Not masters of the universe

I’ve often wondered about mmm-bahs (via Arts & Letters Daily):

If Robespierre were to ascend from hell and seek out today’s guillotine fodder, he might start with a list of those with three incriminating initials beside their names: MBA. The Masters of Business Administration, that swollen class of jargon-spewing, value-destroying financiers and consultants have done more than any other group of people to create the economic misery we find ourselves in.
From Royal Bank of Scotland to Merrill Lynch, from HBOS to Leh-man Brothers, the Masters of Disaster have their fingerprints on every recent financial fiasco.
I write as the holder of an MBA from Harvard Business School – once regarded as a golden ticket to riches, but these days more like scarlet letters of shame. We MBAs are haunted by the thought that the tag really stands for Mediocre But Arrogant, Mighty Big Attitude, Me Before Anyone and Management By Accident. For today’s purposes, perhaps it should be Masters of the Business Apocalypse.
Harvard Business School alumni include Stan O’Neal and John Thain, the last two heads of Merrill Lynch, plus Andy Hornby, former chief executive of HBOS, who graduated top of his class. And then of course, there’s George W Bush, Hank Paul-son, the former US Treasury secretary, and Christopher Cox, the former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a remarkable trinity who more than fulfilled the mission of their alma mater: “To educate leaders who make a difference in the world.”
It just wasn’t the difference the school had hoped for.
Philip Delves Broughton is the author of What They Teach You at Harvard Business School…

Mark C.

One thought on “Not masters of the universe

  1. Mississauga Tom says:

    Finally, someone is debunking the myth of the MBA. Canada’s great humourist, Stephen Leacock, was also Professor of Political Economy at McGill. That is, he was THE professor – everybody else was an associate or assistant prof. Writing in the early part of the 20th century, when $10,000 bought a heck of a lot, he said something like “a degree in business is a salary of $10,000 a year”, thus letting us know what he thought of business courses at universities.

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