Monday, October 15, 2007

Boston Globe Synchronicity

Since I've been struggling in my job search with a shiny new MBA, I have grown increasingly disillusioned with the value of the degree. The majority of part-time MBA students were getting their degree for a promotion at work or to add to their skills. I was part of the minority of students who were pursuing the degree to switch careers. Then there were the full-time students who amassed a lot of classroom knowledge with little workplace experience. This student population got the best recruiting opportunities and service from the school administration.

Today, the Boston Globe had this article. I nodded and murmured in agreement throughout most of it. Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

"Schools are trying to redefine what business leaders need to know."

Looking at my required business curriculum, business leaders need to know strategy, accounting, and organizational behavior. Yet, I found the most intriguing and useful courses were statistics and economics. Barely 6 credits (2 courses) were allotted to these subjects. There is one ethics class offered which is worth 1.5 credits.

"Other critics, like Warren Bennis and James O'Toole at the University of Southern California, have warned that business schools have grown overly academic and theoretical, far removed from the actual day-to-day operations of business and management."

Case in point. When I excitedly mentioned that I was learning activity based costing, a couple years ago, my boss told me that it's "bullshit".

"Why haven't MBA programs been more honest about where students are and where they want to go?"

NO KIDDING!!! Maybe it's because a lot of business school energy is focused on rankings and development dollars? Also, a lot of students don't need help on their destination and yet there's a minority, like me, who needs all the help they can get.

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