Occupy Wall Street Fuels New Round of MBA Bashing

Wharton students taunt protesters with chants of “Get A Job!” and a banner which reads “Get Into Our Bracket” (Photo from The Daily Pennsylvanian)

The invasion of The Wharton School’s Huntsman Hall last week by Occupy Wall Street protestors has fueled a new round of MBA bashing. The protest on Oct. 21 led House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to cancel his Wharton Leadership Lecture hours before it was to occur on Friday.

But some 100 protesters managed to march into Huntsman Hall—the epicenter of Wharton’s B-school campus–through an Au Bon Pain outlet. Their temporary occupation of the school’s largest building led to back-and-forth taunting between Wharton students and the protestors.


On video (see below), Wharton students can be heard jeering the protesters, shouting “Get A Job! Get A Job!” A small group of Wharton students, standing on the balcony above the protesters, unfurled a makeshift sign with the words: “Get Into Our Bracket!” The protesters countered, with loud boos and chants of “We are the 99 Percent! So are you! Join us.”

In the aftermath of the event, the conflict between the MBAs and the protestors has been picked up by a website called “ThinkProgress: The 99% Movement” under the headline, “Students At Elite Wharton School Mock 99 Percent Movement: ‘Get A Job! Get A Job!’ The site has a video of the shouting match.

“While the students who jeered the protesters certainly do not necessarily represent all Wharton students, it’s important to understand the context of the elite status they likely either come from or graduate into,” the writer of the article noted. “Wharton graduates much of the nation’s corporate elite, with the median starting salary for an MBA graduate being $145,000 — six times the poverty level for a family of four.

“The school’s Board of Overseers is staffed with with multiple Goldman Sachs executives and high-ranking employees of a wide variety of financial firms. Meanwhile, its Graduate Executive Board is staffed with senior employees of Bank of America, Blackstone Financial Management, and PMC Bank. Wharton’s endowment is $888 million, greater than that of many large public universities. Essentially, the students jeering the protesters represented the future financial elite.”


The story has touched off a highly contentious flurry of MBA bashing comments. “It’s why I tend to believe that people with MBA’s have no soul or humanity,” wrote Todd McMillin, who apparently is a student at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. “It’s like they breed it out of them or have some evil magical ritual to suck their humanity away. Even at our college, the MBA crowd became a bunch of sociopaths…”

Adds another commenter, identified as Chic Scott: “It costs almost $100,000 a year to attend this school and one has to figure that already, to receive the bachelor’s degree at a four year university, a student’s family has already spent two maybe three times that amount depending on what school they attended. Who can afford, except for the very top income earners or those gifted students able to secure a limited number of scholarships, a half million-dollar education? And those who graduate from schools like this have a foot in the door at every company in the world because of the reputation of the school. I think the picture captures the current state of American society…a couple of members of the “elite” standing (literally) over the suffering majority with big smiles and taunts of “get a job”, and no understanding of the lives and struggles of the people they are taunting…and the gap widens.”


Audinga Besusparyte, who identified herself as a Wharton student, tried to defend her fellow students at the school. “Many of the Wharton students are working very hard—16 hours a day,” she wrote. “I believe whoever does so will be able to make a living, too.”

Her defense only incited many others to post retorts. “A lot of people are working 16 hours a day and only barely making a living, with no big prize at the end,” complained Joshua Lackey. “The students at the school are privileged. I doubt without significant support form their parents, that they’d be able to attend such a university. I wish what you “believed” was actually true, but it isn’t.”

Surprisingly, some of the attacks were from readers who claimed they are Wharton alums. “Wharton students prove once again that they have no souls. I went there for four years so I witnessed it first hand,” wrote Heather Meads.


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