Tap into Remarkable People and Places

If you want to expose yourself to remarkable people who are emerging, and if you want to tap into the world’s key brainpower hubs, you also have to realize that reputations are lagging indicators. One of the reasons for this is that once a person is established they have too much to lose by saying something counter-intuitive—or adventurous. On the other hand, those trying to make a name have an incentive to say something crazy and hope that it sticks. The trick is to be omnivorous and discerning enough to be able to separate the has-beens and the hacks from the genuinely insightful. As for the durability of reputations, the new dean of Harvard Business School, Indian-born Nitin Nohria, has shaken up a tried-but-true MBA curriculum that many felt was resting on its laurels for too long. In doing so, he invited friends and faculty of HBS to think about what the world’s top 10 universities are today and what they were a century ago. Here is my attempt to reproduce the two notional lists, based in part on the Shanghai Jiao Tong rankings and other sources:

The World’s Top 10 Universities—2012 (alphabetical order)

California Institute of Technology
University of California (System)
University of Cambridge
University of Chicago
Harvard University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of Oxford
Princeton University
Stanford University
Yale University

The World’s Top 10 Universities—1912 (alphabetical order)

University of Berlin ...

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