Trouble with MBAs


Written on 7:22:00 AM by Oakie Chiraskamin

I just read an article in Fortune magazine (30 Apr 2007), about the trouble with MBAs. The article is quite interesting and related to our future, and world's business. Here are some catchy parts from the article.

Employers are finding that freshly minted graduates lack key interpersonal skills, so B-schools are changing to ensure that quantitative geniuses also learn how to hug it out. When Jack Welch gave a guest lecture at MIT's Sloan School of Management in 2005, someone in the crowd asked, "What should we be learning in business school?" Welch's reply: "Just concentrate on networking. Everything else you need to know, you can learn on the job." Sloan's dean, Richard Schmalensee, was stunned because "Jack was essentially saying a graduate business degree was a waste of time." Not long after that visit, MIT began a curriculum rethink - dialing back on pure quantitative skills and adding more interpersonal coursework. Wharton, Tuck, Chicago, the University of Virginia's Darden, and Berkeley's Haas School, among many others, have also started stressing teamwork and are paying more attention to "soft" skills like listening to colleagues.
(see the full article here)

I think it's time to shift and re-visit the curriculum but in my deeper mind, I don't think that those "soft" skills can be taught. It can be set as a guideline, but i don't believe that interpersonal skills can be well taught. The students spent almost 20 years differently with different skill sets before they join the b-schools. Some know perfectly how to give hand-shaking, some are very talkative, some are so self-defense, those 20 years experiences shaped them to be who they are. I still think that the best interpersonal skills can be learned from the real business environment that we got real clients, suppliers, bosses, colleagues, and partners. It doesn't mean that b-schools should do nothing but try to teach them as good as they can. (pic via)

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