John Byrne, who at BusinessWeek in those happy bygone days of the 1980′s helped start a huge business school ranking system, is back at the game. On Monday, his new site Poets & Quants went live, giving the “brutal truth about facilities, teaching methods and reputations” at the nation’s best b-schools, as he told The Journal.
It’s not exactly clear what Mr. Byrne brings to the ranking table, especially because the Journal says his system is “based on existing rankings produced by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the Financial Times, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes and The Economist.” But according to Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business professor Paul Argenti, Mr. Byrne and his opinions are taken seriously by business schools, even if they have mixed feelings about him: “Business schools both love and scorn him,” Mr. Argenti said. Maybe that’s because Mr. Byrne likes doing head-to-head “smackdowns” between Harvard and MIT or Wharton and Columbia.
Speaking of competition, Mr. Byrne has set his sights awfully high. He says that Poets & Quants is the first of a dozen he’s going to lunch under the name C-Change Media, which he imagines as the “Huffington Post of business.” It’s not clear if HuffPo, or his old employer, BusinessWeek, or the four other huge institutions whose rankings he’s built his system on are getting nervous. But, though he and his site weren’t mentioned, Business Insider’s Henry Blodget said earlier this year that Mr. Byrne had “drawn a bullseye on our back and is hatching plans to kill us.”