B-Schools & its relevance
Management is at once a dangerous and a potent science.
It is potent in that it has been able to organise humanity at an unprecedented scale. I’m a management nerd who lapped up all the language and concepts at B School and I could confess that I still love that discipline…
Its danger is in its disconnection from deeper values — regard for the planet, anchoring in co-operation and looking at ‘success’ from a much broader lens.
Every year, business schools send armies of bright young warriors into the corporate battlefield. Here, for most part, there is a seamless integration into the corporate space rather than questioning or dialogue on the impacts of the company (both on their own lifestyles as well as the society)
As an MBA, I know that abstracting reality and converting it into numbers and models will make me impact it much more and be profitable personally. It will also create a rarified world that ‘commoners’ won’t understand. I can’t ever have the moral compass thats needed to hold this level of power.
Moreover, the structure management students walk into is a for-profit with a limited liability. This fundamental asymmetry where shareholders have a limited risk but an unlimited upside itself has challenges. Since shareholders are so scattered and distant, they can collectively agree easily on maximising profit, but will find it much harder to ask for more nuanced adjustments from the company.
I have considered burning my degree but decided against it, because I trust the intent of the B-School system as well as the people involved in it. It also represents the fond memories and learning that I’ve had the privilege of receiving.
However, it is time to urgently reflect on how the underlying values are panning out in the real world. As a discipline that powers a lot of the world today, management has the possibility to be the leadership engine for a new story.
Will it have the magnanimity to question and fundamentally redesign itself? I hope so (I’m a believer!)