MBA: unhappy realities

MBA: Typically, MBA's, now, are doomed to not learn much of value. Students memorize definitions and rote, functional drivel. Even much vaunted case-method programs (see, HBS) fail miserably. There's no real mystery. Business school education orientation has become vertical; executive decision-making orientation remains, as it should, horizontal. How could one possibly think that students might learn anything useful?

The root cause and common thread is faculty patently incapable of, and supremely disinterested in, rigorously linking material across the curriculum. No great surprise, that; teaching constitutes 15% of any university professor's annual salary evaluation — max. Result: Students led toward "answers" invariably narrow, shallow, and trivial. (For the curious: "research" = 80% and "service" = 5%.)

Conversely, individuals whose understanding spans the corporate structure are able to produce grounded models with real potential for business and strategic insight. That, Herr Drucker, et al, is a real source of competitive advantage; try outsourcing it!

As for quant, it's been virtually banished from all but a very few schools. Most students "don't feel good about" math and quant, so why do we stress them? Because, as executives, we're well aware of what's required for, and unabashedly only interested in, producing winners. Business desperately needs well-rounded, quantitatively literate analysts to groom for managerial tracks. Elitist? Perhaps so, but those intent upon becoming cannon fodder can find ample and ready servicing elsewhere.

Less widely known, B-Schools operate a blatant caste system. If your firm is willing to pick-up the tab (particularly for a cohort group), you can gain access to a far different and far more competent faculty from that of lesser mortal MBA's. AMP's (Advanced Management Programs) feature faculty who actually understand the world of business.

Good thing, unlike the typical well-scrubbed, but, arguably relatively ignorant MBA candidates, AMP students know a good deal about business in general and infinitely more about their specific functional area than the run-of-mill academics swarming university campuses. To deal with this knowledge imbalance, universities import external faculty with significant real-world experience.

Enter the hired-guns, among others, the isa-Faculty.