7. Did Michael Jensen hijack economic theory and lead Corporate America down the wrong path?
“The moment of peak paradox for HBS came when it hired the economist Michael Jensen in 1985. His ideologically driven hijacking of the study of finance served as a cynical repudiation of everything that had come before him at the school. How did it happen? The way it always does: The money got too good.”
8. Which Harvard MBA has done the most harm to business and society?
“Jeff Skilling (of Enron) holds the record for the most mortifying corner-office behavior by a graduate of HBS, at least that we know of, save for some that George W. Bush engaged in while in the ultimate corner office, the White House. Amazingly, though, Skilling has also probably proved more of a boon to the school than anything else. For starters, he provided a touchpoint for fraud, a specifically egregious example of that which one should not do. If the school celebrated the company too much in case studies in the years before its demise, it has likewise been unrestrained in its condemnation of it afterward. Ironically, too, Skilling’s self-destruction has led the school to double down on the thoroughly bogus notion of the moral authority of the CEO. That’s what (HBS Professor) Bill George is doing when he yammers on about authenticity.”
9. What contribution has Harvard Business School made when it comes to teaching ethics?
“While the school has done some recent substantive work on ethics, in particular Professor Max Braverman’s work on how moral and ethical blind spots can inadvertently develop in an organization, the urgency has apparently drained from the effort as the latest crisis recedes into the rearview mirror. Casey Gerald, the MBA class speaker in 2014, says that Financial Reporting and Control, a required first-year course, could be better described as ‘How Not To Go To Jail.’ When U.S. attorney Preet Bharara came to speak to students that year, he told the audience. ‘It’s always nice to come to a business school. I run into a lot of your alumni in my work.'”
10. What impact will HBS ultimately have on Silicon Valley?
“Having first presided over the decimation of American’s manufacturing supremacy and then the distortion of the economy by Wall Street, the MBAs of the world are now invading Silicon Valley. And they are bringing their ruthless culture of winning with them. Consider four of the technology world’s standout companies–Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. Which do you think is most overrun with MBAs? Amazon, of course. A wildly successful company, to be sure, but it’s also not much more than the Wall-Mart of the Internet, and it’s the one that treats its employees most poorly. Amazon, in other words, is the one of those four companies that feels the most like yesterday and the least like tomorrow, a company driven more by cost control than quality creation. But it is also a sign of things to come: The horde of MBAs has turned its conformist gaze toward Silicon Valley, the last redoubt of innovation in America. Whether they crush it in their stampede for money and their desire for success only for the sake of it, only time will tell.”