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CEIBS Zurich Campus Team

1 MBA in Switzerland is the Zurich Global Executive MBA offererd by CEIBS.
1 MBA in Switzerland: the Global Executive MBA offererd by CEIBS.



«Many CEOs character traits are the same as those of psychopaths.» – part 1

Leadership! – Interview with Jack D. Wood

Why is continual higher learning like the GEMBA the appropriate way to battle an increasingly complex global economic environment?

I don’t think you want to ‘battle’ the complex global economic environment; I think you want to understand it so you can work within it without fearing it and without losing your humanity.

Executives and the business press today overestimate the importance of technology.  Companies, and countries, fail not because they don’t have technology or money or because of the perception of complexity, they fail because of failures in leadership.

The CEIBS GEMBA, like the IMD MBA that ran from 2001 until 2012, was unique in its focus on leadership.  Without first-rate leadership, businesses cannot compete and public sector organizations will flounder.

Usually it’s the other way round….

That is right. Most employees entering businesses have technical skills and technical training.  They end up working in companies for five or ten years, and then it becomes clear that their technical skills and technical training are not enough.  They need leadership skills.  These managers are trained in a cognitive and rational way, and they look at situations as if organizations with people ran like an engineering system.  But businesses don’t run like automobiles.  They are full of people.  And these people have to be treated differently than you treat circuits on an assembly line.  Military organizations actually work differently: first you become an officer, then you learn how to pilot an airplane or command a ship. Leadership skills come first and technical skills come later.

You mean that in industry there is a big gap between technical training and leadership training?

In industry you end up with technically trained people who after ten years end up managing people at work and having families at home and none of their technical skills help them to do either.  Leadership and behavioral skills are central.  So why is there a leadership focus on the GEMBA? If you can get the leadership stuff right, you will be positioned to have much better decision-making in all business areas–whether it’s a question of accounting, finance, operations, whatever. If you don’t get leadership right, you always make a mess of all other organizational decision-making.

However, not everybody is born to be a leader…

There is a widespread misconception about the distinction between ‘leader’ and ‘leadership’—the one is a formal role and the second is a behavioral process.  Conventional thinking mistakenly assumes that the person on top of the organization is ‘the leader’.  But leadership is a process that occurs throughout the organization.  A German HR exec was planning a program for young high potential managers, and she came to see me and asked me what I did.  I gave her my assignments and readings.  A few months later she came back and said that she liked my readings and assignments but could I remove the words ‘leader’ and ‘leadership’ from the material. I asked why she wanted me to do that. She said that she didn’t to want the young managers to come back from my course and think that they would be leaders. I said, “Let’s go to the kindergarten and look through the big window.” It was a wall of glass. Behind it were dozens of kids. I asked her if she could see any leadership being exercised among the children in the kindergarten? She said yes. Some of the kids were organizing the others, initiating games, leading. And so I said to her: Ok, let’s talk about what leadership is and what it isn’t.  There is a difference between a ‘leader’ which is a formal role, and ‘leadership’ which is a process that occurs at all levels of an organization—or any group, including one’s family.

Is your personal-development aspect, similar to the one which you established at IMD, which distinguishes the GEMBA from other EMBA programs?

All business schools that ‘teach leadership’ focus on a personal or individual level.  Mostly the focus is in the classroom and sometimes there are a few hours of personal ‘coaching’. The main differences with leadership work I do is that we don’t just focus on the personal, individual level, we work on the group and organizational levels—and we work in depth.

All leadership is exercised in small groups. Even if you are a President or a Prime Minister you still work in a small group.  So, we focus on the small group. Most schools and organizations do individual coaching but in fact you never work with somebody as an individual only.  If you’re thrown into a group, and you think it’s just a collection of individuals with their own traits, you just don’t understand the unconscious dynamics of how the group works. If you don’t understand why people are subgrouping, why the agenda on the table is not the real agenda but the agenda under the table is, then you’ll never be an effective leader.

But is leadership not mostly about motivating people?


