Wharton Still Angsty Over Public Image Problems

The fallout from the Wall Street Journal article isn't over.

The Daily Pennsylvanian today reports on Wharton’s continued pushback against the Wall Street Journal article suggesting the school is falling out of the top tier of elite business schools in the country. If Wharton has been pigeonholed as a finance school—instead of something more startup-friendly—officials say it’s because … Wharton has been pigeonholed as a finance school.  “[Wharton is] so much more diverse and complex than that,” said Thomas Caleel, a former MBA director of admissions for Wharton.

Adam Grant, a Wharton prof, makes a similar case at the Huffington Post:

I quickly realized that Wharton stood for more than finance. So if finance wasn’t the common denominator, what was it?

A clue came when I met a professor who taught a case about the meteoric success of Apple. He quickly discovered that our students weren’t content to idolize Apple. They wanted to know whether what made Apple successful would work in another company, in another industry, at another time, in another country. They wanted more data points. They wanted randomized, controlled experiments to test the practices that worked, and careful statistical analyses of when and why.

The defining feature of Wharton is a belief in the power of evidence. Instead of studying one lucky company’s success, our students are motivated to adopt a data-driven, analytic approach to understand what makes most people and organizations successful most of the time, and how they can apply those ideas to their own organizations.

Wouldn’t “dealing with brand image problems” be one of the things they teach at a business school like Wharton?? If so, maybe the school can fix it’s crisis of confidence in short order.