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the back-to-the-future MBA, or for $100,000 they get what, exactly?

The other day, I noted this LA Times review of a new book by Augier and March on b-school education. Like most of you, my livelihood depends upon the MBA trade and, as a result, I try to keep an eye on industry developments. In the last year or two, many have begun to sound warnings that the higher education market may be in the bubble-about-to-pop state (e.g., here, here and here). My sense is that the long-term prospects of the MBA market are also worrisome (some initial musings are posted here).

It seems the chances are fairly good that MBA tuition is headed for a downward adjustment. In that world, budgets will get tight, teaching loads will go up, and more of us will dial- rather than fly-in to conferences in far-flung corners of the world. Since most of us are passionate about our work, if it does come to that, I expect we’ll mostly make do.  What concerns me more is the widening gap between our research and our teaching … not just in terms of quality and quantity, but also in terms of the very motivation for a graduate business education. What is the coherent business model that supports the delivery of business education by research faculty? Scratch the surface of most b-school deans on this question and the answer revealed will be exceedingly lame. This is unfortunate because, without a crystal-clear vision of why the higher costing researcher-delivery model should command a higher degree price, we will all face worse than a temporary belt-tightening.

As mentioned in my first post here, I initially went the MBA route (Chicago ’81) and worked for over a decade doing real-world management before diving in to academia. Those were the halcyon days of research-backed b-school education. The motivation for an education of this form went something like this: (1) general principles of business management can (and will) be discovered via the scientific method; (2) general principles can (and should) be gainfully applied across industries, jobs, and time; and, therefore, (3) a graduate education delivered by the folks actually engaged in the discovery process has value.

So, we read 30-40 academic journal articles per class. We became capable of digesting their content and, thereby, able to access new ideas 10-20 years ahead of widespread practice. We traced the trajectories of core research streams and, thus, came to recognize that subtle thinking is required of complex issues. We jammed into Merton Miller’s class, not because he was entertaining or capable of summarizing complex ideas into exquisite 10-bullet lists, but because everyone knew he was a genius and felt damn lucky to sit in his presence and glimpse into his thinking about finance. Excerpts from books by Tom Peters and other management “gurus” were not viewed as examples of special wisdom but, more accurately, of sloppy, shallow, unsubstantiated pap. That was a bad-ass education — one that served us well throughout our careers, not just in our next jobs.

What happened? Well, Business Week rankings coupled with the “Northwestern Innovation.” BW rated schools on: (1) student satisfaction, (2) recruiter assessment, and (3) research ranking. Northwestern, which was not a contender back then, realized that moving (2) or (3) could only happen veeery slooowly. Item (1), on the other hand, well, that could be manipulated almost instantaneously. And thus began the race to the bottom of the toilet. As far as I can tell, anything approaching the education I got has long since been abandoned.

Which brings me back to the LA Times review. What caught my eye was this parting comment, “And there is also a nagging feeling that by concentrating on scientific and academic rigor, something vitally important — experiential knowledge — has been left out of management education.” First of all, the premise — that modern MBA education is scientific and academically rigorous — makes me LOL. Try teaching a first year, non-elective/core class in which your students are expected to read and understand 40 academic papers. I guarantee you’ll have a riot on your hands (not to mention multiple visits from at least a few of the multitude of deans supported by all your hard work).

Second, we can all agree that experiential knowledge is vitally important to success in business. It is. Here’s the catch: the most efficient provider of experiential knowledge is … business! It is surely unnecessary for a student to fork over $100k to a university for such knowledge when firms will gladly provide it with pay. Similarly, there are more efficient sources of social networking opportunities, outplacement services, and so on.

To be viable in the long-run, those of us at research institutions must provide an education that is not only valuable, but is also one that we are uniquely efficient at delivering. Like Chicago, 1981. True, such an education is not for everyone. And it may not support monster-sized student bodies (or the attendant administrative bloat). But, from my vantage point, we either get serious about graduate education again or cede the game to others.

The Anti-Northwestern strategy awaits. Who will step up?

