The Economist rags on B-Schools

There’s an old Chinese saying that when a finger points at the moon, the idiot points at the finger. When I wrote my book about HBS, the school spent a lot of time attacking the finger – me. In fact it still does. In the meantime, it has done little to address the fundamental problems with the way it teaches businesses, see HBS Professor Joseph Badaracco’s inane complacency on the BBC World Service. Men like this deserve to be farmed out of business schools before they do further damage.

The latest Economist concurs:

“The original sin of business schools is boosterism. Professors are always inclined to puff the businesses that provide them, at the very least, with their raw materials and, if they are lucky, with lucrative consultancy work. HBS has produced fawning studies of almost every recent corporate villain from Enron (which was stuffed full of HBS alumni) to the Royal Bank of Scotland. A taste for cheerleading has been reinforced by the rise of a multi-million-dollar management-theory industry. Professors with dollar signs in their eyes are always announcing the birth of the latest revolutionary management technique or the discovery of the hottest new “supercorp”.

Business schools need to make more room for people who are willing to bite the hands that feed them: to prick business bubbles, expose management fads and generally rough up the most feted managers. Kings once employed jesters to bring them down to earth. It’s time for business schools to do likewise.”

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