3/06/2014

Sucking Professionally and Academically

I’m currently reading a book (Quiet, by Susan Cain) that about introverts, introspection, and the polar opposite of those qualities which seem to be valued irrationally by our brain-dead culture. The chapter I’m currently working through is focusing on my all-time least favorite school, Harvard Business School. In my experience and study, I believe the best thing any business that hopes to be successful can do is to purge all MBAs from positions of responsibility (The best way to foolproof any system is to remove the fools from the system.) and ship as many HBS MBAs to the competition as possible.

A friend of mine recently went through a job search and, happily, found a position with a research firm in Michigan. I’m glad he has work, he’s glad he’s finally re-employed after a painful period of financial instability, and his new employer is, I hope, happy to have his talents at their disposal. I hope this is a “happily ever after” story.

If I were back on the hunt for work, though, his new employer wouldn’t be on a list of jobs I’d want. The reason is that this employer uses the HBS bury-them-in-bullshit interview system for employee selection. There may be nothing on earth I despise much more than the “interview by committee” selection system. I’ve gone through it myself a few times and have been selected by the process at least three times. Only one of those three turned out to be a good experience for me or the employer and that one happened because the owner of the company, and chief engineer, overrode the “committee” and made me an offer before the committee members came to a consensus. I turned down one of the other two jobs because I found a better opportunity before they made up their minds and the third job was one of the worst experiences of my working life.

A small part of my distain for the HBS “pull credit up, push blame down” mismanagement style comes from the dichotomy their multiple personality philosophy forces on their minimally skilled “students.” Quiet quotes the school’s profs saying “If you’re preparing alone for class, they you’re doing it wrong. Nothing at HBS is intended to be done alone.” and “Don’t think about the perfect answer. It’s better to get out there and say something than to never get your voice in.” The idea seems to be to derive every decision from a committee and for the committees to be driven by the noisiest, least prepared, least thoughtful members. Not only is that the idea, but it is absolutely the end result of their mismanagement style. The dumbest, most arrogant, least technical, least knowledgeable, loudest, threatening fools rise to the top and Decisions are consistently foolish. The work atmosphere is consistently childish and hazardous to those who think on their feet, as opposed to those to emote on their feet. If you can’t make a decision on your own, do your own research, make up you own mind, what useful contribution can you make to a committee? The answer is, of course, “none.” However, that hasn’t slowed our empire’s worst companies from swirling around that toilet bowl.

Harvard Business School’s influence on a huge variety of organizations has been catastrophic. To be clear about how completely useless HBS is, remember Larry Summers is the school’s President. Summers is on record for never having made an intelligent decision about anything in his life. He is at the heart of the world-wide economic depression we’re currently struggling to escape and he was chosen to lead this worthless institution after doing a perfectly miserable job in the Clinton administration. If you chopped that lardass into bite-sized chunks, he wouldn’t make good dog food.

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