@mdryall

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Written by @mdryall

October 7, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Posted in uncategorized

33 Responses

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  1. interesting… then what, exactly, is keeping B-school prices up? i would suggest: the credential and the ability to build a network, yes? top schools have the best credential and the best networks — thus the elite B-school premium is worth the price, since it will continue to place students into the most valuable jobs. call me cynical, but i don’t see this dynamic shifting any time soon.

    Like

    sean

    October 7, 2011 at 11:03 pm

  2. Mike:

    Some quick comments/questions:

    1) is there an article that talks about the “northwestern innovation?”

    2) I’ve been scanning MBA syllabi at various top schools and it indeed surprises me what is being read these days. Though I’m not quite as pessimistic about things. Without getting into academic articles, you can teach the basics of: motivation, behavior (personality) and interaction, team dynamics, organizational design, industry dynamics and advantage, alliances, financial models, supply chains, etc, etc. Or? Sure, most of the readings don’t get into much depth, at all—but students can get the basics, and interested students can get some depth in specialized classes. Though, I do partly concur that there is a type of race to the bottom. If there’s an opportunity, won’t the market provide?

    3) Your focus on the science of administration raises questions about the art of it. Are MBAs the right people to run companies? I think an MBA (ok, the stereotype) runs a certain type of company while other degrees and professions bring different types of logics of managing and strategy. That is healthy. If that makes any sense.

    4) Experience is the key? Experience is a biased sample.

    5) MBA “education” is also about more than education – signaling, a sabbatical for many to reorient/rethink their careers (I’ve had opera singers, doctors, engineers, lawyers etc etc in my classes) and as Sean mentions the network thing is important.

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    teppo

    October 7, 2011 at 11:28 pm

  3. Teppo:

    (1) Not that I am aware of. I speak from direct observation.
    (2) Recall the essential question: Why do you need research faculty to teach things that don’t get into much depth at all?
    (3) Sure. That makes plenty of sense. And, in fact, the big consulting companies are hiring a much smaller mix of MBAs than they did when I was graduating. Of course, you do see the problem with that, right? I mean, in terms of those of us who make their living teaching MBAs.
    (4) In my experience, becoming a good manager is 80% experience. There’s just no substitute for it. The tools and thinking frames we can provide can be huge on the margin … and when the market is competitive, having an edge on the margin can be decisive.
    (5) Again, this is true. But, again, you don’t need research faculty to provide these things.

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    mdryall

    October 8, 2011 at 12:08 am

  4. I think the “Northwestern innovation” story is oversimplified. What really changed the field was the introduction of the Businessweek rankings, which ended up identifying student satisfaction as a criterion for the first time and established Northwestern as one of the top performers in all three categories. It wasn’t as if Northwestern only excelled in one category. They wouldn’t have been ranked so highly if that were the case.

    The story is similar to the one that Espeland and Sauder tell in their AJS paper about the effects of the USN law school rankings and how this changed practices. It wasn’t one school’s innovations that made everyone shift their practices; the rankings told schools what was important to do and consequently all schools adapted their behavior.

    The other part of your story that seems a little off to me is the assumption that student satisfaction is all about the classroom. Based on what I hear about student satisfaction ratings, much of it (or most of it) has to do with what’s going on outside the classroom, i.e., the total MBA experience. Northwestern was very good at creating a complete MBA experience and perhaps realized that potential earlier than most schools, but again, that would have mattered much less had the school not also been effective at developing relationships with recruiters and doing good research.

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    brayden king

    October 8, 2011 at 12:36 am

  5. I am a PhD student at Kellogg, and I can assure you all of the PhD TAs and much of the faculty here would vastly prefer being able to teach front-line research in their courses. It would involve a major change in the class, however. Technical skills among MBAs, and not just here, is absolutely woeful.

