Thursday, October 23, 2008

Questioning the MBA?

Do you think an educational approach can lead to the kind of economic meltdown we are experiencing? It's ironic that the celebration of the 100 year anniversary of Harvard Business School and the worst financial crisis in our lifetimes were happening at the same time last week - as excellently reported by the FT.

HBS offers a serious, rigorous business training. The key element is the case-study, a potted history of a given strategic management dilemma faced by businesses and organisations at different moments in the past.....
But does this high-pressure learning method imbue overconfidence as well? There is no doubt that most HBS graduates leave the institution with a very clear sense of their own worth and capabilities. They are not set up to fail. And yet, equally clearly, HBS alumni were involved at the heart of the investment banking and strategy consulting worlds that now stand accused of destabilising the world's financial system to the point of destruction.

One of the things I really enjoy about FirstRain and in particular in our free report Eye On The Storm is the juxtaposition of opposing views that we see in the research. So at the same time as the FT is subtly questioning whether the Harvard MBA has contributed to the crisis - EMII reports on the hilarious, in your face, letter that Andrew Lahde wrote to his hedge fund clients as he closed down the fund.

Andrew Lahde, founder of Santa Monica, Calif.-based Lahde Capital Management, bid adieu to hedge fund clients in a letter thanking stupid people for making him rich. Lahde, who managed about $80 million, made an 870% gain last year.
One of his hedge funds strategies was just shorting the ABX. ``The low-hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG,
Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government,” Lahde wrote.
“All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy, only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other sides of my trades. God Bless America.'' The letter also ended with a plea to legalize marijuana.

Priceless!

1 comment:

Me said...

I would put the blame on people's greed and selfishness. Business schools teach their students the skills and knowledge on how to run a business. It didn't say a "moral" business. The same skills can be applied on charitable organization just as much as a drug-traffic business. Can we blame the business school if the students take the skills for bad uses?

Then, one might say that business school is to blame because they don't teach their students the high moral integrity on running a business. Good point. Then, how about the church, their parents, and so on. Who would learn their moral value at a business school?

There are enough blame to go around, but one thing that is constant is the people themselves. If they are greedy to make a buck, they will do it anyway they can. Now, did the deregulation made it easier? Yes, I think so, but that is a different topic altogether.

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