Q&A with Second-Year Stanford MBA Students

28 Nov 2017 | Stephanie Witlin, assistant director of MBA Admissions, and second-year MBA students Animesh Agrawal ’18 and Sushmitha Nannuru ’18 answer questions about the application process and the student experience on the Stanford GSB campus.



Can Business Schools Make Companies Ethical?

Source | FastCompany : BY MEGAN KAMERICK

Corporate misanthropes are nothing new, but Martin Shkreli is a special case. He became one of the most hated men in America for awhile when he gained the rights to a lifesaving drug and then boosted the price by 5,000%, basically because he could. That wasn’t illegal, just casually cruel.

Shkreli got an undergraduate business degree at Baruch College and some see him as a model for millennials to learn what not to do in business. But what lessons do business students learn from the “Pharma Bro” or corporations that behave badly?

Will in-depth analysis of Uber’s hiding a massive data breach teach newly minted MBAs to stand up for what’s right in their first jobs? If they’re faced with pressure to produce sales at all costs, will they succumb to temptation to follow the path of Wells Fargo and create false customer accounts?

Questions about what business students are learning usually emerge after egregious examples of malfeasance. In 2008 and 2009, people wondered whether business schools should have borne some of the blame for ethical lapses at collapsing firms. Similar questions arose around the bankruptcies of Enron and WorldCom earlier that decade, and a recent book looks back at the role Harvard Business School played in the growth of corporate greed in the 1980s.

Business students today are definitely more likely to at least hear discussions about corporate social responsibility and ethics mixed in with classes on finance and management. Corporate social responsibility generally means actions taken by companies to measure, and take responsibility for, their effects on the wellbeing of the environment and the larger society.

This shift is being driven in part by the students themselves. A survey by Deloitte found millennials are generally pro-business, but think big corporations could be doing more to address society’s ills.

“It’s become a foundational expectation for what schools do,” says Dan LeClair, an executive vice president with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the main accrediting organization for business schools. “Business schools are starting to realize that their purpose in education is not just to solve problems for business, but to solve problems for business in the context of society.”

In its accreditation standards, LeClair’s organization notes business schools must “demonstrate a commitment to address, engage and respond to current and emerging corporate social responsibility issues.” Those include “diversity, sustainable development, environmental sustainability and globalization of economic activity across cultures.”

Paul Adler, however, rejects the idea that this generation is more socially conscious than previous ones. A professor of management and organization at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, Adler sees several forces at work, including a challenging labor market that makes it more difficult for college graduates to find a path in this world.

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Harvard Business School says it manufactures leaders. That’s BS.

Source | LinkedIn : By Duff McDonald

On the one hand, Professor Abraham Zaleznik was a typical HBS lifer: After earning his MBA in 1947, he stuck around to earn his doctorate in commercial science and subsequently spent more than four decades on the faculty. But he wasn’t typical, really. More interested in the social psychology behind leadership than in how to squeeze a few more dollars out of a product, Zaleznik also spent more than a decade studying at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society Institute and twenty years as a practicing clinical psychoanalyst while teaching at HBS.

Zaleznik’s early work was in keeping with the thinking of Elton Mayo in that he sought, in instances of worker dissatisfaction, an answer that lay in the worker’s unconscious mind rather than in the actions of managers themselves. Along with coauthors C. Roland Christensen, George Homans, and Fritz Roethlisberger, his 1958 book, The Motivation, Productivity, and Satisfaction of Workers: A Prediction Study, explained that the worker brought at least part of his dissatisfaction to work with him. Zaleznik later explained the thesis: “Underlying their behavior was a need to protect themselves from, and achieve a measure of control over, authority figures in the factory, community, and society.”

But that was chewing over old turf. Where Zaleznik broke new ground was in a 1977 article he wrote for HBR, “Managers and Leaders: Are They Different?” The question was very timely—by the late 1970s, American managers’ high self-regard had become so deep-seated that leadership development had become profoundly conservative, overemphasizing competence and control at the expense of inspiration, vision, and passion. In short, America had been “overmanaged” and “underled.” While it was too late to avoid the effects of that shift—the country never saw its economic comeuppance coming—the article nevertheless served to spark a revolution in the priorities of business schools that suddenly found that they were selling a product no longer in demand. Zaleznik’s question was on point, but few could have foreseen the monumental—and not entirely positive—changes that it unleashed.

