On the Meeting of the Business School Deans in a Closed Room

I have heard a rumor, though I’m confident it is a fact, that someone recently invited the Deans and senior professors of the world’s major business schools to a one-day closed meeting in a nearby state.

Here is what I was told, presented in the format of a Q and A:

Q1: Why did they come?

A1: They know that the ONLY thing heading south faster than the Dow is the value of MBA degrees from their institutions.

Q2: What public action did they feel obligated to do? Hint: None of them have.

A2: Apologize for training the generation of graduates of their schools who were so effective at using the education they received that they almost destroyed the world economy.

Q3: What is their biggest problem going forward?

A3: They know they will have to rebuild their curriculum, and their faculty, from the ground up, and that will take at least a generation.

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One Comment

  1. Posted April 15, 2009 at 10:46 | Permalink | Reply

    I taught on the adjunct faculty at Wharton from 1981 as a Lecturer to 1994 as an Associate Professor. One of the reasons they liked my teaching efforts was that I was in the trenches of IT and was therefore living what I was teaching. There was no discernible ideological bias, except that entrepreneurship was revered.

    One thing I found lacking in my students (both graduate and undergraduate) was knowledge of, and appreciation of, the social contract. Competition for a slot at Wharton was fierce, so they were the cream of the crop and highly motivated, but most of the motivation was to get good grades and achieve personal success. Nothing wrong with that, but I would like to have seen it tempered by more interest in ethics and social responsibility.

    Another thing that concerned me was the woeful state of the students’ English skills. (And I’m talking about American students; foreign students are a separate issue.) Once, after assigning an essay and grading the results, I stood up in front of the class and upbraided them; I said it was lucky for them I wasn’t an English professor. Some of the students were incensed that I would criticize them.

    Another thing I was struck by was the sense of entitlement. I once gave a student a C, only to have him visit my office in an agitated state. “How could you give me a C?!? I always get an A!” I explained that his essay wasn’t an A effort; he couldn’t understand that.

    Of course, there were plenty of students that didn’t display these problems; I don’t want to paint too gloomy a picture. But there were definitely systemic problems among the students, and I’m afraid we’re seeing the bitter fruits of those problems today.

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