Charles Handy

Business schools teach you the language of business, and that’s quite useful. It’s like if you want to go to work in France you have to learn French. It doesn’t mean you’re going to be very good in France, but it’s good to learn the language. I think that what business schools do is to teach you the language of business and some managerial skills, … [ Read more ]

Matthew Stewart

The best business schools will tell you that management education is mainly about building skills–one of the most important of which is the ability to think (or what the M.B.A.s call “problem solving”). But do they manage to teach such skills?

What they don’t seem to teach you in business school is that “the five forces” and “the seven Cs” and every other generic framework … [ Read more ]

George Shultz

I’ve always conceived a business school education as being a process of helping you learn how to learn from experience. It should put you in a position where, when you leave and start having experiences in the workplace, you will make the most of those experiences as you continue to learn.

Jeffrey Pfeffer

Think about what business schools do:They train people to talk about ideas and concepts and to solve problems. But the one thing they typically don’t do is train students how to actually do anything – not just analyze problems but implement their solutions in the messy world of real people.

Ask yourself this question:Would you undergo heart surgery if the surgeon had been trained in … [ Read more ]

Henry Mintzberg

MBA programmes tend to emphasise analysis and technique – they teach you to understand market research, to evaluate financial data and so on. All those things are fine and important but if you take that to be management, you’re in trouble. Conventional MBA programmes are mostly for young people with little or no experience. Management isn’t a science or a profession that can be taught … [ Read more ]

Henry Mintzberg

Business schools train people to sit in their offices and look for case studies. The more Harvard succeeds, the more business fails.

Jeffrey Garten

When it comes to business education, for better or worse — and I think for worse — business schools are followers, not leaders. Typically, business schools hold their finger up to the wind and ask, What do our customers want? They have two kinds of customers. One is the people who are doing the hiring, and the other is the students. I happen to think … [ Read more ]

Jeffrey Garten

Over the last fifteen years there have been a lot of ratings of business schools, and these ratings are very akin to customer-satisfaction ratings. You’re basically asking the students, How good was the experience? That presumes that the students know what it is that they should be learning, or whether the environment in a particular school is better than another school that they never attended. … [ Read more ]

Joseph Lampel

Business schools are invaluable for laying the foundations for the practice of management. This is especially true for marketing, finance, or human resources, but far less so for strategy. The problem with the current system is that it forces strategy into the direct and narrow approach to teaching. If the shortest distance between two points in geometry is a straight line, then the shortest distance … [ Read more ]

P Y Gerbeau

I hate management books but I’m a big fan of business books. I love to read about business, strategy and very clever business people. I love to read about marketing, corporate finance, the new accounting tools that are coming in. But no management book can tell you how to be a CEO. The MBA is a commodity – it’s a guidebook but it’s theory. There … [ Read more ]

Carl Pascarella

When I was at Stanford a professor of organizational behavior told a bunch of us, “You folks kill me. You’ve spent all your time on economics, on statistics, on policy, on accounting. Those of you that are going to end up running businesses, you’re going to hire economists and CFOs and IT people and statisticians. But what it’s all about is motivating people; it’s getting … [ Read more ]

Henry Mintzberg

The typical business school today is concerned with business functions, not management. Certainly managers have to understand business functions-marketing, accounting, sales, and so on-but the practice of business is not the same as the practice of management. Mixing all these functions together in a person is not going to produce a manager.

Now, while business schools have been successful in analyzing things, in separating all these … [ Read more ]

Henry Mintzberg

A profession has a codified body of knowledge, and to practice a profession you need to be trained and certified…But we don’t have much codified knowledge in management, and we certainly have no accreditation that ensures people are good managers; in fact, the most common accreditation-the MBA-is exactly the opposite. We have great managers who have never spent a day in a management program. We … [ Read more ]

Henry Mintzberg

Full-time MBA programs by their nature attract many of the wrong people–too impatient and analytical, with little experience in management itself. These may be fine traits for students, but they can be tragically ill-suited for managers.

Conventional MBA programs then compound the error by giving the wrong impression of management: that managers are important people disconnected from the daily work of making products and producing services; … [ Read more ]

David A. Garvin

The case method does little to cultivate caution. Decisiveness is rewarded, not inaction. Students can become trigger-happy as a result, committed “to taking action where action may not be justified or to force a solution where none is feasible.” Class discussions can easily polarize. Persuasiveness is valued-but not publicly changing one’s own mind. Few students do so in the course of discussion; if anything, positions … [ Read more ]

Richard Brookhiser

Law school worships understanding, business school worships skill. Law-school students scrutinize what has been done. If business-school students don’t quite learn by doing, they learn how things have been done.

Henry Mintzberg

Basically my objection is that MBA programs claim to be creating managers and they are not. The MBA is really about business, which would be fine except that people leave these programs thinking they’ve been trained to do management. I think every MBA should have a skull and crossbones stamped on their forehead and underneath should be written: “Warning: not prepared to manage”.

And the … [ Read more ]

Roger Martin – Dean, Rotman School of Management a

Harvard Business School creates value through its ability to find great people, extract them from their companies, turn them into free agents, assemble them in one place in Boston, and then spit them out on an extremely predictable schedule in a manner that is user-friendly to people who want to hire them. It’s not the faculty members who are doing the most useful work at … [ Read more ]