Business schools as Game of Thrones noble houses: Which is which?

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Business schools as Game of Thrones noble houses: Which is which?

Last year’s MIT Sloan’s follies, an annual awards night of humorous skits and presentations, was entitled A Game of Sloans, and in preparation for the event, students put together a riff on the HBO show’s iconic intro, replacing the castles of Westoros and Essos with landmarks of the MIT campus.

This comparison between business school and “Game of Thrones” is just too tempting not to take further, so we started to wonder which noble houses of the fantasy world are most like which business schools.

Five schools, one throne – err #1 ranking. Here are our matches. See if you agree.

Harvard Business School – House Lannister

A family hell-bent on acquiring and maintaining power, obsessed about securing the prestige of their name for posterity, and backed by copious wealth – yeah this match comes about pretty naturally. Harvard’s endowment of $36 billion dwarfs (no pun intended) even its richest rivals, not too mention half the world’s economies, giving it unprecedented power to pursue academic dominance, and perhaps more importantly, the preservation of its eminent name. As Tywin Lannister would say, “It’s the family name that lives on. It’s all that lives on. And it’s what attracts all the applicants.”

Stanford Business School – House Baratheon

Though personalities vary widely in House Baratheon, the Baratheons of Kings Landing, i.e. Robert Baratheon, have a markedly different take on family honor compared to House Lannister. King Robert is interested in enjoying his rule in sunny Kings Landing rather than making cold calculations and power moves. He’s the rebel who became the ruler – an innovator and disruptor in his own right who like a Silicon Valley startup is riding high after cashing in on his bold move and anti-authoritarian image.

MIT Sloan School of Management – House Stark

Winters are harsh in Cambridge and seemingly unending; class of 2016 be forewarned, winter is coming. Like the family of the north, MIT is a powerful contender in the MBA ascendancy yet a quiet one that prefers to stay out of the limelight and remain unassuming. It’s known to be loyal yet proud, but dare we say it lacks the cutthroat tactics needed to reach the number one spot?

Hult International Business School – House Targaryen

While well-known powers such as Harvard and Stanford vie for the top ranking, across the sea, a threat to their dominance is growing. Perhaps underestimated and written-off by the established schools, Hult International Business School is recruiting legions of students to its ranks in five campuses across the world. In 2012, Hult graduated 2,000 students with MBAs, master degrees, and bachelor degrees. Until the dragons hatch, HBS, Stanford and the rest of the top schools are probably safe.

Michigan’s Ross School of Business – The wildlings

A more pertinent threat to the establishment of the top business schools lies to the north in the snow-covered forests of Michigan. An eclectic band of students have been brought together by the curriculum of HBS grad-turned-wilding B. Joseph White, who in the early 90s introduced a curriculum focused on teamwork, leadership and practical skills — needed abilities when you’re invading the top 10 list of business school rankings. Apart from the reputation of being deadly smart, the Ross band is also revered for their savage partying, a necessity for getting through the long winter months.

Ok so technically the wildlings aren’t a noble house, but for our level of GOT nerdom, we thought the comparison justified. What about the others? What other matches can you think of?

Let us know in the comments below!




  1. Truthtell says:

    Well truth be told, they missed the Iron Bank of Bravos, the smartest of everyone in the book. Aka, Wharton.

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