Row after row of white-shirted, 30-something men sit with wicked grins on their faces. A few high fives; back slaps; tailor-made suits; Ray-Ban sunglasses; note-packed wallets.
First, the school’s dean, and then a speaker from Wall Street congratulates them on their graduation. They’re the next generation of business leaders, he says. From their sweaty palms, the rest shall feed.
The pomp and ceremony is followed by the booze; by a night out, maybe a strip club. Then, by cocaine, casinos, glitzy offices, and job offers at JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.
These are MBA students—elitist, exclusive, smug. And this is the vision of business school that many in the mainstream media would have you believe.
In a recent article published in The Guardian, Martin Parker—himself a professor in the department of management at the University of Bristol—proposed the bulldozing of the business school.
Business schools, he says, are corrupted, profit-driven machines, producing graduates who are ‘taught that greed is good’. Most will amount to little more than ‘precarious cubicle drones in anonymous office blocks’.
As editor of BusinessBecause, I speak to business school students, grads, applicants, and staff on almost a daily basis. I’ve been in the business education space for just over two years now. Crucially perhaps, when the financial crisis hit and the reputation of business schools and MBA programs was at an all-time low, I was still prepping for my own university degree.
In my conversations, one thing is immediately clear: Today’s business school community couldn’t be further from the hedonist, male-dominated, Wolf of Wall Street stereotypes of old.
As John Byrne, editor of Poets & Quants, put it in his response to Martin’s piece: ‘More often than not, the criticism leveled at business education has little relevance today.’
Graduate Management Education (GME) has changed and is constantly changing. Today, GME appeals more than ever before to women, LGBTQ+ communities, ethnic minorities, and people from every kind of background all over the world.
In April this year, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) bought us for exactly that purpose—it’s about GME for the many, not the few.
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