Number one reason I hate lists

The Wall Street Journal and Harris Interactive have conducted a survey of corporate recruiters, asking which are the “top MBA programs.” The full results will be published later today, so we can save grousing about the criteria and the questionability of recruiters’ opinions until then. For now, let’s take a look at the top five schools.

Or rather, let’s look at the three lists of top five schools, because they couldn’t narrow things down to a single list:

The Top North American Schools

National picks:
1. University of Michigan (Ross)
2. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)
3. Dartmouth (Tuck)
4. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
5. University of Chicago

Regional picks:
1. Purdue University (Krannert)
2. Vanderbilt University (Owen)
3. Ohio State University (Fisher)
4. University of Maryland (Smith)
5. Brigham Young University (Marriott)

The Top International Schools

1. IMD International
2. University of London (London Business School)
3. Escuela Superior de Administracion y Direccion de Empresas (ESADE)
4. HEC School of Management, Paris
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) – Recruiters’ Top M.B.A. Picks

Do you notice anything odd about the lists? What makes an “international school”? Why is Wharton, which has long specialized in international business, a national school while Sloan, which is arguably better at finance, economics, and technology management, an international school?

Lists like these help smaller and lesser-known schools build awareness, which helps them compete with the brand-name schools. But they also carry so much weight that they can skew activities at the school, diverting attention from learning and research.