Traditional ‘leadership’ is based on dominance, hierarchy and obedience. But dominance is not leadership.  Dominance—authoritarian behavior—is a kind of archaic or primitive leadership.  It works with baboons but it doesn’t work with humans very well—unless there is a crisis.  This is why authoritarian leaders create and exacerbate crises, to permit them to behave in an authoritarian manner. This is true in Switzerland, the US, Russia, China, everywhere.  Dominating your subordinates with your formal authority may bring compliance, but it will never bring commitment.  Authoritarian leadership is the same everywhere.   The collective desire for dominant and authoritarian leadership is more pronounced in times of insecurity and fear. Today is an example.  And it’s dangerous.


What would be a more behavioral approach?


If you understand what drives people’s unconscious behavior, you can exercise leadership in a deeper, more effective way. Nelson Mandela’s name comes up often as a great leader. Mandela spent 27 years in prison. He went into prison as an angry young man, but after a while he realized that his anger way toxic to himself, so he became curious about why the whites treated the blacks so badly. He started talking to his jailers to understand them.  He learned that the reason whites treated the blacks badly was because they were afraid of the blacks—that’s why whites were persecuting blacks.  And when he got out of prison, his advisors were telling him they could not take revenge on the whites. But Mandela said no, and he addressed the fears of the whites, not the bitterness of the whites. That’s why he was a remarkable leader, because he could address the unconscious and irrational elements.  Robert Mugabe in former Rhodesia did exactly the opposite, and Zimbabwe is a mess now: same kind of history, same kind of resources, same legacy of white rule, different black leadership, so different results—success in South Africa and failure in Zimbabwe.


Not everyone has what it takes to be Nelson Mandela…


Well actually almost everyone does.  In today’s environment you get a lot of would be leaders playing to fear and exaggerating it, basically manipulating people into supporting them because of fear, so that they can justify behaving in an authoritarian manner. Hitler and Stalin did that. Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are examples today. It’s an old trick: generate and exacerbate fear among the people, and manipulate them into following your fabricated solutions—it’s narcissistic and pathological.  There are lots of ‘top executives’ who operate this way too.  There is a lot of current research that identifies that the character traits of many CEOs are the same as those of psychopaths.


If you exercise leadership today, you can’t understand things by only working on yourself—like getting personal coaching—because you’re trapped in a system that you don’t understand.  Of course you have to understand the psychological dynamics that drive you, but you need to understand what drives those around you too.


And how shall we escape the system in which we are trapped?


That is why I approach leadership as an essential element in a wider system, like a family is a system. Years ago psychologists realized that working with an individual patient had little effect because the patients would improve in the clinic and get worse at home and they found out that it was the dynamics in the family that made them ill in the first place, not some pathology inherent within the individual patient.  They understood something was going on in the family system that was making that individual sick.


So they started looking at families as a system.  Similarly, we look at groups as a system.  Most of us worked in groups and teams. At IMD there were many MBA students who were former military officers—former American green berets, British and Swiss officers—they told me that the way we did leadership gave them insights that they never had on how groups and organizations worked.  They said the lenses we provided them clarified things that they never were clear about because in most organizations you just plough through learning about ‘what you’re supposed to do’ without ever understanding what is underneath. That is what we train in the GEMBA: to think psychologically; to look under the surface.


Your leadership module will start in two weeks (26 Sept 2016). Can you say something in this context about the first module without blowing it?


Organizational life revolves around a core of leadership.  The core of the first module is leadership because when you understand deeply what leadership is and what it is not, then this will make your decision-making in all other kind of business functions more effective. We try to put in place a foundation for understanding and exercising leadership responsibly that will carry participants forward for the rest of the program and for the rest of their careers.

