The Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings report has been published, with Harvard University - despite the recent, public 'schooling' of two eminent economists by a student - in first place, followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, and University of California, Berkeley.
The list of 100 of 'the world's most powerful global university brands' is admittedly highly subjective, with judgement provided by senior published academics invited to give their opinion on elite educational institutions.
That said, the reputation of a university is being seen as a significant factor in its ability to access funds and attract and retain the best staff and students.
Louise Simpson, director of the World 100 Reputation Network of top-ranked universities says: “Reputation is like a supertanker: it’s pretty hard to turn around unless you do something very wrong."
In response to the rankings, Mark Sudbury, director of communications at University College London (ranked 20th) said: “Reputation is becoming less of a nebulous concept for universities. It is now recognized as a key component in decisions affecting future success.”
However, a sterling reputation and a huge cash pile - Harvard's endowment is $32 billion, for example - won't be enough to protect universities from the increasing popularity and rapid rise of MOOCs - massive open online courses.
Maybe that's why they're actively involved in funding and contributing educational content to technology companies like edX (a joint venture between MIT and Harvard) and Coursera which boast 3.2 million users.
With courses drawn from a range of highly reputable universities, I wonder how they would rank on the list?
Thoughts on customer service, communication and, of course, reputation management.