Does The World Need Another B-School Ranking?

Publishing a research paper can take years. If a professor moves before the paper is published, who gets the credit?

Let’s say I worked on an article while I was here at University of Texas at Dallas. The next year I am at the University of Washington and the paper gets accepted and is published. University of Washington will get the credit.

But isn’t there a bias there as the wrong university gets the credit?

There is no bias because people move all the time and chances are when that faculty moves away, some other faculty moves in their place. There is no way you can capture what percentage of the article was written in one school versus the other school. This we believe is the most accurate because the faculty member belongs to that school at the time the article appears.

A school might be doing a lot of practitioner-oriented research. It might be doing great work in, say, entrepreneurship with immense practical application, but it could be publishing very few papers on the subject. Does the ranking factor that in at all?

Practitioner research is not captured in journals. Some of it is. I don’t see it as a shortcoming. We can’t solve everybody’s need and desires. Someone else can start this ranking.

When you look at schools outside North America and Europe, do you factor in regional peer-reviewed research journals? After all, good B-schools in Asia-Pacific publish a significant amount of research in regional research journals as well as global ones and it would be wrong to ignore that.

I have talked to Asian B-schools and they recognize that these are the top journals in the world. It is true that a lot of their publications have come out in journals are US-based. That’s because business education is dominated by the U.S.

A school might be prolific in its research output but another one might be publishing less research but having greater impact. C.K. Prahalad came up with a winning idea that had widespread impact for a decade. But at the end of the day, it was just one article.

Here’s the beauty of research. No one really knows what the impact will be next year or five years from now. My colleagues try to measure research impact as short-term impact. Our position is that we are measuring output in research journals. Each article goes through a process of refereeing by the leading academics of our time. Citations and impact will be highly correlated to the publications in these journals because the academicians that review what gets in are the leading minds of our times. In general, the research appearing in these journals will have the right kind of results in the short term. Some of it gets immediate impact in terms of thousands of citations. This can be used as an excellent proxy of what the citations will be five years from now and what the impact will be. But it is very difficult to do a ranking based on citations.


Doesn’t the ranking lack credibility because UT-Dallas comes out so high, above Berkeley, UCLA, Dartmouth, Cornell and Yale?
A person who is not up on leading business school research might have that question. However, the main audience, faculty members in business schools are in a position to appreciate the quality of the journals and hence the credibility of the ranking. I suggest that you do your own investigation with regards to these journals and you will see that by and large these are the leading journals in various business disciplines.  Also we have not always been ranked so high. In early days, UTD was ranked in the 40s and was far behind schools like Berkeley, UCLA etc. We have invested in research active faculty and have improved our position over time. By the way, we are not the only school which has made a significant move. I will point out Robert H. Smith School of Business at University of Maryland as another. Also, please note that we are not only a research school, those who are following business schools would know that we are a top 40 US News and World Report MBA School and top 25 BusinessWeek Executive MBA and Professional MBA school. I hope these facts help put things in perspective.


(See next page for the top 50 business schools on the research ranking.)