(end of part 1 – part 2 coming soon)


Jack Denfeld Wood

Jack is Professor of Management Practice and Organisational Behaviour at the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai, China; Emeritus Professor of Leadership and Organisational Behaviour at the International Management Development Institute (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Visiting Professor at the Moscow School of Management (Skolkovo) in Russia. Jack has Swiss and American nationality. His academic publications and areas of special interest include the role of unconscious processes in leadership and followership, group dynamics, and ideology. Along with his academic work and organisational consultation, Jack is a practicing psychotherapist and a diploma candidate at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zürich. He is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Academy of Management (AOM), the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems (AKRI) and the International Transactional Analysis Association (ITAA).

– See more at: http://www.lorange.org/en/person/Academic/jack-denfeld-wood#sthash.8D3MUe2S.dpuf

Unternehmensführung: es geht um Menschen, nicht Systeme.

von Hüseyin Özdemir

Durch meine fast 30-jährige Erfahrung in den Bereichen Führung, Strategie- und Organisationsentwicklung sowie Coaching, stelle ich als Experte in diesem Bereich immer wieder fest, dass der einzelne Mensch im System zu wenig berücksichtig wird, was fatale Folgen für den Unternehmenserfolg birgt:

Steigende Fluktuation, schlechtere Leistung, Motivationslosigkeit und fehlendes Commitment des einzelnen Mitarbeiters. Oft wird zwar an den Folgen gearbeitet, aber das Hauptproblem wird nicht ausreichend beachtet oder erst, wenn das Kind schon in den Brunnen gefallen ist.

Ich und mein Team, werden genau dann von Firmen engagiert, wenn z.B. aufgrund schlechter Ergebnisse einer Mitarbeiterbefragung oder anderweitiger Probleme, die Herausforderungen für das Unternehmen so gross sind, dass sie es alleine nicht mehr stemmen können.

Die einzelnen Unternehmen haben zuvor schon vielfältige Massnahmen getroffen und Ihren Angestellten unzählige Angebote offeriert; dennoch werden diese entweder nicht angenommen oder es führt nicht zum gewünschten Ziel.

Executive MBA – immer populärer

In fast allen Fällen, kristallisiert sich heraus, dass die Problematik auf die Leadership Ebene zurückzuführen ist. Im BWL Studium werden zukünftigen Führungskräfte kaum oder sehr mangelhaft mit Theorien zu den verschiedenen Führungsmodellen vertraut gemacht, und wie diese umzusetzen und anzuwenden sind, wird gar nicht erst erprobt.

Junge BWL Absolventen werden somit nicht auf Ihre Führungsrolle vorbereit, und dieser Zustand ist im heutigen Zeitalter nicht mehr haltbar. Dies ist mit ein Grund, weshalb Executives MBA`s immer populärer werden.

Es ist ein Irrglaube, dass Führung und Tagesgeschäft einfach so nebeneinander herlaufen können

Erst dort werden die Führungsverantwortlichen mit der Vielschichtigkeit Ihrer Rolle, den gestellten Erwartungen an sie und hilfreichen Instrumenten und praxisnahen Modellen vertraut gemacht, die sie innerhalb dieses Studiums erproben, vertiefen und anwenden können.

Durch eine Feedbackstruktur, Erkennen der eigenen Defizite und das Arbeiten daran, mit Tools und dem Austausch mit weiteren Führungsverantwortlichen aus anderen Unternehmen, werden die angehenden Top Manager in ihrer eigenen Rolle bestärkt.  Dieses neugewonnene Wissen und Können trägt er in sein Unternehmen.

Das ist es, worauf es ankommt: An sich arbeiten und sich weiterentwickeln.

Gute Führung benötigt Zeit und ein klares Rollenverständnis

Die Führung von Menschen ist eine anspruchsvolle Aufgabe. Oft müssen in Unternehmen erst wieder neue Strukturen geschaffen werden, damit die Führungskraft überhaupt, neben dem Alltagsgeschäft, wieder Zeit hat, seine Mitarbeitenden zu führen.

