Articles from Business Week

Was an MBA Worth Your Time and Money in 2014? What Critics Said...

Some revere it as an opportunity for personal transformation and professional advancement. Others dismiss it as a cash-burning summer camp for adults. The MBA is a divisive degree—depending on who you talk to, it will secure you a six-figure hedge fund gig, or send top venture capitalists running. Throughout the year, we asked chief executives, basketball pros, spiritual gurus, and financiers what they thought about business school and the people it produces. The best critics’ takes: Joanna Coles, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan: “I wonder sometimes if business school is the corporatization of education.” Deepak Chopra, alternative medicine advocate: “We have immense problems right now—social injustice, economic injustice, climate change, war, terrorism, new epidemics of all kinds … and business is in a position to help.” Linda Heasley, CEO of Lane Bryant, UCLA Anderson MBA ’86: “It’s an amazing networking opportunity.” Antoine Walker, retired NBA star: “Having some [business] training on my own would definitely make me make better decisions, but also make me make wiser decisions.” T. Boone Pickens, CEO and founder of BP Capital Management: “If I were Drake, I wouldn’t waste my time on it.”Read full story:...

Stanford Bets Big on Virtual Education

Stanford’s Graduate School of Business took its relationship with online education to the next level on Wednesday, when it announced that a new program for company executives will be delivered entirely by way of the Internet. “I don’t know of anything else like this,” says Audrey Witters, managing director of online executive education at Stanford GSB. “We’ve put together something for a very targeted audience, people who are trying to be corporate innovators, with courses where they all work together. That’s a lot different from taking a MOOC [massive open online course].” Stanford said it will admit up to 100 people to the LEAD Certificate program, which will begin in May 2015 and deliver the “intimate and academically rigorous on-campus Stanford experience” to students from the comfort of their computer screens. In an effort to make students “really feel connected to each other, to Stanford, and to the faculty,” the eight-course program will encourage students to interact through message boards, online chats, Google Hangouts, and phone calls over the course of its yearlong duration, Witters says. “We really want to create the high-engagement, community aspect that everyone who comes to Stanford’s campus feels,” she says. STORY: Steve Ballmer Goes to College: On Campus With Stanford’s New Professor The classes will be offered on a platform supplied by Novoed, a virtual education company started by former Stanford professor Amin Saberi and Stanford Ph.D. student Farnaz Ronaghi. The B-school has invested a significant chunk of its resources in launching the program: About 10 to 15 faculty members are slated to teach the courses. In addition to building a studio where it will film course videos, the school has hired a growing pool of educational technology experts and motion graphic designers to...

Steve Ballmer Goes to College: On Campus With Stanford’s New Professor...

The public knows only one version of Steve Ballmer: the blustery salesman, sweating and booming away and trying to rally Microsoft (MSFT) employees or win over investors. It’s not our fault that we think of Ballmer in this way; it’s his. He put on so many of these performances that he turned into a caricature. Yet, when you hear Ballmer reflect on his cheerleader persona, you know the public image of the man is incomplete. “What’s the old existentialist saying?” he asks me while we talk in a small office at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. “A man is the sum total of his actions. Even back through high school, when we first started to study this, I began to really believe it. This wasn’t ‘I think therefore I am,’ like the Cartesians. You’re accountable for what you do. You’re not accountable for what you thought. You’re not accountable for what you recommended. You’re accountable for what you actually got done.” “So, you know,” Ballmer continued, “would I do some of those things, if I could, back? Would I run around quite as silly as I used to? Probably not. Some of that is age. But I’m not embarrassed by it. I stand up and say, ‘Hey, it was part of what was important.’ It’s the way I felt. It’s part of what was important for my job. No, I stand behind it.” STORY: Steve Ballmer’s New Life With the Clippers The truth is that Ballmer is a thoughtful man who operates not in one mode but four or five modes. Most of us oscillate among different flavors of our personalities, depending on the situation. Ballmer, I think, has more extreme shifts. There’s the bombastic guy everyone knows:...

Does an MBA Matter to Shareholders?

Most of the top business leaders in the world do not have MBAs, according to a report released Tuesday, Oct. 14, by the Harvard Business Review. The magazine ranked chief executives on how much return their company’s shareholders earned on their investment and how much the CEOs increased their companies’ market values during their tenure. Just 29 of the 100 best performers had MBAs, and fewer than half of the executives with MBAs got their degree from the most elite business schools. Thirteen of the 29 have MBAs from the 10 programs ranked highest by Bloomberg Businessweek. Harvard Business School produced seven of the highest-performing CEOs on the list, the most of any MBA program. The findings suggest that becoming the most valuable CEO, from the perspective of shareholders, might have less to do with whether or not you have an MBA and more to do with having the smarts and skills to lead a company. Almost a quarter of CEOs on the list—24 of 100—had engineering degrees. (Eight had both MBAs and engineering degrees.) Why did engineers do so well, even when they led such nontech companies as brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI:BB) or insurance company Sampo (SAMAS:FH)? “Studying engineering gives someone a practical, pragmatic orientation,” Nitin Nohria, dean of Harvard Business School, said in the report. “It makes you think about costs vs. performance. These are principles that can be deeply important when you think about organizations.” To Nohria’s point, the executive who topped the list, Amazon.com (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos, has an engineering degree and no MBA. The full ranking is on the Harvard Business Review’s website. Below is a list of the executives with business degrees, along with their overall rank. 2. John Martin, Gilead...

