May 25, 2011

B-Schools These Days

According to, Bill Clinton believes business schools are hurting America in what they're teaching soon-to-be graduates.

His point is a valid one; essentially, he states that business schools (specifically MBA programs) teach students that either (1) the shareholder is everything, or (2) government will mess up anything/everything.

I will grant that he has a point; by moving to an all-shareholder focus, we've eliminated anyone else's concerns from being an issue. This isn't, however, entirely business's fault. Our legal climate has been pushing shareholder protection consistently for the last decade and some. Sarbanes-Oxley is a prime example of this; while I'm not defending ENRON by any means, I do think that the law made it clear that shareholders are willing and ready to seek out legal recourse. We as business-people must (and should) obey the law. Unfortunately, those laws have forced our perspectives, and we must now value our shareholders more.

That said, I am a firm believer in the triple bottom line, and so were the most influential people at my business school. I firmly believe that our current all-shareholders-only approach is changing, that the newest crops of business students are more aware of how we as people fit into the larger scheme of things, economically and socially. I think we will see a move towards tiered stakeholder viewpoints again, and I think that this attitude shift will remedy the problems our former president speaks of in his address.

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