BBW’s failure to normalize the raw scores before applying the weights generated by their survey respondents leads to substantial distortion of the weights. Equivalently, preserving the weights scrambles the published ranking (except for Canadian schools). The magazine continues to extol the unique virtue of letting their survey respondents determine the weights (i.e., the relative importance) of the factors used in the ranking, but their methodology deforms these weights so substantially as to make a farce of the claim of virtue.
In what follows, I present the results of my computation for each of BBW’s non-U.S. rankings. The computation is identical to that described in the aforementioned article on BBW’s U.S. ranking, except that BBW does not use diversity as a factor in its non-U.S. rankings.
The effective weights one must use to replicate BBW’s published ranking of European schools are very different from the stakeholder-generated weights, biasing the ranking in favor of compensation at the expense of learning, networking, and entrepreneurship.
On the other hand, if the stakeholder weights were applied without distortion, the rank order would change:
Because BBW ranks only six Canadian b-schools, the distortion of weights produced by their methodology is relatively less severe, and the published ranking is not altered by applying the stakeholder weights properly. The proper application of stakeholder weights does change the overall score of each school, but the changes in overall score occur within the published ordinal rank of the six schools.
With only seven Asian schools in the ranking, the distortion of weights is less extreme than for European schools, but it resembles the latter in its bias towards compensation at the expense of leaning, networking, and entrepreneurship.
The weight-preserving rank order differs from BBW’s published ranking, but the reordering is less scrambled than for European schools.
Postscript: There has been no response from BBW editors to the criticism published in P&Q. It appears that they are unwilling to preserve the stakeholder-generated weights because the resulting rankings would stretch credulity and further erode the credibility of BBW’s ranking. If this is indeed their stance, they should drop the pretense of honoring the stakeholder-generated weights, which their computation ends up distorting beyond recognition.
Author Anjani Jain is the Deputy Dean for Academic Programs & a Professor in the Practice of Management at the Yale School of Management. His research interests include the analysis and design of manufacturing systems, optimization algorithms, and probabilistic analysis of combinatorial problems. A long-time observer of MBA rankings, Jain had also been director of Wharton’s MBA Program, Vice Dean and Director of Wharton’s Graduate Division and Vice Dean of Wharton’s MBA Program for Executives.