Indeed, the article’s future impact can be traced to just nine words: “managers and leaders are very different kinds of people.” How different? Managers are competent. They focus on process. They make the trains run on time. Leaders are imaginative. They focus on substance. They decide where the train is going to go. Per author Matthew Stewart: “Managers are people who do things right; leaders are people who do the right thing.” Wallace Donham had wanted Harvard MBAs to be both. But suddenly, it seemed, one had to make a choice.

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I Guest Lectured at the Same Business School That Rejected Me

Source | LinkedIn : By Joah Spearman

Yesterday, I had the privilege of being a guest lecturer at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas. Here’s a photo of me walking through Localeur’s investor deck with second-year MBA students in the second of two classes I spoke with.

It wasn’t until I was on the phone with my mother last night that she reminded me that I’d actually been rejected from this very business school which is how I ended up being a public relations major at UT instead.

Thankfully it all worked out for the best – doing media relations for the Texas Longhorns, speechwriting in DC, advising companies like FedEx, launching Sneak Attack, creating Style X, getting recruited by Bazaarvoice, co-founding Localeur – from a professional standpoint, but it’s funny how university admissions officers don’t fully understand how to measure aptitude and potential, especially if they’re looking at first-generation college graduates. It reminds me a lot of venture capitalists today.

Needless to say, yesterday was a bit of a microcosm for what it’s been like for me to be a Black man and tech founder in America.

I was standing in a room that I was deemed unworthy and unqualified of sitting in as a student some 15 years ago, despite winning over two dozen academic scholarships to attend UT, but there I was yesterday lecturing to students who have more academic training than me and are likely more “qualified” to get VC backing on paper.

During the B-school courses, I asked these very well-educated, professionally-trained, MBA students if any of them could name a single African-American founder in tech. Only the professor – a woman who studies entrepreneurship – knew of a single one.

So, think about this, I literally just became the very first, I repeat, the first African-American person that these second-year business students at a highly prestigious university (spanning several nationalities not to mention work experience in numerous industries) knew who had ever founded a tech startup. And tech is one of the biggest sources of innovation and job creation in the world!

This is the barrier I’m up against.

On one hand, people interested in entrepreneurship and business aren’t accustomed to people like me – that goes all the way up to serial entrepreneurs (more than you’d think), boards and investors.

On the other hand, I have to live in a world where people who actually make decisions about the potential of someone – college admissions boards and VCs, namely – are still ill-informed and Ill-equipped to make sound decisions about the abilities of people they seldom experience.

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‘IIM-B is leading example of gender diversity’

Source | The Hindu

Only management school in India to have 28% women in two-year PG Programme, 21% women faculty and 25% women on the advisory board

In the midst of the grim situation in the city, there was some good news from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. The institute has emerged as a leading example of gender diversity in the country in the Financial Times Global Masters in Management 2016 rankings.

IIM-B was found to be the only management school in India to have 28 per cent women in their two-year Post Graduate Programme in Management, 21 per cent women faculty and 25 per cent of women on the school’s advisory board.

The institute’s s two-year Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGP) was also ranked 19, a big climb from the number 26 ranking achieved in 2015.

“IIM-B’s moving up seven spots to gain a position among the Top 20 in the 2016 Rankings reiterates our efforts towards achieving global excellence,” said Prof. Raghavan Srinivasan, Director In-Charge, IIM-B, adding that it was a proud moment at IIM-B to top the School Diversity criteria. “We focus on building leaders in a diverse ecosystem, as it helps to draw upon the widest possible range of views and experiences,” he added.

The rankings are based on data that is collected from two sources. One from the participating business schools and the other from alumni graduated from three years ago. For the 2016 rankings, the data was collected from the graduating batch of 2013. The rankings were also based partially on the success of the alumni judged from their current salaries.

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