Business professor Henry Mintzberg of McGill has a new and critical book out on MBAs and business schools in general. Here are some typically Mintzberg-ian quotes from “Managers, not MBAs” :
“Trying to teach management to someone who has never managed is like trying to teach psychology to someone who has never met another human being.”
“The dangerous people, especially in this hyped-up society, are … those whose confidence exceeds their competence. These are the people who drive everyone else crazy. MBA programmes not only attract significant numbers of such people but encourage their tendencies.”
I’m admittedly no fan of traditional business schools nor traditional MBA factories, but here are two comments, the first made by the author of an FT piece on the book, and the second my own:
- If MBAs are value-destroyers, as Mintzberg argues, as opposed to merely being empty degrees, then the market will take care of itself — eventually. After all, markets work (mostly), and easily-identifiable people who suck value out of companies perpetually are self-refuting.
- A long-time business professor who professes distaste for MBAs is more than a little incongruous. Granted, perhaps he think this is a good position from which to effect change, but an easier interpretation is that Henry has found a convenient synecure from which to cynically send self-elevating criticisms.