Es ist ein Irrglaube, dass dies nebenherlaufen kann. Nein:  gute Führung benötigt Zeit und ein klares Rollenverständnis. Fehlende Führung oder fehlerhaftes Führungsverhalten wird von den Mitarbeiteten früher oder später, direkt oder indirekt, abgestraft und dies wiederum spiegelt sich langfristig in der ganzen Unternehmenskultur wieder.

Es ist oft ein langer und emotionaler Weg, verlorengegangenes Vertrauen und starre Strukturen, die aufgrund von schlechter Führung über Jahre geprägt worden sind, wieder hin zu einem positiven und offenen Miteinander zu entwickeln.

Um die Executives in Ihrer Rolle und in Ihrer Führung zu unterstützen, haben wir in Kooperation mit dem Lorange Institute of Business Zürich eine aus ähnlichen Angeboten herausragende Ausbildung entwickelt, um die oben genannten Führungsproblematiken anzugehen.

Zielgerichtete und lösungsorientierte Weiterbildung

Die Weiterbildung ist zielgerichtet und lösungsorientiert aufgebaut. Teilnehmer werden befähigt, ihr Führungsverhalten unter vielen Gesichtspunkten zu reflektieren. Dabei versuchen wir, die Existenzberechtigung vieler Wahrheiten zu berücksichtigen und, unter Berücksichtigung des Kontextes, Handlungsoptionen aufzuzeigen.

Organisationen und ihre Kulturen sind komplexe Systeme. Wir begleiten Menschen unter Einbezug der persönlichen, der team- und der organisationalen Ebene. Durch kontinuierliche Selbstentwicklung der Teilnehmer werden deren fachliche und persönliche Fähigkeiten erweitert.

Ich persönlich sehe sowohl diese persönliche Auseinandersetzung mit dem eigenen Führungsverhalten unter Berücksichtigung des organisationalen Kontextes als auch die berufliche und auch persönliche Weiterentwicklung als Erfolgsfaktor für eine gelungene Führungsfunktion.


Systemisches Denken, also unser Selbstverständnis und unsere Haltung, begleitet uns in der Beratungs- und Coachingarbeit. Systemisches Denken und Handeln ist auch der Coaching-Ansatz dieser Weiterbildung: Executive Coaching „Next Level Leadership 2.0“.

2016-08 Dr. Hüseyin Özedmir_xs.jpeg
Dr. phil. Hüseyin Özdemir, Dipl. Oec., Geschäftsführer oezpa GmbH. Akademie und Consulting. http://www.oezpa.de

Unsere zertifizierten Absolventinnen und Absolventen der Weiterbildung werden befähigt, als interner und externer Coach praxisnah und lösungsorientiert auf Ihre zukünftigen Aufgaben zuzugehen. Durch kontinuierliche Selbstentwicklung der Teilnehmer werden deren fachliche und persönliche Fähigkeiten erweitert.

Innerhalb des Executive Coaching „Next Level Leadership 2.0“ Basics Programm erwerben die Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmer wichtige und grundlegende Kompetenzen für die Arbeit als Leading-Coach.

Aufbauend erstreckt sich dann unser Executive Coaching Advanced Programm. Den Schwerpunkt kann die Teilnehmerin bzw. Teilnehmer selbst wählen. Hauptaugenmerk liegt hierbei auf und den immer grösser werdenden Anforderungen als Führungskraft und ihren Herausforderungen, gerade im Zeitalter der Digitalisierung, der Internationalisierung und der Globalisierung.


Programm am Lorange Institute of Business

Unsere Executive Coaching Weiterbildung „Next Level Leadership 2.0“ soll Ihnen bei der Gestaltung dieser Herausforderungen Wegbegleiter sein.

Mehr unter: http://www.lorange.org/de/lernen/partner-programme oder clicken Sie auf den Banner.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-08-29 um 11.58.31

Let’s solve youth unemployment

Dear reader

Employment is one of the key issues of today. Usually, we talk about human capital management, talent retention and alike. But there is a form of wasting talent that affects us all: youth unemployment.

