Decline of ‘Western Civ’ in the undergrad? No problem, the MBA will take care of that

Survey courses in “Western Civilization,” once a common component of undergraduate curricula, have almost disappeared as a requirement at many large private research universities and public flagships, according to a study by the National Association of Scholars.

The report finds that, since 1968, the number of the selected colleges that require Western Civilization courses as a component of general education curricula and U.S. history as a component of history majors has dropped. ( via Inside Higher Ed)

Meanwhile,

the Dean of a well-ranked business school is proud to announce that his graduate studies contains a combination of character-building (often discussed as an outcome in high school)  and the humanities (often perceived to be the overall outcome of undergraduate education).

Go figure.

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They will be managing my retirement fund… and yours!

February 2011: dozens of MBA applicants at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business are found to have submitted plagiarized essays.

February 2012: a dozen MBA applicants at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management are found to have submitted plagiarized essays.

via Orange Crate Art.

Mintzberg: Who Will Fix the US Economy?

The place to start is America’s executive suites, which should be cleared of mercenaries in order to encourage real leadership. That is the easy part: get rid of the obscene compensation packages and watch the mercenaries disappear. People who care about building and sustaining decent enterprises – and who understand that doing so is a team exercise ­– can then take over. (…)

Public support should be shifted from protecting large established corporations to encouraging the growth of newer enterprises. And startups should be discouraged from rushing into the embrace of the stock market’s short-sighted analysts and many an established corporation should be encouraged to escape that embrace. At the same time, regulation and taxation should be used to rein in disruptive day trading and other exploitative speculation that crowds out sustainable investment and disrupts regular business activities.

Above all, what the American economy needs now are managers who know and care about their businesses. Armies of MBAs who have been trained to manage everything in general but nothing in particular are part of the problem, not the solution.

via Project Syndicate.

Business schools and their inability to make you think

via The Management Myth

The best business schools will tell you that management education is mainly about building skills—one of the most important of which is the ability to think (or what the M.B.A.s call “problem solving”). But do they manage to teach such skills? (…)

What they don’t seem to teach you in business school is that “the five forces” and “the seven Cs” and every other generic framework for problem solving are heuristics: they can lead you to solutions, but they cannot make you think.

Case studies may provide an effective way to think business problems through, but the point is rather lost if students come away imagining that you can go home once you’ve put all of your eggs into a two-by-two growth-share matrix.

What is a Master’s degree worth?

A debate at NYTimes.com

The banker and the fisherman

An oldie but a goodie. Students: for effect, replace investment banker with MBA.

An investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The banker complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The fisherman replied, “Only a little while.”

The banker then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?

The fisherman said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The banker then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a nap with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I play guitar and sing with my friends. I have a full and busy life.”

The banker scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a
middleman, you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to a big city where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the banker replied, “15-20 years.”

“But what then?”

The banker laughed and said that’s the best part.  “When the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”

“Millions…Then what?”

The banker said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a nap with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could play your guitar and sing with your friends.”

Recent business program rankings

and IESE’s position worldwide:

#12 Executive Education programs – Open enrollment, Business Week

#12 Executive Education programs – Customized curriculum, Business Week

#16 Executive MBA programs, Financial Times

#17 Executive MBA programs, Business Week