Friday, March 20, 2009

Are MBAs the Problem?

Are MBAs the Problem? - HBR Editors' Blog -
"The type of person who has the appetite for this second kind of risk-reward equation--plus the brains to excel in a rigorous academic setting--is the same type that Wall Street firms have been so eager to hire. The financial sector hasn't valued people for what they learned in their top-tier business schools, but for the kind of intestinal fortitude that got them there, their willingness to make huge sacrifices, and the drive they have to attain that MBA, at nearly any cost."

A thought provoking read. Make sure you read the comments as well. Most of those seem anti B-School but once in a while, you'll come across reasonable ones such as;

"It isn't just the teaching, or the curriculum, it's the culture. If the idea comes across that business is about innovation, leadership and entrepreneurship, that's great, but if the underlying message is about maximizing shareholder value, profits and making money, everything shifts.

Any group of high-powered individuals will become competitive, that's what you expect, and to some degree, that's what you want. The question becomes who defines the areas of competition? What is valued? What are the rewards.

- Posted by DJB
March 17, 2009 9:28 PM"

Not that I agree completely with the commenter, but I like his view on 'Competition' and 'Areas/Rules/Values of Competition'. I think this takes us back to the Nature vs. Nurture debate. A competitive environment, that provokes and rewards individuals who, by nature would succeed at any cost without concern for those around them is bound to fail at some point. B-Schools or any other school can not be completely held responsible for personal traits. What they do is give more ammunition.

Once you are done going through the comments, I suggest you read the FT Article MBA bashing is a case study in misdirected anger. It ends with a nice summary too.

"The MBA brand has been damaged but not destroyed by recent events. Some may still enjoy a good sneer at this famous set of initials. But blaming the MBA for the crisis in capitalism would be like blaming all maths PhDs for the invention of the collateralised debt obligation: a case study in unfairness and misdirected anger."