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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Call for more Skeptical MBA Bloggers

When I read the Economist's "Pedagogy of the Privileged" about business school reform, I found a very objective and accurate analysis of the state of business schools. Most of the previous articles on the state of the MBA made me feel like I am watching an out of control daytime talk shows. Columnists appear to believe that the financial crisis can be solved by throwing MBA's into volcanos.

I found myself agreeing with the Economist article, especially its calls for the virtue of "skepticism and cynicism" with "boosterism" constituting original sin. To quote:

Business schools need to make more room for people who are willing to bite the
hands that feed them: to prick business bubbles, expose management fads and
generally rough up the most feted managers. Kings once employed jesters to bring
them down to earth. It’s time for business schools to do likewise.
This trait is generally missing from the MBA blogosphere. More and more schools have official blogging platforms that promise uncensored, unedited comments. While I don't doubt the good intentions of the bloggers (or independent student bloggers), there is an entrenched conflict with being incorporated into the school's marketing. Student bloggers will benefit if their school receives more applicants and higher quality applicants since some school rankings take into account selectivity and GMAT scores.

Actually, I do doubt the intentions of student bloggers. A quick perusal of the blogs reveal praise for the incredible speakers at their school's conferences, assurances that companies are still rushing to recruit their school's amazing students, and how they never doubted their decision to attend their school. Individual bloggers face the same conflicts of interest but are marginally better. On the flip side, one of the objective bloggers almost gave up blogging because of her "frank portrayal" of her school.

MBA Bloggers, the esteemed Economist has laid out a simple path for salvation of the MBA degree (read with a British accent, it sounds more convincing). The benefits of a blog are transparency and we can provide a better service by honoring that principle. Be skeptical and question. Don't trust but verify. No one comes in first by following everyone else. No one innovates by parroting others (again sounds better with a British accent).

Rather than post about amazing speakers and presentations, one could post about that one really obnoxious member of your learning team and what you really want to do with them. Yes every learning team has that one member. Yes, even your learning team. Rather than post about all of the job opportunities, post about awkward recruiting dinners and ridiculous feedback that you get from recruiters (My favorite was from a midwest classmate who was told that his resume was to Iowa-centric. Would North Dakota have been better?). Finally, question the MBA experience! What classes looked really good but turned into your knitting hour? What did you wish that you had known then that you know now?

The MBA does not necessarily produce leaders. It sometimes produces good managers. But it should produce a more skeptical approach that understands its history.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nailed it. I loved MaybeMba's blog. I am sad to see she is not blogging anymore

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