Move over Joseph Wharton, there's a new mogul in town, and his name is Bennett S. LeBow.
U.S. News and World Report revised its business school rankings Monday, dropping Wharton one place and replacing it with the oft-overlooked LeBow College of Business at Drexel.
Wharton, which had originally sat atop the undergraduate rankings and tied for second in graduate programs, fell one place in each poll, while LeBow, which was ranked in the top 120 and is French for "the bow," rocketed into first place in both.
According to LeBow Dean George Tsetsekos, "we owe it all to the banner. Wharton has --- well, had -- a premier business program. Our recruiters did a lot of research into how we could tap into that applicant pool ourselves and let them know what LeBow had to offer." While Tsetsekos admits that LeBow, and Drexel in general, had very little to offer, they came up with a strategy that worked.
"We realized," Tsetsekos said, "that the only thing that separated us from Penn was about 800 yards -- literally. We are 800 yards closer to 30th Street Station, 800 yards closer to Ecco Qui, 800 yards closer to the adult cinemas on Chestnut Street."
The anchor of LeBow's new marketing campaign was a huge banner draped across Market Street, directly on the route from I-76 to the Wharton School. Proclaiming "We too have a Business School," the banner is estimated to have drawn at least 7,000 additional applicants to Drexel and LeBow this year.
Many prospective students, both undergraduate and graduate, never even made it to Wharton. Gunnar Buffett, a senior at Exeter and member of the LeBow Class of 2009, is one of these.
"I had never even heard of Drexel before coming out to see Wharton. Boy, I'm glad they had that sign out. The moment I saw the fire in the eyes of that big bronze dragon, I knew I couldn't go to a school whose mascot was named after a passive religious sect."
Buffett's parents were equally impressed. Says his father, Warren Jr., "Look, Wharton may have been good enough for my dad, but my kid deserves the best. At LeBow, I know he's getting the best. Their unique blend of an average business education with near total athletic and social inferiority really makes Drexel stand out. Did you know the Miss Philadelphia pageant was held here?"
Buffett's father is billionaire financial wizard and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffett. When he learned of his son's decision, the world's greatest living investor "was shocked at first. When I started looking into it, though, I realized he made the right choice. I may have gone to Wharton, and I guess it helped me a little. But LeBow is just so much closer to 30th Street Station and I-76. Well, I guess there's the South Street exit, but it's on the left, and nobody uses exits on the left."
Buffett later announced that he would be giving LeBow a gift of $50 million to fund an even larger -- and thus more effective -- banner.
Embattled Wharton Dean Patrick Harker was not surprised by LeBow's rise.
"To be honest, I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner. Our facilities are falling apart, we haven't built a new building in [one and a half] years, and -- let's call a spade a spade -- we don't really teach these kids anything they couldn't figure out with a half-decent graphing calculator."
College admissions experts cite several other factors as key to the changing of the business school guard. According to Larry "Papa Smurf" Czudak, college admissions adviser at Philadelphia's St. Joseph's Preparatory School, Drexel's thriving Greek community played a key role.
"At Penn, Greek life is playing beer pong against Aaron Goldstein at AEPi. At Drexel, the Greek life is actually Greek. With a guy named Constantine Papadakis running the show, you really feel like you're in Athens or Thessalonica or something. Penn kids' only exposure to Greek culture at penn is eating tzatziki on their chicken sandwich. Drexel has George Tsetsekos. Tzatziki is practically named after him!"
Business Rankings Undergraduate
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