Finger Pointing Part III

Appropriately so, a new finger has been cast at Harvard, the famed institution once revered for streamlining the manufacturing process for putting out America’s best and brightest.  In the last decade however a growing list of graduates has eroded that reputation replacing it with an ignominious one of greed, ignorance and corruption.

The article below appeared yesterday on Bloomberg.  I was working a while back on a list of famoud Harvard alums who have spent time in Jail, but the information was so hard to track down, that I got sidetracked.   That list of course will grow over the next couple of years now.

I was also working on a commentary on an excerpt from Nassim Taleb about the monopoly of information and education in this country.

Maybe these types of articles will begin to push on these points, both of which I think are invaluable to the greater good.  If Harvard is to keep its reputation it is going to have use all those great minds to reorganize its own systems in order to help the rest of the world reorganize itself. I can’t wait to read the HBS business case titled “Harvard: Devaluing Social Networks”.

Harvard Begins Case Study as Tainted MBAs Reveal Damaged Brand

April 2 (Bloomberg) — Harvard Business School, stung by criticism that it hasn’t prepared alumni to cope with the economic meltdown, will dissect its performance using a practice it employs to examine corporations in crisis….

Harvard’s alumni include Stanley O’Neal and John Thain, the former chief executive officers of Merrill Lynch & Co. who presided over the New York company’s decline; Rick Wagoner, the ousted CEO of General Motors Corp.; and Christopher Cox, former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

‘Brand is Damaged’

“I’m sure the brand is damaged, at some level,” Healy, a native of New Zealand, said in his office in Boston. “People that I know well tell me to my face, ‘You guys have some culpability,’ and I think that’s fair. It’s a good time for us to reflect and think about what the right things are for us to be doing.”

…Professors may spend half a day meeting in groups of about 90 in Aldrich Hall, said Healy, who added the plans weren’t final. Aldrich, in the center of the campus, was built in 1965 with classrooms designed to facilitate case discussions. The last time the school overhauled its curriculum was in 2004, when it introduced a required ethics course after the 2001 Enron Corp. accounting fraud….

…‘Scarlet Letters’

“There’s a certain self-consciousness now that we may be part of the problem,” Lataif said. “There’s a lot more to education than learning how to read balance sheets. Maybe a piece of what’s missing is not another course in ethics but the ability to think beyond the data and take action based on good instincts.”

Harvard business degrees are now “scarlet letters of shame,” wrote Philip Delves Broughton, a 2006 graduate of the school, in a March 1 column in the Sunday Times of London. “Time after time and scandal after scandal, it seems that a school that graduates just 900 students a year finds itself in the thick of it.”

Harvard Business School, founded 101 years ago, has more than 200 faculty members and almost 1,800 students seeking master’s degrees in business administration.

Thain Ousted

Under O’Neal, who graduated in 1978, Merrill Lynch lost more than $30 billion before its takeover by Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America Corp. Thain, O’Neal’s successor who graduated in 1979, was ousted after spending $1.2 million to renovate his office. General Motors Corp., based in Detroit, has fallen more than 90 percent in New York trading from its peak during the tenure of Wagoner, a 1977 Harvard Business School graduate who was resigned on March 29 under pressure from U.S. President Barack Obama.

Cox headed the SEC from 2005 until January this year, as the agency failed under his watch to investigate Bernard Madoff’s fraud. Cox graduated from Harvard Business School in 1977….

Harvard Begins Case Study as Tainted MBAs Reveal Damaged Brand
Oliver Staley, Bloomberg, April 2, 2009


One Response to Finger Pointing Part III

  1. […] Finger Pointing Part III ? Greenewable?s Weblog By greenewable Harvard business degrees are now ?scarlet letters of shame,? wrote Philip Delves Broughton, a 2006 graduate of the school, in a March 1 column in the Sunday Times of London. ?Time after time and scandal after scandal, it seems that a … Greenewable's Weblog – […]

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