    (To be fair: Kellogg did introduce game theory into MBA education, and private firms for some reason are still willing to pay a huge premium for Kellogg MBAs. So maybe the deans know something I don’t know…)

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    AnonForObviousReasons

    October 8, 2011 at 4:30 am

  6. Some “rational” guys may ask, why “racing to the bottom” is possible if the training is at all useful?

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    passerby

    October 8, 2011 at 4:46 am

  7. VERY NICELY SAID. A graduate program should be designed to teach students to read and critic modern research. Nowadays its all about networking and getting a salary jump with fake credentials. Frankly, Universities are being run like greedy corporations with University administrators making huge $$ off the backs of students. Really pathetic scene and I hope the bubble will pop soon.

    Universities need to stop churning out graduate degree holders with no research competence. Students are paying 100K to attend courses and get a few letters on a resume.

    Like

    Bob

    October 8, 2011 at 4:56 am

  8. I think Michael has identified some interesting shifts in business education, and had a couple of reactions. It’s worth considering what kinds of learning are best done in an academic setting and what kinds are best done in situ. Experience is a great teacher, but only if the future looks a lot like the past (as Hume may have pointed out). Learning how to be a really great manager at General Motors or Samsung, or a great IT consultant at Accenture, may not equip you to be a great manager at Ideo or Google, or an entrepreneur that creates the Flip camera business. If we imagine (as I do) that the challenges in the coming years will be pretty different from those of the past, then experience per se may not be so useful, and MBA students may need to learn new tricks. (Tip o’ the hat to Moneyball last night.) And what it takes to be good in investment banking (where about 1/3 of the grads of top schools have gone in recent decades) may look really different from what it takes to be good at actual “management.”
    On the other hand, experiences that used to be hard to get outside academia (like getting a set of JF articles curated by Merton Miller) are now easily accessible to anyone via Google Scholar, Web of Knowledge, etc. (One can get the eigenfactor scores of all JF articles in the past 30 years, and download and read them all, while saving the hefty UC tuition.) Moreover, I’m skeptical of how effectively critical reading skills are taught in a 70-person MBA core course.
    One thing high-priced, in-person business education can provide is experience working in groups with highly diverse smart people from around the world who have worked in different industries and contexts; ideally this can take the form of hands-on projects.
    Even more ideally, it can entail using contemporary research tools–not the way a PhD would use them, but as practical tools. So, my MBA students do not read Wasserman and Faust, but they do take raw data on boards of directors of companies and non-profits, draw network maps of different cities in the US, speculate on the reason that city power networks look the way they do, and find the shortest path from the most powerful person in Chicago or Atlanta or Cleveland to their group. In 1960 this would have been a doctoral dissertation in sociology; for me, it’s a project they are assigned on Tuesday and have to present in class on Thursday, for a modest number of points.
    So, MBA education may not look like doctoral seminars ca. 1980, but it may actually provide value not attainable through either work experience or readings, and it may draw on research that gets turned into practical insight.

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    jerrydavisumich

    October 8, 2011 at 4:20 pm

  9. I disagree. You seem to confuse the objective of an MBA degree with that of a DBA.

    The objective of an MBA degree should be to train better business leaders. Do you in all honesty believe that this kind of skill set is best developed by reading 30-40 research articles? That’s preposterous. You must realize that research articles are written to communicate with (or impress) other researchers, not to teach the content to people new to an area.

    I teach in a top-2 MBA program and I can assure that our students are as hard working as (or likely harder working than) MBA students in the 1980s. The competition to get in is much harder than it used to be, the average student quality is no lower and in several dimensions arguably higher, and they certainly don’t work any less.

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    Idontthinkso

    October 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm

  10. […] the back-to-the-future MBA, or for $100,000 they get what, exactly? « orgtheory.net […]

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  11. “In my experience, becoming a good manager is 80% experience.”

    Mike: Again, I think experience is really the wrong thing to look at – from a number of perspectives.

    1) There’s the past-future issue that Jerry references.

    2) There’s the experience sampling issue, a big problem.

    3) There’s the problem that experience can be a confound of other factors (as Skinnerians learned).

    4) There’s the problem that various experience-related “mechanisms” — for example, the senses, observation, perception — are theory-laden. Etc.

