Changing Face of Elite B Schools
When the Harvard Business School was founded in 1908, the school became the first postgraduate school of business to require an undergraduate degree for admission. A future Harvard president Abbott Lawrence Lowell went on to call it a “great” but “delicate experiment.” Today, the school is indisputably a marriage between its prestige and intellectual pedigree and has been yielded as an institution that not only teaches the fundamentals of business education, but also provides its students an overwhelmingly “unrivalled opportunity”. As Duff Mcdonald puts it in his book “The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite,” the school has become a “money machine unto itself.”
HBS had even helped the U.S. win World War II. The school was a brand of the military, and helped with statistical work in managing people, materials, getting them to the right place at the right time.
But, to many economists, its transgressions loom larger. For decades now, HBS has provided the ideological foundations for the junk-bond financing in hostile takeovers resulting in the rise of not-so-legitimate chief executives and corporate raiders – all at the left, right and center of a violent collapse. In fact, it has picked up steam in more recent decades starting with the avalanche of corporate accounting scandals of
the 2000s; the shocking increase in the pay gap between chief executives and ordinary workers; and even the real estate crash and the ensuing financial crisis.
While the actions of many leaders remain a subject to spirited debate, many out of the most prestigious business schools are credited with extenuating the damage and saving the economy from an even worse catastrophe. Given the large number of business grads in high-ranking executive positions from some of the most prestigious business school, it’s inevitable that many would be ensnared in some sort of global catastrophe.
This raises the question: Do we need our business schools to play a part in helping more people who think about business rediscover a purpose rather than profit?