Generic Sayings That Could Get You Sued: The Week in Business Education

Spot the Lawsuit™
Tomorrow starts here. Touched by cancer. Be the difference. They may sound banal, but beware—some platitudes are lawsuits waiting to happen. Colleges and universities have trademarked these and a host of other generic sounding mottos to prevent competitors from using them in any education-related context. And higher education is serious about its government-given rights. Schools, including the University of Alabama, have made legal threats against perpetrators.

School merger woes
It has been almost two decades since the New Brunswick and Newark business schools combined at New Jersey’s state university, Rutgers. The marriage hasn’t been a happy one. Three of four deans at the post-merger institution, Rutgers Business School, have been forced out. The school’s rankings have slid, and it’s losing students to nearby top-ranked programs. Professor Farid Alizadeh argues that without a stable “core of top talent, RBS has no hope of finding its place among the top schools.” And he’s blaming the university administration.

Keep the change … and the name
Putting up tens of millions may be enough to stamp your name on your business school of choice, but one Canadian school isn’t selling. Most Canadian (and U.S., for that matter) business schools have changed their names over the years as flush alumni emblazon their names on their alma maters. But students and alumni of the University of Alberta School of Business preferred not to be branded by a millionaire, so they raised $21 million to hold on to their straightforward moniker. Says Dean Joseph Doucet: “They basically went to alumni and donors and got people excited about the very notion, the very idea” of not changing the school’s name.

Adding up gender discrimination in hiring
It’s time to put the gender math myth to bed. It’s often simple prejudice, not a lack of ability, that puts women at a disadvantage in math and science fields. Managers favor male applicants over female, according to a paper published this week by business school professors at Columbia, Kellogg, and Booth. Equally capable women may be losing out in a perception race: “The very people who are biased against women about math,” said one researcher, are “also less likely to believe that men boast.”

Springtime, and the rankings are blooming
This week it seemed there was a school ranking to please every (academic) palate: Wharton, Harvard, and Stanford duked it out for the top spot on U.S. News and World Report’s 2015 list of best business schools. Wharton also topped the finance and executive MBA categories. For students logging their credits digitally, the Financial Times crowned IE Business School the best online MBA. And, leaving no specialty ranking behind, the Military Times named D’Youville College School of Business as the best business school for veterans.

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