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    teppo

    October 8, 2011 at 7:22 pm

  12. I was at Northwestern in the 1980’s. My memory is that it was a top
    five business school then and even came in first in a few polls. At the
    time it arguably had the best game theory group in the world. Roger
    Myerson was a key figure. Nobel Laureate a few years back. Org Beh.
    particularly on the micro-side was quite strong. People also said that it
    had the number one marketing department. Yes it put a lot of emphasis
    on making students happy, teaching them to work in teams, etc. Weak on
    research? Not that I remember.

    Chris Winship

    Like

    Chris Winship

    October 9, 2011 at 12:29 am

  13. Hi Mike. Thanks for the stimulating post… though I’m having trouble following it without any equations. :-)

    One note is that I think the (cynical) rationale for research-oriented faculty goes something like this:

    Assume:
    a. MBA is a valuable general credential/signaling device, with the value increasing in the likelihood that the student will want to move across industries.
    b. The strength of that signal is increasing in its being attached to a prominent university.
    c. Prominent universities are research-oriented, with a faculty status hierarchy rooted in the institution of “tenure”.
    d. A graduate school’s relationship with its host university is difficult (harder for it to get resources/autonomy) if it does not have faculty that can past the tenure bar at that university.

    Put these assumptions together and they imply that there will be pressure on business schools to have a research-oriented faculty regardless of the value their research may have for training MBAs. This does not mean that there is not some value in having research-oriented faculty teach MBAs. Conversely, I’m not saying that this does not have the potential to create problems– it certainly does. Nor does it mean that the Ford Foundation report and Carnegie Tech did not play an important historical role– though my suspicion is that that their role is overrated and that if they didn’t come along, it would have happened anyway bc it is (or became, due to the increased research-intensity at *other* parts of the university) unsustainable to have schools attached to major research universities where those schools have faculty that are greatly disrespected by their peers.

    One other note: with all due respect to your fellow Chicago alums, could it be that you are not so representative of Chicago grads from that period? Maybe it was just a minority of students who were able to benefit from that approach.

    (I also hiccup at the idea that finance from that period is such a great model for other fields, but we probably shouldn’t get into that.)

    Best,

    Ezra

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    ezrazuckerman

    October 9, 2011 at 3:55 am

  14. Ezra & Teppo, since you directed your comments to me specifically, here is a response.

    Keep in mind that the point of my post was to question the role of research faculty in the delivery of business education. Whether students work harder today or benefit from learning other things, like teamwork, or care a lot about networking, is not the issue I was trying to address. I agree that there are many paths to success in business — several of which involve no MBA at all. Fine. Let a thousand flowers bloom. What I care about here is articulating a model in which researchers are *the efficient providers* of a valuable type of business education.

    One important difference between the era of my MBA and now is the number of substitutes coming on stream — from programs like P&G’s in-houe MBA, to online providers, to serious local competitors arising in places like India and China. All administrators to whom I speak and, frankly, almost all my North American colleagues seem to believe that the status quo of the past 30 years is going to support a similar money train for another 30. Rotman is adding ~50% capacity right now. If nothing else, just think about what happens when an industry characterized by high fixed costs and low marginal costs overbuilds capacity. Add to this competition from unconventional quarters and growing skepticism about the very efficacy of higher education in general, and I conclude that the merry continuation of the status quo is just not in the cards.

    To Teppo, my point about experience is simply a truth that must be factored in to any answer to what an MBA education is about. You could read 50 manuals about how to operate a skyscraper crane but, without practical experience, you would fail miserably were you actually to try doing it. There is a huge craft component to management — how do you size people up? what makes for good team composition? what theoretical ideas make good applied ideas? how do you run an efficient project? how do you close a deal? what lessons do you take from failure? In addition to my Chicago MBA, I was lucky enough to have some great mentors — they made me realize how large the experiential component is to being a successful manager. There really is no substitute for it. Of course, my point is precisely that we should not be attempting to provide a substitute for it … we should be offering a strong complement to it.

