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Thursday, April 1, 2010

In Response to Admissions Crisis, MBA Programs Announce Plans to Become Too Big to Fail

It has not been a good year for MBA programs. It's towards the end of the admissions seasons with another drop in applications and business schools are getting buffeted by the aftershocks of the economic earthquake. Failed management consultants are trying to revive their careers by cranking out paint by numbers anti-MBA articles. Visa problems have cut back the international pool and financial scandals have resulted in the school's reputations taking a beating not seen since the Buffalo Bills last qualified for the Super Bowl.

Business School deans have noticed an impact on their personal lives.

Harvard's dean commented that his daughter burst into tears at the dinner table because her friends made fun of his profession. "She asked me why I couldn't be more like her friend Cindy's dad," the dean complained, "Cindy's dad runs an internet porn site!"

Wharton's dean recanted his experience at his son's career day at his elementery school. "As soon as I mentioned that I worked at a business school, some kids in the front row threw quarters at me and chanted 'Bail Out! Bail Out!' The first question that I got asked was isn't a golden parachute too heavy?"

This has resulted in a crisis of confidence. Applicants were pulling out their applications and submitting them to law and medical even veterianarian programs. This drop in applications can have a severe impact on the MBA program's acceptance rate. If the acceptance rate drops below a certain threshold, this triggers a call for collateral by magazines that produce business school rankings or else schools are dropped a tier in the rankings. For example, if Harvard's acceptance rate increased from 8% to 20%, US News and World Report could require an increase in advertising rates or otherwise Harvard would become a second tier school.

MBA deans denounced the run on their applications and blamed their liberal arts colleagues for spreading rumors. In the jungle of the academic world, these MBA deans have not lost their resourcefulness. When the going gets tough, the tough make deals. Therefore, the deans of Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, Kellogg, Stanford, MIT, Chicago and Tuck announced that they would all merge into one business school that would be called "Too Big To Fail (TBTF)" until Kellogg's Marketing Department could come up with a better name.

"Like all good marketers," commented one Kellogg professor, "we're going to start with a good acronym and figure out a name from there. The main acronym that we're considering is FUBAR." Upon hearing that news, Duke's Fuqua Business School immediately claimed trademark infringement.

TBTF or FUBAR ran into some initial problems during the organization process. They invited the country of Columbia instead of Columbia University to their kick off meeting. "Like half of the people who apply to Columbia don't make the same mistake," fumed the Tuck dean when confronted.

When asked how the merging of the same business schools would correct the MBA business model, MIT's dean commented, "It's about improving efficiency. We've all come to terms with the fact that no one really thinks there is any difference what so ever between our programs. Students generally apply to all eight schools. Companies generally recruit at all eight schools. If you want a top business school, you'll generally be happy with an employee or education from any of these programs. Sure some will claim that Chicago's better for finance or Harvard's better for leadership or they just felt there was a good fit at Tuck. However, there is much difference between tomato and basil pasta sauce or just plain tomato pasta sauce or Prego or Ragu as there is between any of our programs.

The dean continued, "There will also be improved efficiency as no one will have to spend time deciding if Columbia is a better program than Chicago or if Stanford is better for venture capital than Wharton. Look, you say tomato, I say tomato, all eight programs are the same damn school. We should have merged 20 years ago."

When asked about the MIT dean's comment, the Harvard dean sniffed and said, "That's why we generally don't let MIT people interact with the public. Our merger will create significant syngeristic streams by leveraging our enterprise platforms to create added value for all segments of consumers. Shotgun writing the case study!" The Tuck dean whooped and shotgunned a can of Miller High Life in agreement while the Wharton dean rolled his eyes and mock vomited in the Chicago dean's brief case.

Response from the rest of the MBA programs was swift. Darden announced that they will cement their position as the most rigorous and hardest working MBA program by not allowing their students to wear shoes and limit daily calorie consumption to 2,000.

Yale attempted to merge with their law school but in the haze and confusion wound up really merging with their School of Forestry. This turned out to be a surprisingly serendiptious combination as all students went into the woods to find trees to hug. Berkeley's Haas program sent out a letter to Yale requesting a three-some next year.

"A three-some is a common merger term," fumed the Berkeley dean to a room of giggling reporters.

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