‘Hey, Look At Me!’ Splat.
Grant didn’t want his last name in print. And it’s not surprising. The young man had publicly humiliated himself, by blogging intensively and enthusiastically on his site “Grant Me Admission” about his quest to enter an elite MBA program. But then he didn’t get into any of the five schools he’d applied to. “I was like, ‘Hey, I’m going to lead the charge, and everyone follow me,’ and then I, like, tripped,” Grant says. In the aftermath, Grant beat himself up – his story provides a great primer on some dos and don’ts in the B-school admissions game.
There Will Be Blood
The sex scandal Poets&Quants revealed at the Stanford Graduate School of Business became world-wide news, thanks to the school’s apex stature and the plethora of lurid revelations about the affair between the school’s dean and a professor married to another professor. Court filings in a lawsuit by former GSB professor Jim Phills, married to professor Deborah Gruenfeld, against Dean Garth Saloner contained copies of numerous email and social media conversations between the dean and his paramour. These were full of the giddy, lovey-dovey schmaltz typical of an early-stage relationship, but the discussions contained more sinister words, including an evocative statement by Saloner in response to a comment by Gruenfeld about how to deal with her husband: “Knife. Penis. Town Square. Got it.”
Oh, You Poor, Poor Thing!
Appropriately, in surveying whether Harvard Business School students were “promoters” or “detractors” of the school, HBS newspaper The Harbus used a process developed by Bain & Co. consulting. The results were a little surprising: the survey said HBS students were about as likely to recommend the school to a friend or colleague as Walgreen’s workers were to recommend the drug chain as an employer. Still, respondents had plenty of good things to say about the school and MBA program. Among the critics, according to Poets&Quants‘ story on the survey, was one sad sack who appears to have experienced HBS as one would experience getting hit by a series of buses. “I think HBS pushed me too hard and I went through a phase of high anxiety and depression,” the student writes. “The second I see light at the end of the tunnel, they throw something else at me. HBS pushed me too hard.”
Entrepreneurs May Not Need Everything an MBA Confers
It’s no secret that entrepreneurship is the biggest mania in today’s MBA programs. Across the land, students are clamoring for – and receiving – more startup-related programming. And, as is evident from our story on this year’s top 100 MBA startups, many students are parlaying their MBA education into successful new enterprises. But here comes Stewart Thornhill, executive director of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, with a big bucket of water to throw on the party. The MBA education, Thornhill suggests, may be superfluous for many would-be entrepreneurs. “Yes, the MBA really helps with the practical side of running a business, like understanding how a business works from marketing issues to people issues to financial issues,” Thornhill says. “But you can learn all of that if you are a voracious reader with an internet connection.” However, Thornhill is not dismissing the value of an MBA for entrepreneurs. “The other part is the network and pedigree. Walking into an investor pitch with an MBA attached to your name gives you credentials from the beginning.”