Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ethics is not desired at MBA schools

Today's Cost Accounting Class was more of an Organizational Behavior discussion. We were talking about the ways people take decisions, and whether those decisions are based on hard and rational facts or sentiments and other considerations, such as other people of this vague notion of ethics. The outcome of the discussion was that there are no "hard" and "accurate" facts, and all information can be tweaked to satisfy and fit this or that specific story. Imminently, the questions of the validity of the MBA education popped up.

Our professor mentioned a book, in which a former MBA student accused her school of giving her a wrong type of education - focused on the bottomline and profit as the ultimate factors of success. Thinking wider, this is a major drawback of most schools topping the ranking lists - Harvard Business School, London School of Business, or even IMD. IE Business School, luckily, stands slightly aside from that general cohort with a differentiated focus on entrepreneurship, sustainability and social responsibility. At least, we hear those nice things quite often.

Another interesting point that we picked up was that some of my classmates (and I have no reasons not to believe it, as I am aware of some of the personal stories) are in the same class with me because they lost their jobs because of the crisis, attributed to over-relying on the financial side of the MBA programs. Some schools were directly blamed for the crisis. So, now those (un?)fortunates are doing their MBAs. Vicious circle?

In my opinion, the curricula need to be reviewed, but if all of a sudden the business schools start producing armies of environment-conscious, people-loving and sustainability-concerned professionals, won't it cause the opposite effect? Finding the balance is going to be hard, and the battle field may not be in the corporate boardrooms or at government offices but in the classrooms of the elite educational providers across the globe.

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