    Which brings me to Ezra. First, about the lack of formalism … I freely admit that my arguments here are imprecise, based upon loose logic, lacking in refinement and, hence, inevitably wrong on some dimensions (hey, I’m no hypocrite). In fact, I think you actually trumped me here in the sense that your “signaling-by-burning-money” model has been formally explicated ;)

    My question to you is this: where does the cynicism you mention lie? Is your model cynical because you believe that your research has no real value to practitioners? Or, is it because you believe the “education” is really not about learning anything, irrespective of the content? Your signaling argument is consistent with the latter, your parting shot at Finance suggests the former. Either way, my response is this: there must be an infinite number of ways to burn money that don’t involve taking classes from research academics. Given the changes and innovations we see in our industry, is that really the model on which you think we should hang our hat? (I’d love to see the Rotman marketing brochure touting that rationale!)

    To your side comment, btw, the data would tell you that I was no exception. The program worked not just for me, but for thousands of others (at least a couple of generations) who also experienced it and succeeded as a result. I was hired into my first job, not because someone knew I would become an academic one day, but because they knew Chicago was a place they could find someone who had a working understanding of the state-of-the-art in Finance (i.e., as it was understood at that time — which is about all you can ask for, isn’t it?). I am a believer because I lived it — I get how and why it worked.

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    mdryall

    October 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm

  15. Hey Mike.

    Re the cynicism: it’s not that I believe that our research has no value to practitioners. It’s just that one does not need to believe that it does have such value in order to explain why bschools are dominated by research-oriented faculty. I think some of our research is valuable for practice, and some isn’t. And then there is the question of whether value-for-practice is what determines successful diffusion into practice. It is far from obvious that practitioners are good at finding the research that is most valuable, and rejecting the crap. And beyond that, there is the question of “useful for whom?”– for the student who is to make a career or for society? Tricky. For instance, consider a counterfactual world in which finance faculty from 1970 onwards were dominated by the followers of Ben Graham rather than Fama and friends. The former world might have made for a tougher labor-market for Chicago grads, but perhaps our financial markets would have been healthier.

    A related note
    * I just don’t see any of the “substitutes” you mentioned as compelling substitutes in providing the key thing that distinguishes us– the provision of a general credential that is valuable for many years, in many countries, and in many industries. That being said, if I were in a bschool that was adding a lot of capacity for its MBA program, I too would probably be quite worried.

    P.S. Sorry for the tease about the lack of formalization in your note. I know you don’t mean for the Ryall Challenge to apply to formats like this (though it’s interesting to consider what the scope of the challenge is)

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    ezrazuckerman

    October 10, 2011 at 1:24 am

  16. Henry Mintzberg shared some of these same concerns in his 2004 book Managers Not MBAs: A Hard Look at the Soft Practice of Managing and Management Development. He also describes setting up a program designed to get MBA students more hands-on experience with management.

    As for tuition prices at univerisities in general, Weisbrod, Ballou, and Asch’s Mission and Money: Understanding the University is quite informative. Check out the example of why Ursinus College raised its tuition – to signal “quality” and increase applications.

    Like

    KatherineKChen

    October 10, 2011 at 2:41 pm

  17. Ezra,

    Not sure where you are taking the discussion here. You begin by pointing out the idea that MBAs may be all about burning money to signal quality. This doesn’t answer my question — what is it about research faculty, other than historical accident, that makes us the go-to/uniquely-efficient source for money-burning? If the answer is “nothing” then I feel fairly confident others will find innovative ways to steal market share away from us by offering better ways to do it.

    Since we presently operate in a capitalist system and will into the foreseeable future, the answer to, “Useful for whom?” has to be the student. In the long-run, higher-cost, research-based education will thrive only if it can be demonstrated to provide a positive return relative to the competing options.

