SOM climbs on Aspen rankings

The School of Management is climbing the Aspen’s Global 100 business school rankings.

SOM placed third in the biennial “Beyond Grey Pinstripes” rankings, released Wednesday by the Aspen Institute, an international non-profit organization that organizes leadership and policy programs and fellowships. Yale trailed only York University’s Schulich School of Business and the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business. The rankings, which focus on the integration of social and environmental issues into business school curricula, are based on survey data compiled by a committee of students, faculty and administrators at each participating school.

Only half of the Ivy League took part in the survey: Columbia Business School took 10th placeand Cornell University’s Johnson School placed 12th, while the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University ranked 44th. Harvard Business School did not participate.

“SOM is a leader in integrating social, environmental and ethical thinking into its curriculum,” Justin Goldbach, program manager for the Center for Business Education at the Aspen Institute, said Wednesday.

The Yale survey committee was composed of 11 first and second year SOM students; staff members; Elizabeth Stauderman, associate SOM dean for communications and strategy; Bryan Garcia, the director of the Center for Business and the Environment; and Tony Sheldon, director of the Program on Social Enterprise.

Sheldon and other members of the Yale committee said the survey gave them the opportunity to look at the school’s curriculum from a different point of view.

“I think it mobilized and motivated all of us to try to identify the myriad ways that SOM engages in activities related to social and environmental values,” said Sheldon, who is also a lecturer at the School of Management.

In the fall of 2008, the Aspen Institute sent out invitations to 590 business schools to participate in the 2009-’10 Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey. Only in-person MBA programs with full-time enrollment were considered. School committees were asked to send in the syllabi of courses offered at their school, a spreadsheet containing all scholarly articles written by faculty members in peer-review journals, and to report “exemplary” extracurricular activities and programs that specifically address social, environmental or ethical topics.

The Beyond Grey Pinstripes rankings are determined on the basis of four categories: availability of relevant courses, student exposure, courses that discuss how business can improve social and environmental conditions and faculty research. This year, Yale has improved the most in two categories: student exposure, in which it jumped from 18th in 2007 to 4th in 2009, and faculty research, in which it jumped from 69th in 2007 to 16th this year.

Yale ranked third in the world for its number of courses that contain social, environmental or ethical content — the same as in 2007 — and fourth for its courses that deal with the impact of for-profit business on social and environmental issues, up from fifth in 2007.

Stauderman attributed this year’s change to the expanded range of journals that can be counted in the faculty research category and to what she called the “highly motivated” committee that compiled the survey data.

According to the Beyond Grey Pinstripes Web site, the 2009-’10 survey cycle aimed to be “more inclusive” by allowing scholarly articles published in any peer-reviewed business journal, not only those published in 70 top-tier academic journals.

Stauderman said the students on the committee were particularly enthusiastic about the survey and exhaustively assessed the relevance of every course the school offers to social and environmental issues.

“One of the great things about SOM is that these issues have been woven throughout the curriculum,” Stauderman said.

Sheldon said it was a challenge to ensure that all the people on the committee comparably rated each course, but that he enjoyed the opportunity to try to articulate some of the core values of the school that originally attracted him.

“It means a lot for such a relatively small school to be recognized for the range of its contributions in this arena and be rated so highly,” he said.

There are 417 students currently enrolled in the School of Management. According to the Office of Institutional Research, there 74 faculty members in the School of Management during the 2008-’09 academic year.

Beyond Grey Pinstripes rankings are based on data supplied from 149 different business schools from 24 countries.

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