The problem: 60% of surveyed employers across Europe cannot find young candidates with the right soft skills & competencies. 7.5 million young people across Europe are out of a job, training or education. 2 million jobs are vacant and cannot be filled, limiting the growth potential of employers and creating instability for societies.

eYe Training

For this purpose the Circular Society, a Swiss-based for-profit enterprise that applies a business approach to solve social issues and which aims at creating sustainable business and societies, has designed the eYe-training curriculum to find jobs for unemployed youth in Portugal.

Carsten Sudhoff is the founder and CEO of Circular Society and one of the project originators. I know him personally and we, the Lorange Institute of Business, are a partner of Circular Society. Consequently, this partnership resulted in several events that we organized together. The latest event was about interconnected leadership.

As a partner, we also support  the foresighted initiative eYe-training to solve youth unemployment and we recommend that others take there cue from the various supporters.

Kind regards,
Peter Lorange



“I figured I couldn’t be fired on my first day”

Dear reader

Have you ever asked yourself, what courage has to do with leadership in organizations today?

Andy Boynton*), Dean of Boston College’s Carroll School of Managementand Margareta Barchan**), faculty at the Lorange Insitute of Business, asked this question Paul Polman, CEO at Unilever when they sat with him at Unilever’s London headquarters.

Paul Polman knows what courage is. Not only did he become CEO in the heat of the global financial crisis in January 2009 but what he did on his first day required far greater daring.

picture Paul Polman CEO UnileverPaul Polman, CEO

He declared that Unilever shareholders should no longer expect to see quarterly annual reports from the company, along with earnings guidance for the stock market.

„Put your money somewhere else if you don’t want to buy into this long-term value-creation model, which is equitable, which is shared, which is sustainable.” he declared.

I highly recommend this article in FORBES co-authored by Andy Boynton and Margareta Barchan about Unilever’s 10-year Sustainable Living Plan, which seeks to decouple the company’s growth from its environmental footprint.

I wish you good reading!
Peter Lorange

P.S. Click the links in the text or Paul Polman’s picture to get to the Forbes article.

Picture Andy Boynton* Andy Boynton
is Dean of Boston College’s Carroll School of Management, one of the world’s leading business schools, the author of several books and co-creator of DeepDive™, the world’s leading methodology for helping executives harness the power of teams to significantly improve problem-solving speed, innovation and results.

Picture Margareta Barchan** Margareta Barchan
has been involved in several successful start-up ventures, including New Angles, a strategic sustainability consulting company and Pioneers of Change, a young professional leadership organization. Margareta is the past CEO of Celemi International, a global learning design company, which she co-founded, and for which she was named Sweden’s Business Woman of the Year. She continues to serve the business and nonprofit sectors in director capacities.

PopupOffice – a Swiss company claims to evolutionize the office world

According to the New York Times, studies show that people who work at home are significantly more productive but less innovative. However, employees, especially younger ones, expect to be able to work remotely. And over all the trend is toward greater workplace flexibility.

The outcry surrounding a decision by the new Yahoo! Chief Executive Marissa Mayer to end work-from-home arrangements has shown just how strongly many companies and employees have embraced remote work, but it also underscores tensions between workers’ need for flexibility and their need for visibility.

PopupOffice is the name of a Swiss start-up company which follows the office nomad trend. Office nomads are often self-employed brain workers without an office of their own, sales representatives who travel a lot or home office workers who like to work in an office-like space for a change.

The business idea of PopupOffice is to rent not only office space but also prominent locations which are temporarily available such as galleries. Moreover, clients of PopupOffice become users who will have the opportunity to connect with other clients thus creating an “analog network” in combination with a digital booking tool.

We at the Lorange Institute of Business supported him with a Zurich Living Case. Below you find and interview with PopupOffice founder Mathis Hasler.

Peter Lorange

PopupOffice Logo
Mr Hasler, you signed up  a so-called Living Case, a case study. This is quite unusual for a start-up company?
“Indeed. We founded PopupOffice in March 2015 but started  team building in 2014. The reason why we needed the second opinion was to do with the fact that we hadn’t yet been successful. We were an empty shell. That is why we had to harden the shell. The case study was our hardening agent.

