Friday, October 25, 2013 at 1am

What’s in a School Motto? Simon School of Business’ New Look: MBA News

What’s in a School Motto? Simon School of Business’ New Look: MBA News main image

“Simon says ‘toughen up’” was the headline last week after the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business changed their school motto from ‘where thinkers become leaders’ to this more strident moniker, as part of the school’s ongoing rebranding process.

Immediate reaction to the new motto has been mixed. The school did, however, anticipate possible misinterpretation and moved to reassure current students that it wasn’t implying that they were too soft, but that a Simon education would embolden them, leaving them tough enough to compete in an increasingly competitive and complex business world.

How important is a business school motto?

A recent article considered whether the motto served as a social commentary for our times – i.e. that this generation has become softer as a result of more things being ‘taken care of’ by overprotective or overbearing family members during childhood, or simply by advances in technology and what is sometimes referred to as the ‘nanny-state’.

It also points to recent literature, such as Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Antifragile, which asserts the need to achieve toughness of the mind in order to enjoy both success and happiness, to conclude that the motto could serve as a valuable lesson for MBA students in itself.

Other leading business schools, such as the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, are also looking at rebranding opportunities, but what of their mottos? Currently they are ‘knowledge for action’ and ‘think bravely…’ respectively. Away from the US, HEC Paris has ‘the more you know, the more you dare’ and Melbourne Business School gets straight to the point with, ‘Global. Business. Leaders.’

It seems then that Simon School of Business’ rebrand is perhaps the clearest departure in trying to do something different with a business school motto. And it’s not stopping there, as the rebrand has also rearranged the school’s name itself, so that henceforth it shall be known as Simon Business School.

Find out more about Simon Business School >

Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

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