Thursday, May 26, 2005

What Do They Teach at the Harvard Business School?

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This is my answer to this issue raised by another participant in theThomas Friedman Forum:

"I wonder what exactly the Harvard Business School teaches its aspiring managers."

First, a disclosure: I do not teach at HBS, but I have had teachers who were HBS graduates and I have spent many years teaching MBAs using HBS case studies.

What do they teach at HBS? They try to teach very talented and motivated young people to be superb managers. This includes careful acquisition of valid information, unbiased, logical and creative decison-making and determined implementation of the best strategies.

Which of the items listed above are demonstrated President Bush? Only determined implementation. He deserves "F" grades on all the others.

Why? Because George W. Bush was not a "very talented and motivated" young man at the time he was admitted. He was lazy and ignorant. He was admitted only because of his family connections.

So, they admitted him and to avoid embarrassment, they kept him and gave him a degree. He learned very little. He learned to strut and present a confident front. But he was and continues to be an empty suit with antisocial tendencies.

The Harvard Business School is an excellent school. The Admissions Committee made a mistake in admitting George W. Bush. The professors and administrators at HBS could have done the country a favor by expelling him during his first year there. Their failure to do so shows the huge cost of excessive permissiveness.

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