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Beyond Grey Pinstripes is an independent, biennial business school survey and ranking managed by the Aspen Institute's Center for Business Education. Results are published every other year.
Findings from the survey highlight how academic institutions prepare students to meet the business challenges of tomorrow. Beyond Grey Pinstripes is unique—Aspen celebrates coursework, research and activities that prepare MBAs for social, ethical and environmental stewardship. In determining the rankings, Aspen evaluates each school’s course offerings and the research published by its faculty.
At the start of the cycle, the Aspen Institute Center for Business Education (Aspen CBE) sends invitations to nearly 600 business schools around the world which are eligible to participate in the survey and ranking.
U.S. business schools that are accredited by AACSB, EQUIS or AMBA are invited to participate. Schools outside the US with these accreditations are also invited to participate, as are other international schools that are recognized as leading institutions within their country or region.
Schools that meet our eligibility criteria and communicate an interest in participating in the survey are given a personalized username and password that grants their staff access to the Beyond Grey Pinstripes online data collection site.
Aspen CBE staff hold web conferences to help schools prepare to complete the survey and to explain the scoring methodology. Our introductory web conference is available for review by participating schools by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Throughout the data collection period, support is available to all participating schools via email and telephone.
Data for the Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey are collected online. The survey has 4 parts:
|Survey Section||Requested Content|
Basic school information
|Schools are asked to report basic information about their MBA programs: number of full-time students in each course, number of faculty, number of credits/credit hours required for graduation, number of full-time students graduating each year, etc. Schools are also asked to submit a short (under 500 words) narrative description that explains how they prepare students for social, ethical and environmental stewardship. This description is presented on the Beyond Grey Pinstripes website in the “In their own words” section on each school‘s page.|
|Schools are asked to provide a written description of any course offered to MBA students that includes content relating to social, ethical and environmental impacts. This content should be clearly stated in each description. We also ask schools to include a course syllabus to support the course description. For each course schools report: the department in which the class is offered, course faculty, number of full-time MBA students enrolled in each course, credits/credit hours for each course, and whether the course is an elective or “core”. Only courses required of all MBA students should be reported as core courses. In addition, schools must estimate what percentage of each class is dedicated to relevant content: under 25%, 26%-50%, 51% to 75% or over 75%.|
|In the “Institutional Support” section of the survey we invite schools to tell us about extracurricular activities, internship programs, clubs, career development initiatives, institutes and centers, joint degrees and specializations that the school offers that they believe help prepare their students for social and environmental stewardship in their professional endeavors. The data provided in this section are not analyzed and included in the ranking, but we do post the information on our Beyond Grey Pinstripes website so that prospective students, among others, can view it and learn more about what happens outside the classroom at each participating school.|
|In the “Faculty Research” portion of the survey, we ask schools to provide the abstracts of all relevant articles published by their faculty in 2009 and 2010 that focus on social, ethical and environmental issues in business. This information is submitted using an Excel spreadsheet template downloaded directly from the survey site. On this spreadsheet, schools also report the names of the faculty who wrote the article and the name of the journal in which it was published.
When the survey site closes, the Aspen CBE team makes an effort to “clean” the data for obvious errors. For example, in certain instances, such as if a rural school reported an MBA student enrollment of 10,000, Aspen CBE staff would contact the school in an attempt to correct this obvious mistake.
Other than obvious errors, staff at Aspen CBE do not attempt to assess the validity of the self-reported data. To support the transparency and accuracy of data reporting we:
Coursework and Research data submitted by the schools are scored by teams of Ph.D. Scoring Fellows whose work is overseen by the Aspen CBE project team. These Scoring Fellows are selected in a competitive process from leading institutions around the world.
Scoring Fellows are trained carefully on the scoring protocol. Scoring is done “blindly” (to the extent possible, without school or faculty names associated with data) and in pairs. Scoring Fellows score the courses and research separately and then compare scores with their partners. They must agree on a score or flag the course or research for further review by the Aspen project team.
For each course, the Scoring Fellows must decide first of all whether the course contains content related to social, ethical and/or environmental stewardship. If yes, they must then decide if the course gets additional credit for meeting the “business impact” metric described below.
In the case of research, the Scoring Fellows review article titles and abstracts and decide whether the content relates to social, ethical and/or environmental stewardship.
The scores assigned by the Scoring Fellows are reviewed extensively by the Aspen Institute project team to ensure accuracy.
The calculated and reviewed data are aggregated into four “raw score” metrics for each school, as follows:
The “raw score” metrics – the outcomes of the four categories above - are adjusted by using a statistical smoothing process called square-root standard deviation about the mean, which produces numerical values that represent how well a school has done relative to the other schools in the survey. Each of these four values, or z-scores, are weighted as indicated above and then summed to arrive at an overall point total. The final ranking is an ordinal list of the top 100 schools, by total points received.