MBAs and BS

When I saw a Reddit entry entitled The decline of the MBA will cut off the supply of bullshit at source, and linking to The Economist, I doubted that the Reddit title was a quote from the original article. But the article, by one Lucy Kellaway, includes the following sentence.

In 2010 the decline of the MBA will cut off the supply of bullshit at source.

As a once and (probably) future business school prof, I may be biased. But I do have arguments against multiple aspects of the article.

One argument concerns the employment of MBA graduates, and is linked to the prediction that the MBA will decline next year. While it is true that an MBA may not make a job candidate stand out, the lack of one may do so. What used to be true of a bachelor’s has become true of a master’s, and partularly of an MBA. It’s a box that employers expect to be able to check for many jobs.

A second argument is provoked by the above “bullshit” quote. The quote implies that business schools, and in particular MBAs, are the world’s sole source of bullshit. Kellaway is obviously a journalist blissfully unaware of other sources – such as politicians and journalists.

Social Networks Online at Economist

The Economist‘s recent article on social networks is worth a read. It draws many connections between social networking and email.

If you suspect that there will be little in the article that you haven’t seen elsewhere before, you’re probably right. But an article that brings things together, makes good points, and makes them well is a pleasure to read, and may be a good introduction for people wondering what the fuss is about. Talking of making points well, here’s one about how deals such as Microsoft/Hotmail and AOL/Bebo are sometimes viewed.

The correct half is that a next big thing—web-mail then, social networking now—can indeed quickly become something that consumers expect from their favourite web portal. The non sequitur is to assume that the new service will be a revenue-generating business in its own right.