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Allegations accuse Bloch School of botched rankings

UMKC’s H.W. Bloch School of Management was ranked the no. 1 business school in the world in a 2012 issue of the Journal of Product Innovation Management. Since the Bloch School received a higher ranking than MIT and Stanford, which are well-known for innovation management programs, UMKC’s ranking was suspicious to Kansas City Star reporter Mike Hendricks, who investigated the issue.

The Journal of Product Innovation Management ranks schools based on faculty articles published by  peer-reviewed research journals.  1,718 scholars were originally considered. 99 ranks were given using 1,572 of these faculty members. The research they used included materials from 10 elite business journals, in which articles by faculty members of universities have been published. Articles were collected from 1991 to 2010. The chosen articles were then criticized.

Along with UMKC, Michael Song, a professor in the Bloch School’s Department of Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation, was ranked no. 1 in other categories in the journal. He held the no. 1 position for the World’s Top Innovation Management Scholars and World’s Top Innovation Management Scholars Based on Eight Top Management and Marketing Journals.

[one_third last=”no”] “I chose UMKC because I had heard it had the best business school in the Midwest.” [/one_third]

The school received its ranking from a study conducted by two Bloch School students, PianPian Yang and Lei Tao. Hendricks uncovered that they were visiting students from China, and were invited to UMKC by Song and Dean Teng- Kee Tan, Dean of the Bloch School. Yang, Tao and Song were all affiliated with the Management School of Xi’an Jiaotong University. Song was a professor there from 2006 to 2010, while he also taught at UMKC.

Before 2009, the Bloch School did not even make the JPIM list. Within four years, the Bloch School jumped to the no. 1 position. To Hendricks, it appeared that Song’s international connections created a false title for the Bloch School.

This accusation shook UMKC and grabbed attention of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. In a follow-up article, Mara Rose Williams, Kansas City Star reporter and co-author of the original article, said that Nixon asked the University of Missouri Board of Curators  for an independent review. The curators hired PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has served as the UM system’s internal auditor for many years, to conduct the review.

Although the Bloch School has been accused of creating a false identity for itself, many students had positive comments on the situation.

“Honestly, I love the Bloch School. The program is wonderful and the faculty are always willing to help,” said Bloch School student Cassandra Richter.

At the time Richter switched her major to business administration , Hendricks had not yet investigated the matter.

“I just knew it was one of the up-and-coming programs at UMKC,” Richter said. “I did not really care about the school ranking.”

After considering the negative results of Hendricks’ discovery, Richter arrived at the conclusion that it will not affect her future at the Bloch School.

“I feel like I will still be able to find a job in Kansas City, regardless of the business school ranking,” Richter said. “Even though they [Kansas City Star] are looking into the program and whatnot, I still feel like the Bloch School is one of the best business schools. I’m not one for rankings, but [the] Bloch [School] has been known as a top business school for some time now. Plus, this is not the only top-rated ranking the school has received – true it is the highest – but it has been rated high in other rankings.”

Richter said she may have heard that the Princeton Review ranked the Bloch School as one of the best business schools in the Midwest. It has no connection with the Ivy League college of the same name, and has not been known to have incredibly accurate ratings.

Princeton Review only surveys schools that would like to participate. It then uses statistics as well as students’ opinions to create the review. The Bloch School was dropped from The Princeton Review’s list of top 25 business schools in 2010. Subsequently being picked up by JPIM, an internationally accredited business journal, seems problematic and dubious.

“I’m not worried about my future. I didn’t know that we were even ranked no. 1, and I don’t think a lot of other people do either,” said an anonymous Bloch School freshman.

This student believes that when he  applies for jobs after graduation, the prospective workplaces will not know of the misleading ranking, since he did not know about the false title himself.

“I chose UMKC because I had heard it had the best business school in the Midwest. If I was going to choose a school close to home, it had to be this one,” the student said.

This student believes others will continue to pursue an education at The Bloch School. According to the student, students who choose to commute will likely continue to attend The Bloch School, along with students from around the world, and suspicious rankings from JPIM will likely be overlooked.

“I feel like I’m getting a pretty good education,” the student said.

The anonymous student does not think workplaces will  care about the background of the school, as long as the students exhibit  great skill.

Students seemed to still have a positive attitude toward The Bloch School. Most students were oblivious that it was ranked no. 1 in JPIM, let alone the investigation that proved the ranking false.

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