There's burying the lede, and then there's Ethan Baron's effort. Four screens, and more than 20 paragraphs into a story, Baron finally gets around to how a goat farmer can generate sufficient traffic to his MBA ranking website. The money accusation:
Then how did Kenan-Flagler get into those rankings? The MBA@UNC program is run by Kenan-Flagler’s executive education unit, which is a limited liability company, in conjunction with educational technology company 2U, which delivers and markets the program. Susan Cates, associate dean of executive education for Kenan-Flagler – whose name was on the first email Poets&Quants received after requesting information on the school via BestCollegeReviews – describes MBA@UNC’s business relationship with the dubious rankings websites as 'a tiny subset of a subset of the marketing that we do for the program.'
UNC underwrites this service, which benefits from a solid SEO effort. By appearing higher in search results, prospective students are more likely to click on the goat farmer's website.
The bigger question remains begged though. There is no value in rankings to prospective students. Perhaps the idea any one including a goat farmer can create and promote a ranking supports the argument for ending rankings.