors to improve rankings, or the comment to “let in more chicks” while men in the background make inappropriate sexual gestures. I’m sure that there are plenty of hilarious follies videos from MBA programs that don’t feel the need to make a joke out of degrading women. If this is the kind of content that Poets & Quants thinks is a good reflection of their values or sense of humor, I’ll be sure to tell my prospective friends to look elsewhere for their MBA news.

  • What?

    Ironically, says the guy posting comments on poets & quants. What are you up to then? Just reading this blog for funsies?

  • somsquared

    Lol yeah, ok, CBS. Keep pretending your better than SOM.

  • HarvardWinsAgain

    its realistic. Its not bias. Columbia is not number 1 nor will it ever be. for it to be number 1, it has to get beeter at bigger increments consistently vs all 10 other schools. Barring a catastrophe at Harvard, Stanford and Booth all at the same time, it is NEVER going to happen

  • elite

    “No one has ever ranked Columbia Business School No. 1, and it’s unlikely to ever happen.”
    John – the FT ranking of rankings ranked CBS as #1, u can wikipedia it
    Unlikely to ever happen? didn’t know P&Q can forecast the next 100 years can forecast the new building at CBS and all the investments pouring into NYC
    Please be objective ! P&Q bias is so obvious

  • Hahaha

    Love it!

  • SranfordOrBooth

    Its one video out of many videos, live performances, spiels, etc. Lighten up.

    They do have better follies than Harvard Stanford or Booth. And that dude is hot 😉

  • anonanimal

    We’re talking about MBA programs. The entire existence of these places is justified by banal gradations in prestige enforced by outdated publications like US News rather than the dissemination of actual useful knowledge. As a result, I would expect every single student at every single program to be laser focused on the rankings of his or her program. At least Columbia makes light of their fixation.

    Now go back to writing your pointless admissions essay and trawling Sandy’s admissions percentages. Thanks.

  • lol

    The entire video is about USNWR rankings?? Can you say inferiority complex….

  • PQ Poetess

    Yeah, that’s Stanford not CBS

  • Editor

    Wrong video