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A Rant: Shifts in MBA Admissions; Manufacturing Sought more than Finance

A recent Wall Street Journal article, "Harvard Business School Changes It's Class Profile," talks of how most business schools are following suit with Harvard and increasing admissions from other backgrounds like manufacturing. I find this completely logical and mind-blowing at the same time. It's logical because manufacturing is the backbone of any country, it's a basic fact everyone learns in business school. But, I could be wrong, so someone, please show me a thriving service based country. As well, the article and concept, is mind-blowing because we have one of our brightest business education centers (the one's who taught us that manufacturing is the lifeblood of a good economy) in the world saying; "We are cutting back in those with finance backgrounds and increasing admission from those with a diversity background, such as manufacturing." Which leaves me to ask, where the heck has the admissions department been for the last few years? Simply, going with a trend?

Which brings me to why I'm so torqued to see this printed. Some months back, I was reading my Harvard Business Review, not the bible but always full of interesting ideas, when I came across this apology from one of the institutions most known educators: Robert S. Kaplan "The Hollow Science." Mr. Kaplan starts the column by saying:

"In the aftermath of the financial meltdown, it's become clear that the executives of many major financial institutions operated with inadequate and distorted information about the value and risks of their firms assets. As a result, they failed to anticipate the crisis and reacted slowly and ineffectively when it hit."

Then goes on to say:

"its fair to say that business scholars bear some responsibility as well. We have largely failed to produce a body of knowledge that would have helped companies value and manage risky financial assets."

When I first read the column, I was rather irritated. No executive should be operating with inadequate and distorted information. They can't afford, not to know how their company is run and what the risks are. Show me where a large conglomerate executive has to be ignorant to be effective, and I'll show you a failing business. At one point, I sat down and wrote a letter, but I was still irked, so I ditched the letter. But, why am I irked? It's not because I feel let down by some God or something. As a young executive while in business school, I never looked to the professors as the only ones who got it. I think I've been irritated because we lost common sense. Here is major educator in our country saying, "Ya know. It's partly our fault <[em>education]. We didn't train accountants about how to really do accounting." Sigh

I know. I know. I know; there we're other factors involved, I get that. Now if you read the article by Kaplan above, you might also become a little miffed at the analogy he uses in the article. Mr. Kaplan likens our recent lack of knowledge on risky investment to that of 19th century cartographers who only mapped the coastlines of Africa, never knowing what was in the middle. Sure the analogy came from some other essay, and "he" didn't create it but Harvard, or any business school today, can't afford to "just touch" the skin and ignore the meat.

I like to make an effort to give back to my visitors because you are all awesome; anyway I thought I would mention Grand River Moving just in case you are looking for a moving company. Anyway, returning to the subject on hand...

Don't say you are partly to blame, you are mostly to blame. You churn business people just as a medical school churns doctors. I'm so glad our medical schools are at least a little bit concerned with what is inside the skin sack. Simply, teach the following: common sense, community, teamwork, and innovation. Just Do Good Work!

(stepping off my hand carved soap box)

Yea, I was and still am a bit angry over what I felt was a lightly written column by a great educator and institution of our time. But, as they say, it is what it is. Money and greed do strange things to people. We can save that discussion as well as what government involvement does to truly hamstring capitalism. I'm glad to see Harvard moving back to what we all know to be true, a healthy economy is built upon manufacturing. But are they just riding a popular trend of "finance haters?" Time will tell. The bigger question is going to be how we bring manufacturing back to this country. We've outsourced and offshored so much, couple that with a highly paid workforce, and it's going to take some great thinking to bring us back to a strong manufacturing base. It's not all lost. It's just wandering around a bit.

Whew.had to get that off my chest.

Article Resources

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Posted in Publishing and Printing Post Date 12/15/2014


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