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I've been saying this all along. It's a game. You increase tuition, you invite as many unqualified applicants as possible to apply, you artificially pump up GMAT scores for no reason other than rank, and you make yourself appear more selective than you truly are.
That said, excellent post and everyone should read this.
Very interesting report. I disagree with their conclusion that pumping money into things like comfortable facilities and concierge services does not help improve a business school. In BW's rankings this year, they cite a huge improvement in concierge type services for recruiters at Berkeley, and in turn many recruiters that didn't used to recruit at the school now recruit there. Also, if nice fancy facilities help attract the best students, that does in fact improve the quality of the program.
I do agree that pumping up things like admit rate, yield and average scores do help to increase the perceived selectivity and quality of a school. A rise in such perceived quality (reflected in rankings and other things) will have the effect of attracting better students and might, after several years, result in an actual improvement in quality. That's why I believe, if you think you will ever look for a job down the road, it is important to consider improvements that a school is making.
For example, Michigan is just outside ultra-elite status right now, but if their grand new building allows them to attract more top students and brings in more top employers, the result could be improved rankings down the road, which would in turn help attract more students and recruiters, etc. Increased selectivity and yield would also naturally result. It sure seems to have worked for Chicago.
HBS: Reimagining Capitalism: Business and Big Problems : Growing income inequality, poor or declining educational systems, unequal access to affordable health care and the fear of continuing economic distress...