You put your business case under the microscope?
You could put it like that. The results of the case study give our business model a seal of quality. The Lorange Institute is a strong brand and an innovative business school. The market analysis is essential for discussions with potential investors.

How did you find out about the Lorange Institute?
Thanks to my network. A former workmate suggested that our business model should undergo a market analysis and recommended the Lorange Institute of Business. I was very keen on this idea. Students from the Executive MBA program, all with a great deal of managerial experience, write an analysis about our business case. They do it during the course ‘Modern Marketing” in only twelve days. Where else would you receive a paper written by experienced leaders in so little time?

How well matched were you, the innovative start-up company and the established business school?
Very good indeed. The Lorange Institute has proven to be more than a business school. An international faculty meets master’s course students from all over the world and together they build a network. Their innovative spirit and the idea of a network match with the idea of PopupOffice. Our offices are different from the currently used co-working spaces in so far as they become a means of communications and eventually a sales channel. The first is important with regards to the employer branding. Moreover, our customers become users with a profile. To book an office space they log in and after booking the space they become visible to other users. PopupOffice is an all-in platform.

What aspect did you find most  positive in cooperating with the Lorange Institute?
The Living CaseTM study was part of a twelve day marketing block. I even participated in the course for three half-days in the course. We discussed aspects of so-called disruptive innovation business models, which suited the idea of PopupOffice. We are a bit like Uber or irbnb and are trying to break into the real-estate and office market.

Final question: Were you to order a Living CaseTM again what would need  to be different from this one?
Let me put it like this: as a start-up every investment must have a direct return on this investment. In this respect the case study was a delicate matter because all we would get was a paper. Would we be ever capable of quantifying the study on our excel sheet? I therefore wish the business school had given our business even greater visibility in its network.

PopupOffice Work where life happens

New website of the Lorange Institute of Business, a Zurich business school for executive Master of Science and Executive MBA

New Website – New Communication

Dear reader

Recently, I was asked: „Why do you have a new website? The former was easy to navigate etc.…“. We all have habits, and working with a website is a little bit like always sitting on the same chair in a café.

But we are an organization, which must be kept up-to-date like all our products and innovations in the field of studies and pedagogy are kept up-to-date. Needless to say our communications must also meet these requirements and frankly, to me the new site is more intuitive and thus even more user friendly.

Hence, our new website shall reflect the uniqueness of the Lorange Institute and both inform and spur on future participants. It is inspired by our campus on the lakeshore and also by our tailored programs, which are completely based on modularity.

New website of the Lorange Institute of Business, a Zurich business school for executive Master of Science and Executive MBA

  (from left to right: modular study overview, new homesite, video testimonials)

The new website is at the heart of our communications and meets the technological needs of our claim to be the business school of the future. Of course, this includes the mobile aspects of Internet communication, the whole e-learning process and also the design.

I am convinced that with the new website our communication, both internal and external, will help us to communicate faster and more precisely.

I invite you to explore our new website and most of all our new exciting programs.

Peter Lorange

Coaching first – right after the arts

Dear reader,

Jörg Reckhenrich_2Joerg Reckhenrich, our faculty member for innovation and creativity management is both committed in art and management: he is an artist and director of the Berlin-based consultancy ‘Strategic Creativity Zurich’ and adjunct professor at the Antwerp Management School. With his profound experience, Joerg has facilitated workshops on creativity and innovation as part of executive education programs  at various business schools, including IMD.

In this article (Joerg is co-author) about coaching, the authors focus on the immense pressure of both companies and institutions which strive for innovation.

Bildschirmfoto 2014-12-01 um 16.30.31Bildschirmfoto 2014-12-01 um 16.30.22

The authors reflect how coaching today relies on experiences from the arts as we suspect the artist to be a role model for many things: leadership personalities, force of innovation, creativity and stratification of perspectives.

