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Rankings Roulette

Even the slightest shift in higher education rankings provokes many questions on campus: Why did Duke's position change? How far ahead is the Harvard-Yale-Princeton triumvirate? What can Duke do to stay on the upswing?

These and other questions came to mind when the Fuqua School of Business leapt to No. 22 in the Financial Times' list of best full-time business schools in the world, a six-spot improvement from last year.

It is probably too soon for Fuqua's five-site global network, announced last August, to be giving Duke a boost in the curent rankings, Elizabeth Hogan, Fuqua's assistant dean for marketing and communications, told The Chronicle when Fuqua rose to eighth place in BusinessWeek's Best B-Schools of 2008 issue.  

But Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for government relations and public affairs, hinted that the Multinational Growth Plan could give Duke a boost in future rankings.

"As Fuqua's global programs continue to expand, we expect that Duke's stature will only grow among international leaders," Schoenfeld wrote in an e-mail to The Chronicle when Fuqua's position in the Financial Times' rankings was announced.

Even so, Dan LeClair, vice president and chief knowledge officer of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, said he doubts Fuqua is launching the global outposts to best its competitors in the rankings.

"I know that Fuqua is not doing this to increase their rankings," he said. "This is part of their mission, an important part of their strategy. [Improved rankings] may be an outcome--it's certainly a reasonable thing that could come out of this. But I think it's important to note that business schools like Duke don't let the rankings drive their strategy.... I know [Fuqua Dean Blair Sheppard] well enough to know that [rankings] are not the key driver."

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