On B-Schools and the MBA approach

Excellent thoughts here



The more I see B-School grads without hands-on managerial experience, more  I feel that Mintzberg’s theory carries weight. B-School grads seem to be more concerned with gaming the system for their personal purpose and objective.

B-Schools need to move from the ‘mass-production’ approach to a boutique approach – However, I doubt if the economics of such an approach will ever let the change get initiated.. It may actually end up getting forced upon B-schools when longer term failures and higher acquisition costs of MBAs force organisations to think about making internal investments.  The mass production of MBAs stands to lead to the risk of a devaluation of  the degree.

B-School programs package knowledge of a diverse set of areas developed through a pressure-cooker approach in a matter of few weeks of study. Add to that, the number of business books that package circumstantial application of theories into ‘ Do it yourself’ type guides. The problem with this approach is that it leaves the individual feeling confident of what they know( even though that is often insufficient) and often discourage deeper study of relevant aspects. In a society where time becomes the only measure of achievement, it is quite clear why B-Schools and MBAs are highly rated. When time is the only criteria, organisations tend to seek diluted short term yardsticks of measuring performance.. The idea is to break down an objective to short termist measures and peg success against those achievement of those goals. 

Here’s an example, you can break down your plan for climbing Mt.Everest into multiple set of actions starting from the 2 hours a day jog in the part..But what if your plan for climbing Mt.Everest starts with reading case studies of how others climbed Mt.Everest and then leads you to conclude that the best way to do that is to land up at the base camp using a helicopter and then firing yourself up the mountain through a cableway dropped off the top of Mt.Everest  that pulls you upward.  You have achieved your objective and done so in a much shorter period of time. That is a problem of purpose less management/leadership – When I see B-School grads whose only purpose in achieving that degree is to get the million dollar paycheck or a CEO role Or those who measure human capability only in terms of the paycheck they recieve, I feel sad about the education they have recieved. If a B-school degree deprives you of the ability to look at human achievement beyond the lens of what the person gets paid for, then we have a problem with the long term benefits that maybe achieved out of that degree .

Sustainable growth comes from developing real value..not from inflating or overstating value through a set of mathematical equations or creative use of semantics.


~ by exploreamaze on May 13, 2009.

2 Responses to “On B-Schools and the MBA approach”

  1. Good Comment

  2. Impresive. You write very well!
    Sometime back I had read a very strong article on education in recent times, on NY times.
    Take a look. It’s headlined – end the university as we may know it..


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