Bildschirmfoto 2014-12-01 um 16.31.01CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

How art and coaching do interact is explained in the article, which I would like to share with you.

Kind regards,
Peter Lorange

Professional behavior – the key to success

Professional Appearance

Dear reader

Mankind is a species driven by intelligence and therefore we rely on what we know. Actually, this is one reason why we make great efforts to increase our knowledge like our students do.

As a matter of fact the outcome of our intentions is not solely dependent on what we know but also on how we communicate the things we know.

To bring it down to a simple level: anybody (er) who (er) presents (er) his (er) innovative er idea like this is not only a bad presenter – he/she will have little success no matter how convincing arguments, ideas or products are.

So much is dependent on our behavior and this is specially true for executive managers in both smaller and larger enterprises.

In our upcoming workshop „Professionelles Auftreten“ (professional appearance) on 19 November our four speakers give answers on key questions like

– What is professional appearance?
– How do I use body language?
– How do I get out more from my presentations?
– How do I get better in communications situations?

Our speakers are

Bildschirmfoto 2014-11-18 um 18.45.17

Stefanie Wolff and Anne Gielow-Jones from Wolff-Jones Consulting
who will speak about how to communicate your key messages better.




Bildschirmfoto 2014-11-18 um 18.45.35

Arno Fischbacher from voice-sells.tv speaks about the unconscious power of your voice.



Bildschirmfoto 2014-11-18 um 18.45.25René Dubach from körper-sprache.ch will speak about how you better understand the non-verbal part of a presentation or a speech.


I am truly convinced that any participant will take home insights which he/she can adapt already in their next presentation, sales meeting or any other situation where communication is more than just to say the magic words.

I am looking forward to meeting you!
Peter Lorange

What’s in a business school ranking?

Dear reader

In a recent article with the title „The Dark Side Of B-School Rankings“, Mr. John Byrne from „Poets & Quants“ reflected on merits and dangers of business school rankings.

Poets & Quants is a social network. Its goal is to create a helpful community of people interested in graduate business school education and I feel we belong to that community.

He points out that those rankings are suspicious and uncovered the case of UCMK, the University of Missouri—Kansas City which was rated higher than MIT and Stanford.

“Could be”, you might say and so do I. However, they also uncovered that the Chinese authors of the study had been at the same Chinese university where one of the professors had been a part-time professor the previous four years, and at UMKC, the three shared the same office number.

Bildschirmfoto 2014-11-05 um 21.23.05Business school rankings: curse or blessing?

Another professor at UMKC even demanded an investigation as according to him the study was contrived.

In another article („More Schools Say ‘No’ To The Economist“) John Byrne reveals that at least 17 business schools, including many highly prominent institutions, declined to participate in The Economist’s new 2014 ranking.

The group of schools saying no also includes our partner in Great Britain, Ashridge (and some other well-known British institutions as the Imperial College Business School, and the University of Manchester).

I don’t want to reject theses rankings lock, stock and barrell but it seems too obvious that there are further criterions which on the one hand are irrelevant for the ranking but matters a lot to a majority of the EMBA students on the other hand.

We at the Lorange Institute of Business do not fulfil a central criterion of any of those rankings and studies: we do not have a permanent faculty. A permanent faculty, however, is a prerequisite for certain accreditations and without certain accreditations any school is downgraded.

But think about it: having no permanent faculty is a USP of our business school. Our professors are global experts in their fields. They typically have a professional business background and come from other academic institutions for short teaching stints at our business school, bringing with them the latest insights in the fields of management and business.

This allows us to react in no time to new challenges. Let me give you just one example: after the financial crisis and the Basel III regulations we could rely on a specialist from the Frankfurt School of Management and Finance who is a a certified EFFAS financial analyst.

Eventually, Patrick Harker, dean of the Wharton School, is most probably right when he told The Wall Street Journal already in 2004. “The most important thing is that I firmly reject the idea that there is a No. 1 school. Different schools are unique.”

And let me add: every student must find a business school that fits his needs.

Peter Lorange