Monday, March 16, 2009

Harvard's Masters of the Apocalypse

Blow the powder away and look at the evidence: Harvard MBA fingerprints are all over recent financial fiascos. Philip Broughton knows...

Harvard Business School alumni include Stan O’Neal and John Thain, the last two heads of Merrill Lynch, plus Andy Hornby, former chief executive of HBOS, who graduated top of his class. And then of course, there’s George W Bush, Hank Paulson, the former US Treasury secretary, and Christopher Cox, the former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a remarkable trinity who more than fulfilled the mission of their alma mater: “To educate leaders who make a difference in the world.”

It just wasn’t the difference the school had hoped for.

In the late 1990s, their faculties rushed to write paeans to Enron, the firm of the future, the new economic paradigm. The admiration was mutual: Enron was stuffed with Harvard Business School alumni, from Jeff Skilling, the chief executive, down. When Enron, rotten to the core, collapsed, the old case studies were thrust in a closet and removed from the syllabus, and new ones were promptly written about the ethical and accounting issues posed by Enron’s misadventures.

Read about it here.

1 comment:

AmOK said...

The Chinese did it. The word around is that the Quants did it. As we all know, quants are mostly physicists-gone-wild. I don't think we should blame the esteemed Ivy League MBAs -- but keep the blame closer to home. Your quantitative comments please, OLO,