    In your second paragraph (which, I note, is the first time you speak in the first-person), you simply assert that we provide a unique credentialing service. Presumably, you have in mind something like the Chicago ’81 model, in which the degree certified that the holder had actually gained a certain proficiency in the content. Here’s the problem: the further away our programs get from teaching research-based content, the less obvious is research faculty’s role as certifiers. Note well — that’s assuming anyone even believes that that’s what we do anymore. Most of my colleagues have the following view: “The administration decides who gets in and it’s my job to teach them as best I can.” In our core, I am going to guess that only about 1% of students fail any given course and virtually none actually get kicked from the program (you can’t collect tuition checks from someone who isn’t in the program, after all). If we were certifying graduate-level comprehension of the content, we’d have to fail a lot more than that. Having taught at other schools, I don’t think any of this is unrepresentative. So … what’s the certification value these days?

    (By the way, the reason Fama et al. took over finance was not a random event … it was the success of the theories in explaining the data. The Fama/French model explains 40% to 80% of stock price variance. I cannot think of a theory anywhere close to that in strategy. We don’t even know what our theories mean. I guess I’m not on board with the let’s-gleefully-point-fingers-at-the-most-scientific-area-and-blame-it-for-all-our-woes view that seems faddish among non-finance scholars atm. But, as you say, we can save this discussion for the next post.)

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    mdryall

    October 10, 2011 at 2:55 pm

  18. Hey Mike.

    Some very quick reactions bc I need to get some work done today to make up for Columbus’s crimes against humanity (it’s Columbus Day south of the border). I promise to read whatever you write, but I won’t respond, if at all, for a few days:

    1. I agree that if the question is the sustainability of the current system, the key issue is whether students get benefit from it.
    2. I already gave you my model for why bschools are dominated by research faculty. It has do with the value of a credential attached to a major research university, and the constraints this imposes on the faculty of such bschools to be research-oriented. It is true that I just asserted this. I characterized it as an assumption. (I realize that a problem for this model are places like LBS and INSEAD. I don’t have a great answer, but I’d conjecture that they are endogenous to the system)
    3. It is you who is assuming that the only reason a credential can have signaling value is if one actually learns something at the school. I never said that, and I don’t believe it. If we are going to be a strict Spenceian then all that matters is that it is more costly to acquire. And that would be true as long as schools engaged in differential *selection* based on human capital characteristics/investments that are plausibly related to the outcomes of interest, and even if there was no difference in *treatment* by the school (or gave them certifications that are tied to their in-school performance as you suggest).
    (Moreover, I would favor a model of credentialling that adds Schelling to Spence, whereby the value of the credential is in what is *common knowledge* about the credential rather than in what it actually represents, and allows for a great deal of pluralistic ignorance about the underlying value of the credential (e.g., we all know that MIT is overrated but it’s not common knowledge). So e.g., on the margin, the reason why people are willing to pay more for someone with a fancy degree is not that they are smarter or more skilled but that they can cover their rear-ends with such a selection. You could argue that this should disappear in equilibrium, since the implied overvaluation of the credential relative to actual value should lead to arbitrage opportunities and a resulting market correction; but I would submit that the risks associated with such arbitrage generally keep it in check. I imagine you will disagree; no problem.)
    4. I categorically reject your characterization of Fama and French’s empirical success. All they did was give up on their original empirical predictions (involving “beta”) and relabel the successful predictor variables in a way that made it sound like they were consistent with their theory (“risk”). Can I do that with my theories too?! I would never get anything wrong! See pp. 9-10 of this essay: http://web.mit.edu/ewzucker/www/handbook_chapter_on_market_efficiency.pdf. And it is nothing short of scandal that CAPM is taught as gospel to MBAs almost 20 years after it was debunked.

    (You may think it a contradiction for me to care about the content of the MBA curriculum. But my model is not a model for how the world *ought* to be, but how it actually *is*. [And like all models, it is incomplete]. I certainly believe that we would all be better off if managers were taught better rather than worse models of the world).

    P.S. I’m not sure why it matters, but I actually used the first person in the first line of my previous post

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    ezrazuckerman

    October 10, 2011 at 3:35 pm

  19. Ezra,

    Quick replies to …

    Point 3: Actually, I wasn’t assuming anything. I was just trying to get a more precise understanding of your reasoning. When you used the word “credentialing” I assumed you meant it in a non-trivial sense. Students certainly don’t need us to “credential” their costly expenditures … wouldn’t a simple receipt from the university do just fine? More generally, you are correct in concluding that I don’t believe that serving as money pits or even teaching the basics and charging a premium for it is sustainable over the long-run.

