Chang­ing Face of Elite B Schools

Industry Leaders - - Content Features -

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?

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