Warwick climbs the rankings… again

According to the new FT MBA survey, Warwick’s MBA programme is now in the world’s top 30. Edging past longtime rival Cranfield and leaving famous names like Carnegie Mellon, Imperial College, and Thunderbird in the dust. A great result, especially considering Warwick’s egalitarian admissions policy, which looks for ‘interesting’ people (often older and with esoteric backgrounds) rather than thrusting one-dimensional young banker types (Hi, Oxford Said!)

Warwick treats the FT list as key, although I prefer the Economist’s, which uses slightly more esoteric criteria but ‘feels right’ somehow. Nobody outside North America bothers with the Business Week rankings; whatever anyone says, they’re COMPLETELY American biased, with even the ‘international schools’ list concentrating on… Canada.

But the FT ranking is great news, and you know what? It’s only going to get better.

Today I’m submitting an assignment for the strangest of the compulsory modules, Practice of Management: a new course in ‘soft skills’ designed to answer the complaint that MBA graduates are too quantitative and not people-focussed enough. Like all newly-introduced courses, POM is rather obviously not bedded-in yet, and grumbling among the cohort is continuous.

The lectures – delivered by outside consultants including the great Nicholas Bate – are often individually very good; the problems here are with coherence. There’s no strong sense of each session being part of a larger whole. There’s a bigger issue with the project part; if you’ve got some years of business experience already, the briefs are insultingly simplistic yet labour-intensive, reducing the value-add: it’s just busywork. The ‘real world experience’ is all very well, but most of us came here to escape the real world for a while and learn something with academic rigour without the goo and dribble of the real world intruding. But all this misses the point.

The point is that POM is a work in progress. Every year it’ll get tweaked and tuned, and in a decade it could be a world-beater, capable of putting Warwick into the top 10 all on its own. I hope WBS takes every opportunity to make that happen.

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