    Point 4: “… nothing short of a scandal” is not exactly the kind of dispassionate language I expect from a thoughtful scholar like yourself. Sounds like grist for a new post :))

    Point P.S.: I was just trying to differentiate between devil’s advocate arguments (“some say …”) and your true beliefs.

    PS: I new you were teasing about the Ryall Challenge thing. I’m still smiling about it.

    Like

    mdryall

    October 11, 2011 at 9:21 pm

  20. Hi Mike.

    I don’t see a conflict between passion and scholarship. I am very passionate about the problems I work on. That said, such passion should not lower one’s care with words, and that statement was probably tossed off too casually. Here it is again in the form of a question: “Why are MBAs still routinely taught the CAPM when it has been now known for a generation that beta does not predict returns?”

    My sense, from conversations with colleagues in finance is that despite empirical invalidation (and major theoretical problems), CAPM continues to be taught simply because it is the conventional view in academic fiance that no one has come up with anything better. *What else would we teach?* (My own view is that that there *is* something better: the principles of value investing, which are compatible with portfolio-theoretic principles underlying CAPM [but not the efficient-market principles underlying it] but have another story about excess returns [which can explain the Fama-French regressions without the hand-waving about risk]: they reflect gains from finding undervalued assets.)

    But perhaps there is another explanation that I am not aware of, or perhaps CAPM is taught in a more skeptical way than I imagine. I certainly hope so.

    Ezra

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    ezrazuckerman

    October 12, 2011 at 11:48 am

  21. […] So much for the costliness of getting an MBA. How productive is getting an MBA? Michael Ryall, who teaches at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and who guest-blogs over at orgtheory.net, has written a few excellent posts on how the content of an MBA education has changed in 30 years. Here is a good excerpt from his latest post: […]

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  22. […] the back-to-the-future MBA, or for $100,000 they get what, exactly? « orgtheory.net […]

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  23. […] have written more recently about these issues here and here. My concerns echo those of Glenn Reynolds and others who raise the possibility that we are […]

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  24. […] out. What I predict will happen is a change in the price of educational degrees (as suggested by Mike Ryall), but more importantly that educational approaches and instructional styles will change. Whether […]

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  25. Incidentally there may be something in the fact that what we read in the LA Times is that the review of Augier & March (2011) is by Morgen Wenzel when the author is actually the well-known business historian Morgen Witzel:

    Witzel, M. (2009). Management History: Text and Cases. London: Routledge.

    In short, don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers – or on blogs.

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    JC

    October 28, 2011 at 1:08 pm

  26. […] example, should we really still be teaching Porter’s five forces, industry analysis?  Or, Ezra Zuckerman raises the question about why CAPM is still taught (in response to Mike’s post at […]

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  27. […] strategic and organizational knowledge to cartoons, seems to really cheapen the field.  To put my Mike hat on – are there equivalent cartoons to teach the hard sciences, say, physics?  And, at what […]

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  28. […] out. What I predict will happen is a change in the price of educational degrees (as suggested by Mike Ryall), but more importantly that educational approaches and instructional styles will change. Whether […]

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  29. […] providing aspiring business managers with a signaling device (see, e.g., Ezra Zuckerman’s comments to my related post over at orgtheory.net) . If I had to make a conjecture, at least for the medium-term, I believe that […]

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  30. […] and particularly references to the famous ‘CAPM’ model in finance on this blogpost (here) are highly enlightening!). Path-breaking theories, such as ‘transacion cost theory’, […]

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  31. […] Rigor appears to be declining over time at all levels of American […]

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  32. […] Rigor appears to be declining over time at all levels of American […]

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  33. […] On MBAs. Here’s a relevant quote on the author’s memory of his MBA student days and what he […]

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