Yale | Ms. Impact Investing
GRE 323, GPA 3.8
Cornell Johnson | Ms. Food Waste Warrior
GMAT Not written yet (around 680), GPA 3.27
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Poet At Heart
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Ms. Future Tech Exec
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Georgetown McDonough | Ms. Air Force
GMAT 610, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Sustainable Business
GRE 331, GPA 3.86
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare Fanatic
GMAT 770, GPA 3.46
Kellogg | Mr. Finance To Education
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Rice Jones | Mr. Back To School
GRE 315, GPA 3.0
Columbia | Mr. Aussie Military Man
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0 (rough conversion from Weighted Average Mark)
Harvard | Mr. Hopeful Philanthropist
GMAT 710, GPA 3.74
Stanford GSB | Mr. FinTech
GMAT Not Taken Yet, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Analytics Man
GMAT 740, GPA 3.1
Cornell Johnson | Mr. FinTech Startup
GMAT 570, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
GRE 313, GPA 3.7
Darden | Ms. Teaching-To-Tech
GRE 326, GPA 3.47
Wharton | Mr. Microsoft Consultant
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.31
Yale | Mr. Ukrainian Biz Man
GRE 310, GPA 4.75 out of 5
Chicago Booth | Mr. Future Angel Investor
GMAT 620, GPA 3.1
Wharton | Ms. Software Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.84
Harvard | Mr. PE Strategist
GRE 326, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. FBI To MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.85
Harvard | Mr. MBB Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.9
Chicago Booth | Mr. Cal Poly
GRE 317, GPA 3.2
Darden | Ms. Business Reporter
GMAT 2150, GPA 3.6
Darden | Mr. Former Scientist
GMAT 680, GPA 3.65
Harvard | Ms. IB Deferred
GMAT 730, GPA 3.73

Aspen Ditches Its Sustainability Ranking

Six months after five top business schools declined to cooperate with the Aspen Institute’s Beyond Grey Pinstripes ranking, the organization has apparently decided to puts its ranking on hold.

The institute’s decision to “shift gears and pursue new ways to influence business education” was apparently made earlier this year and announced in March to participating schools in a letter obtained by Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

The Beyond Pinstripes rankings, published since 1999, purport to measure a business school’s commitment to sustainability. But many prominent schools, including Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan, Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, Duke University’s Fuqua School and the University of Chicago’s Booth School declined to cooperate with it last year (see Why Schools Are Saying No To Aspen).

In all, five of the top ten U.S. business schools dropped out, along with a large number of major business school players that include UCLA, Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue, Southern Methodist University, Brigham Young University, the University of Washington, Michigan State, and the University of Rochester.


For most schools that opt out, it comes down to two basic objections. First, some B-school deans don’t believe the ranking accurately reflects a school’s commitment to social and environmental issues. That’s largely because the ranking fails to take into account a school’s extracurricular activities, institutes and centers, joint degrees and specializations in the environment, sustainability, ethics, or social issues. Aspen gathers this information but doesn’t factor it into the rankings.

Secondly, the Aspen survey requires a tremendous amount of data gathering and reporting. At Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, for example, it used to take three full-time staffers nearly the entire month of December to gather and report all the information required by Aspen for its survey.

“There has been a huge growth in the number of surveys we receive – to the point where we have to triage them in order to respond with the attention to detail they require,” said James Aisner, a spokesperson for Harvard Business School, last year. “The Aspen survey is extremely time-consuming, and having examined it closely, we also have concerns about the effectiveness of its methodology and what it is trying to measure. Rather than focusing on the Aspen questionnaire, we are committed to incorporating topics relating to business and society, social impact, and environmental sustainability, and finding meaningful methods to evaluate our own progress toward those goals.”


The withdrawal by so many business schools dealt a serious credibility blow to the ranking and likely led to a larger number of schools deciding not to cooperate with the ranking this year. In an email response to BusinessWeek, an Aspen official maintained that the decision by business schools to opt out of the ranking was not a major factor in the organization’s decision to shut its ranking down.

“In making our decision, we spoke with many constituents at participating schools and others and took multiple inputs into account,” Nancy McGaw, deputy director of the institute’s Business & Society Program, told BusinessWeek. “We have extensive and ongoing relationships with business schools around the world, including many that have elected over the years not to participate in the Beyond Grey Pinstripes data-collection and ranking. I would say that schools that opted out were not a major factor in our final decision.”


About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.