Blissfully optimistic article (paid subscription required) in the current Chronicle of Higher Education (a trade mag for the academic set) about attempts to redesign MBA programs for increased “flexibility and relevancy”. There is, of course, no denying the remarkable ride that MBA programs have had over the last few years, as the following graph shows:
As I argued in a letter to the editor, however, nothing will change at business schools until the faculty changes: business is the only professional school where not only does research lag practise, but elsewhere-unemployable faculty are actually threatened by practise, unlike their counterparts in engineering, medicine, and law. Re-arranging courses and programs is a futile, cosmetic exercise until business schools realize they rot from within.
Here is a quote saying same attached to the article. It’s from a current Sloan MIT MBA attendee, and it matches up nicely with my own experience with many former business school colleagues:
Sloan professors keep pretending that they do useful work while all the student know the truth. During any lecture, at least one-third of the students have their laptops open to check e-mail, net-surf, and to pass around sarcastic remarks and jokes about the class and the professor. Other students are just too polite to open their laptops. More experienced professor know to occasionally crack a joke or two to keep students awake and entertained, and the charade goes on. The younger professors clearly are very insecure about themselves, and it shows especially when it is obvious they know much less than their more knowledgeable students who held respectable jobs with real responsibilities, jobs that the professors could never get when they were graduating from college. Rejected by the worl and hiding in the academic cocoon their entire lives, many professors have the maturity level of 16 years olds and are sophomoric in thinking and behavior. The biggest challenge of being a Sloan student is babysitting these juvenile social misfits without breaking out in open laughter.