Rankings: love them or hate them, just don’t ignore them

2 June 2014
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It’s that time of year again: wherever you look, there’s another table ranking business schools and universities on their merits of being institutions of great learning, places for great life experiences or hot houses for accelerated career success.

This year’s keenly anticipated May release of the FT Executive Education Rankings 2014 made interesting reading for me. Of the five UK business schools (London Business School; Cranfield School of Management; University of Oxford:Said; Ashridge; and Henley Business School) that make the Top 50, four are our clients and that gives me enormous satisfaction.
I’ve been working with the higher education sector for ten years now and have an almost unhealthy appetite for devouring the statistics and data around rankings. I’m always keen to see where my clients appear – are they higher than last year? Who are the movers and shakers? Can I see the devil in the detail and understand why some schools do better than others?

The answer is, yes. In my day to day work I’m talking to Deans, Vice Chancellors and Heads of Faculty which puts me a privileged position of understanding the pressures they face over continued funding, of recruiting a high calibre cohort, of promoting their overseas programmes; in short, improving the international reputation of their business school. Every week I’m sharing my knowledge and insight of the sector. In my mind, it’s beyond doubt that a school’s reputation is impacted by rankings. And reputation clearly influences levels of recruitment. There’s a body of evidence too that suggests a strong showing in the rankings has a direct impact on employability and on earning potential.

So, if you thought you could maximise your opportunity in the rankings or know the steps to improving your position in any way, wouldn’t you want to know how?

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