Friday, July 15, 2011

MBA Scams

I was in a waiting room recently and found time to take a look at the latest issue of Time magazine. I have not taken the time to read one of these in years frankly. Been hearing all kinds of things of late about "biased reporting, liberal agenda," etc. etc. Did not really pay that much attention to it. It seems now everyone is accusing someone of some sort of agenda. Of course in the case of Fox and MSNBC I would have to agree.  It would be refreshing if someone just reported the news. Just the facts please.

I know that will not happen anytime soon.

Anyway back to the magazine; I did read a very interesting article by one Rana Foroohar, entitled Driven off the Road by M.B.A.'s, about the problem of American business being in the hands of those who hold an MBA. Sounds funny I know, but if one understands the curriculum of most programs and more importantly, the mindset of most "professors," then perhaps one may understand the problem. When these "Masters of Business" are unleashed in the real world, and if corporate leadership is foolish enough to give them free reign, then that becomes a problem.
Now Foroohar's magazine article for the most part concerns a Mr. Lutz who had a career in the automotive industry. Mr. Lutz apparently contends that part of the problem with the auto industry is that leadership has gone from the engineering sector to the "bean counter" sector. Of course quality fell and customer loyalty fell right along with it. I would submit that this type of thing is rampant in all facets of American business today.

I have known quite a number of people with an MBA. My best friend in fact holds one from a rather prestigious university. He might be the first to tell you that it really is not worth the money that is spent to obtain the "prestige" of the degree. He gets it. He understands real world business; and I think him a rarity. I have worked with people who hold business related degrees at all levels and have found most of them to be stodgy, uninventive, and arrogant. Some very basic concepts that make this country great seem to escape them. Many can not even write a lucid memo. I remember one manager, with an advanced business degree, producing in house documents so poorly written that the truck drivers at my company used to make fun of him. Not all truckers are dimwits contrary to popular belief. Of course one can't broad brush all business "educated" types by just the ignorance of some.

A lot of the problem seems to lie in the curriculum of these programs. There are some accounting classes of course, but not enough to make a graduate a real accountant. There are marketing courses but marketing is an art that can not really be taught in any school. It can be studied of course, but not taught. There are case studies of various companies but that can be done at home for free. There are legal courses but not enough to have a chance of passing the "Bar." For the most part there are few courses that teach a student real world business. Business theory perhaps, but not the nuts and bolts of running anything. I spoke recently about a local man who runs an AC/Heating outfit. He certainly has a greater understanding of the real world of business than any MBA graduate.

Problem is; these MBA types do run companies in this country. Very often into the ground. We all suffer.

Your job been "outsourced?" You can bet there are MBA grads behind it.

I would be hard pressed to put most MBA graduates in charge of a sno cone stand.


Jayhawk said...

We had a Vice President of Marketing at National Steel who sent out memos that were true masterpieces. He dictated then to his secretary, we later found out, without using any punctuation and expected her to add the punctuation for him. Then he had her send them out without reviewing them after she typed them. But she never added any punctuation, so his memos were a full page, sometimes two pages, that were all one sentence without even one comma. Amazingly, this went on for more than a year before he found out.

Even more stunning was the discovery that adding punctuation didn't help. His memos were still completely unintelligible.

Bartender Cabbie said...

My father used to bring home memos from upper management at his insurance company. They used to drive him nuts. Some was pretty incoherent.