Harvard Business School and the financial meltdown

HBS Alumni in the forefront of this economic catastrophe:

George W. Bush – President of the United States (Class of 1975)

Christopher Cox – Chairman of the SEC (Class of 1976)

Henry Paulson – Secretary of the Treasury (Class of 1970)

John Thain – CEO of Merrill Lynch (class of 1979)

Stan O’Neal – Thain’s predecessor at Merrill and the one responsible for the firm’s problems. (Class of 1978)

Andy Hornby – CEO of HBOS, Britain’s biggest mortgage lender, just bailed out. (Class of 1993)

Bush is being Bush. Paulson is doing as well as he can with the terrible cards he’s been dealt. Cox should be whipped out of Washington for not being a tougher enforcer these past few years. Thain was clever to get Merrill the deal he did. O’Neal was a disaster. Hornby appears to be a victim of this 100 year flood.

The most admirable HBS alum in all this is Michael Bloomberg (Class of 1966) who has the rotten job of guiding New York as people lose jobs and tax revenues dry up. Fortunately, he’s the single best advertisement the school has. He made his billions creating value – not simply extracting it like so many of Wall Street’s goons – and has turned out to be a great mayor.

This piece from Bloomberg in April is very telling. Note the quote from HBS professor Scott Snook that one third of Harvard MBA students “can’t really step back and take a critical view. They’re totally defined by others and by the outcomes of what they’re doing.” And Professor Rakesh Khurana: “Business schools as an institution have not effectively addressed this issue of creating a profession that has the capacity for self-regulation.”

One thought on “Harvard Business School and the financial meltdown

  1. mydailydollars

    I was just about to e-mail and ask what you’ll be writing in light of this week’s finanical news. Great blog! I’ll be stopping by regularly to see what you have to say.


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