On Campus

Business programs culpable for financial crisis?

Fingers are pointed at young, greedy MBA grads with "half-baked" finance and management education

The Guardian’s Peter Walker examines the extent to which business schools are responsible for the ongoing financial crisis:

As the debris settles from the worldwide collapse in credit and banking confidence and the reckoning begins on who exactly led the financial system into chaos, an increasing number of fingers are being pointed at leading business schools.

Similar arguments have been made before, most recently when US energy giant Enron imploded amid a mountain of concealed debt, a scandal stewarded by another Harvard alumnus, Jeffrey Skilling. Too many MBA programmes, the simplified version goes, draw in young, greedy types with little business experience and indoctrinate them with half-baked management and finance theories, along with an unshakeable belief in their own talents, before sending them out to earn ill-deserved fortunes in investment banking and consulting.

This is, of course, a gross caricature. But the turmoil has shaken business schools, many of which are devising courses to examine what went wrong. Professors are pondering whether the theories they taught played a role.

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