Business Schools Gone Bad?

While the number of newly graduated MBA students finding succesful employment is on an upward trajectory for the first time in four years, the academic ccurriculum is facing increased scrutiny. The credibilty of American business programs is under attack, largely due to the number of scandals that have arisen in recent years.
“Students have been freed from any sense of moral responsibility,” says Sumatra Ghoshal, himself such an academic at the London Business School, in a Feb. 17th article in the Economist.
Yet while Enron, the King Daddy of the moraless list, hosted an environment rich in business school educated executives, the crime scenes of many similar scandals did not. Richard Schrush, former boss of Health South, had no such credentials, yet his trial on 58 different charges of fraud amounted to billions of dollars. At his trial, the jury heard the following taped conversation:
“I’m gonna talk, talk to y’all just real. This conversation did not take place. OK?” followed by: “They ain’t got nothing. They didn’t ask me nothing about the numbers.” Business school might have assisted Mr. Schrush in employing sounder strategies.
Suffice it to say, there are two sides to this coin. While an MBA is clearly not a prerequisite for number bending behavior, it may at times help hone the art of it.

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