FUQUA REPORTS ONLY 6% ‘DETRACTORS’
Bain & Co. partner, Fred Reichheld created the net promoter score in 20o3 to measure how well a company “generates relationships worthy of loyalty.” Survey respondents are asked to answer a question on a zero to ten scale revolving around how likely they are to recommend a service, company, or product to someone. Anyone who answers a nine or ten is considered a “promoter,” a seven or eight is considered a “fence sitter,” and a zero to six is considered a “detractor.” The net promoter score is found by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. In Fuqua’s case, 73% of the respondents were promoters while a mere 6% were detractors, resulting in the iPhone-equivalent finding.
Perhaps more impressive than Fuqua’s actual score of 67 is the fact that only 6% of those surveyed were detractors. Harvard reported about 62% promoters and 22% detractors and rounded the score up to 41. Wharton had about 62% promoters but only 11% detractors and rounded the score to 51%.
Of course, the methods and survey are informal and should be taken loosely when compared against schools. Still, Boulding states, it can be used as a good benchmark and indicator of a B-school’s performance. “The nice thing about a net promoter score is it’s a benchmark that’s used across a wide variety of products and services,” Boulding maintains. “But it’s not the end-all, be-all. It’s not one summary measure that tells you everything.”
‘OUR SCORE IS A REFLECTION OF A COMMUNITY THAT VALUES EACH OTHER’
Boulding expects other B-schools to do similar surveys. After all, he says, net promoter analysis is now a common measurement across industries and sectors and creates an index of attractiveness. In 2014, for example, Pandora scored a 56, Netflix a 54, and Amazon, 64. Southwest Airlines had the highest score (62) of all airline companies and US Airways had an abysmal -8 (yes, it’s very possible to get a negative score).
Boulding believes Fuqua’s high score is “a reflection of a community that values each other” and is in part a reflection of students experiencing success in their post-MBA careers. “It’s a circular kind of logic on my part that we chose the right people, and we nurtured them in the right ways. They’ve gone on to great success in their careers, and they are giving high marks back to the school and saying this is an experience I’d recommend to anyone else because it worked for me.
“It’s a community that has an enormous amount of energy, and therefore, is willing to work really hard in a way that brings out the best in each other,” he continues. “They have this interesting combination of personal humility for themselves and an enormous amount of ambition for others. And I think that because of these characteristics, these are people who are magnets in their companies because they have an instinct to draw out strengths in the people around them. ”
The main bummer, however, from Fuqua’s survey is there was no qualitative comment section. While the Harvard and Wharton surveys included qualitative responses that led to some entertaining complaints, Boulding says their survey did not include a comments section. Boulding did note that the survey was closed to certain demographics of alums after the designed quota was reached, to ensure a greater diversity of respondents.