Between the latest incarnations of marketing taglines coming out of NYU Stern – “Think Possible” – and last year’s “Think Bravely” from Kellogg’s rebranding – and now Stanford is telling us to “Re:Think Management” (not sure what that colon is doing in there), and Duke’s tagline is “Rethink the Boundaries” – they claim to be “the first legitimately global business school” – plus we have the somewhat inscrutable “Knowledge for” messaging that Wharton has adopted … and most recently we heard about UCLA Anderson’s “Think in the Next…” (durrr… what?).
We hope that the ‘Snark won’t be faulted for claiming “Copycat!”
Not just copycat on each other, but man. What did these schools do, sit around a conference table and regurgitate the messaging of the biggest consumer brands of our time? AT&T rolled out their “Rethink Possible” tagline at right around the same time. Maybe these schools were all using the same branding agencies? We’re betting that Kellogg and Wharton both went to the outside with their rebranding campaigns, given the super-slick materials that were produced (based on how lame their respective websites have been, we are seriously skeptical that either one developed those promo materials in-house).
We’re just not that impressed. We get it, this whole bschool industry is a crowded field, it’s hard to stand out, etc etc etc (we wrote about that recently in talking about the odd emphasis on alumni networks). But aren’t these schools supposed to be INNOVATIVE? And, like, LEADERS in the field? Don’t they have some crackerjack marketing types somewhere in the building?
You’d, uh, *cough* think that if they really wanted to attract the attention of the BSer crowd, that they’d be putting the word “MONEY” in their taglines.
Oh. Sorry. Too crass?
Taglines of today are supposed to be aspirational. Just Do It and all that. Apparently these bschool taglines are meant to inspire the constituents to achieve their goals and reach for the heights and — oh wait.
We’ve never once seen a BSer say that he wanted to go to bschool to learn to think better.
(Though we’ve certainly seen plenty of evidence that some BSers are woefully lacking in the “thinking” department! Have you read any of those essays?!?)
At least Chicago Booth put their money where their mouth is and asked an essay question asking you to tell them about a time when you “started to think differently” – which has not been an easy question for many to answer.
The Kellogg question where you’re asked to show how you “Think Bravely” strikes us as a little unfair. The “Think Bravely” thing is something that they invented; what does that even mean? And then they want you to write about it. But you could sort of make up whatever definition you want for it. It’s not like there’s only one answer to it. Which maybe is why they chose it for the essay question (hopefully you didn’t overlook that part of it when you wrote your answer – lots of people did in the drafts that we reviewed). With that Kellogg essay, it’s almost like they made up a new word – like “flioneso” – and then asked you to write about how you demonstrate flioneso in your everyday life.
We suppose that does require you to think! And think again! And rethink some more! (or is it “re:think”?) And be brave about it, gosh darn it!