No, UCLA, Gender Equality in B-School Faculty Isn’t ‘Mathematically Impossible’...

Closing the gender pay gap at U.S. business schools is “mathematically impossible,” according to a finance professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. Bhagwan Chowdhry, writing in a recent Huffington Post article, asserts that data showing women are paid less than men does not “prove” business schools discriminate. Hiring more women, he argues, won’t fix the problem either, only lower the overall quality of the professoriate. His solution is one we’ve heard from other faculty at Anderson and elsewhere in business education: We need more “qualified” women in the “pipeline” for faculty positions. Chowdhry’s article is noteworthy because of where he teaches. Anderson has been under fire for its poor gender record, although Chowdhry, and Anderson, which posted the piece on its website, apparently don’t view this criticism as a matter of serious concern. Anderson positions the piece as an authoritative pronouncement on the futility of trying to close the gender pay gap in the general workforce. The article is simply a poorly framed defense of a situation that some, including members of Anderson’s own faculty, find unacceptable. Chowdhry’s argument is built on assumptions that are at odds with data from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) showing that female business school faculty are not only paid less at every level, but are leaving the field at higher rates than male counterparts and are less likely to advance. This pattern is evident in all business disciplines, but is especially pronounced in finance, where the numbers of women are smaller, the attrition rate steeper, and the pay gap greater. (Finance is where the gender imbalance is greatest, at a 10 percent female/90 percent male ratio.) The result is that over time, women remain in untenured posts while...

Seven Career Moves Every First-Time MBA Needs to Make...

Right about now, most first-time MBA students are obsessing over their coursework and the amount of studying they’ll need to cram in each day. While getting your MBA is a time-consuming experience, it’s important to focus not only on academics but also on the other areas that will help you have a successful career. Here are seven career-related steps you should take as you start your MBA program. Stay connected with your former employers and colleagues Leave your boss and colleagues with a positive impression. Emphasize that you are grateful for the experience you have had with them and that you left because you want to grow and build on that experience. Even if you are certain you won’t work for them again, they still represent a great source of professional contacts and, perhaps, future clients. Think about requesting reference letters from your colleagues and endorsements for your LinkedIn (LKND) page. You can even go further: Become the company’s ambassador on campus or invite some managers to be guest speakers during your MBA program. Assess yourself early and often It’s never too early to start thinking about your first job after you graduate. Ask yourself career questions from the start: What are your values, motivations, preferred management style? Are you better suited for a multinational corporation or a startup? There are tests to help you figure out what’s best for you, like Insights or GMAC’s Reflect. The assessment results may reinforce your initial thoughts, or challenge you to think differently about where you would work best. Interview 10 executives from different industries We all have preconceived ideas about what it’s like working in certain sectors, but the best way to get an accurate picture is by speaking with professionals...

Will Harvard Ever Have an MBA Class With 50 Percent Women?...

The 940 students who started classes at Harvard Business School this week counted more women in their ranks than ever before. Women are 41 percent of the school’s 2016 MBA class, according to a preliminary class profile. That’s slightly higher than the 37 percent average across all North American business schools. The school may find it difficult, however, to reach full gender equality any time soon. Despite sometimes-critical accounts of its attempts to fix the campus environment for women, HBS has managed to keep its share of new women MBAs above 40 percent for three years. The school is catching up to University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, which last year admitted 42 percent women into its MBA program, marking the fifth year its class included more than 40 percent women. Fifteen years ago, the percentage of women entering the top U.S. business schools was considerably lower, with HBS, Wharton, and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business each launching new MBA classes that were 30 percent female. At the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, only one in five students were women. Back then, NYU’s Stern School of Business was the only elite program to enroll more than 40 percent women MBAs…Lea la noticia completa en...

The B-School Case Study Gets a Digital Makeover...

New York University management professor Glenn Okun throws a 500-page, spiral-bound book of Xeroxed course materials onto his desk. The thick tome contains nearly 20 business case studies and represents just half the reading his students will plow through this fall—fairly typical of MBA courses. “Leafing through one of these is like leafing through the equivalent of the Manhattan Yellow Pages,” he says. Next, Okun unsheathes the alternative: an iPad (AAPL) edition of the same course materials—a feature NYU introduced last year. In each digital case study, students can highlight material in fluorescent colors and take notes. A tap on the screen allows them to skip to an exhibit at the end of a document, and then follow the menu back to where they left off reading—with no virtual or actual page-leafing required. All the features work offline. “Now,” Okun asks, “which would you prefer?” Case studies are the lifeblood of a business school’s curriculum. Each describes a company or economic scenario that actually happened. Students decide what they would have done had they been making decisions. As case studies migrate to tablet form, they have the potential to undergo some of the greatest transformations in the way students interact with the material since the case method was introduced at Harvard Business School in 1924. Over the ensuing 87 years, the case study has undergone some changes but remains much as it was at its inception—a straightforward narrative of business success or failure. Tablet technology may make the case study more of an interactive experience. HBS, Ivey Converting Cases to Tablet Harvard Business School, the largest publisher of case studies in North America, is in the process of converting 3,500 of its files to tablet-enhanced formats during this school...