6 min read ⌚
You want to go to a business school?
According to Martin Parker – you shouldn’t.
Even more – nobody should.
In an article for “Guardian” – basically a part of his most recent book – Parker explains “Why We Should Bulldoze the Business School.”
See if he can convince you to join in.
Who Should Read “Why We Should Bulldoze the Business School”? And Why?
There are 13,000 business schools on Earth,” writes Martin Parker. “That’s 13,000 too many. And I should know – I’ve taught in them for 20 years.
If you have as well – then you probably won’t agree with Parker; however, if you’ve studied there, your answer may be a bit more ambiguous.
Regardless, it’s fairly important that you read this article – not the least because it’s written by someone who should know what he’s writing about.
About Martin Parker
Martin Parker is Professor of Organization Studies at Bristol with a background in anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies.
He has previously held positions at Staffordshire, Keele, Warwick, and Leicester universities.
In his writing, he attempts to widen the scope of what is usually covered in business and management studies, as well as discuss alternative organizations such as workers self-management.
His most recent book is directly related to this article: “Shut Down the Business School: What’s Wrong with Management Education.”
“Why We Should Bulldoze the Business School PDF Summary”
Do you know what MBA stands for?
Master of Business Administration, right?
Well, according to a whole genre of jokes, it also stands for “Mediocre But Arrogant,” “Management by Accident,” “More Bad Advice,” and “Master Bullshit Artist.”
Because most of the MBAs you know are probably intellectual frauds and profit-mongers of the kind Nassim Nicholas Taleb would really love to bulldoze.
With him, we don’t even know whether it’s just metaphorical.
With Martin Parker – we have no doubts: when he says that we need to bulldoze business schools, he really means it.
If you expected that there’s some catch – since, well, no sane person would ever want to do such a thing – the joke’s on you: according to Parker, no sane person would ever consider going to business schools if he or she cares even a bit about society and humanity.
He or she doesn’t.
Show me a business school student – says Parker – and I’ll show you a selfish, egotistical person who believes that greed is the pinnacle of civilization.
Show me a business school – and I’ll show you “a cancerous machine spewing out sick and irrelevant detritus,” a den of corrupted money-loving thieves which should be shut down immediately:
Having taught in business schools for 20 years, I have come to believe that the best solution to these problems is to shut down business schools altogether. This is not a typical view among my colleagues. Even so, it is remarkable just how much criticism of business schools over the past decade has come from inside the schools themselves. Many business school professors, particularly in North America, have argued that their institutions have gone horribly astray. B-schools have been corrupted, they say, by deans following the money, teachers giving the punters what they want, researchers pumping out paint-by-numbers papers for journals that no one reads and students expecting a qualification in return for their cash (or, more likely, their parents’ cash). At the end of it all, most business-school graduates won’t become high-level managers anyway, just precarious cubicle drones in anonymous office blocks.
Just two centuries ago, the world didn’t have one single business school.
And then, in 1819, the École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris, a privately funded institution, was established in an attempt “to produce a grande école for business.”
(Yup, there goes another invention you’d think it’s American!)
Fast forward to today, and you can count at least 13,000 business school worldwide – almost a fourth (3,000 of them) in India!
You are an American and want to study at some of the highest-ranked among them?
Be prepared to shell out at least $100,000!
And what do you get in return?
Few lessons on how to become the person who, instead of giving that amount of money, is on its receiving end.
And that’s the root of the problem: the only thing you’ll learn at a business school is a destructive ideology, one that is basically responsible for half of the world’s problems.
You’d think that business schools would hide this?
But no – “in the business school, both the explicit and hidden curriculums sing the same song.”
And that song is the luring song of the Sirens – which is not true in itself, but which can become true if we don’t put our fingers in our ears and ignore it.
The message that management research and teaching often provides,” warns Parker, “is that capitalism is inevitable and that the financial and legal techniques for running capitalism are a form of science.
However, tooth-and-claw capitalism is not inevitable, and there’s nothing scientific in the way it works. And, as it is, the world already has too much selfishness for it to be institutionalized in over 13,000 buildings worldwide!
Even worse – “for us to assume that global capitalism can continue as it is means to assume a path to destruction.”
Business schools do this better than anybody, since they teach students unethical methods to accumulate wealth, safeguarding the ideas that egalitarianism is wrong, that humans have no integrity, and that everything is allowed in business and war – which, to them, are actually the same thing:
The easiest summary of all of the above, and one that would inform most people’s understandings of what goes on in the B-school, is that they are places that teach people how to get money out of the pockets of ordinary people and keep it for themselves.
The world needs to do away with business schools: their poisonous messages are on par with Stalin’s and Hitler’s, and their “propaganda machinery” is worse.
Since no one sees the obvious threat.
Key Lessons from “Why We Should Bulldoze the Business School”
1. There Are 13,000 Business Schools Worldwide – and 13,000 Too Many
2. Business Schools Teach Selfishness and Greed
3. Capitalism Is Not the Only Form of Organizing as Business Schools Claim
There Are 13,000 Business Schools Worldwide – and 13,000 Too Many
The first business school opened in France two centuries ago. In the meantime, 13,000 more spawned across the world.
According to Martin Parker – that’s 13,000 too many. Since none of them actually teaches something which helps societies and humanity in general.
But all of them teach many things which will inevitably lead to the destruction of both.
Business Schools Teach Selfishness and Greed
Business schools are expensive: you (i.e., your rich parents) will need to set aside $100,000 so that you can learn from few selfish people how to pocket as much money in the future – straight from the pockets of the ordinary men.
In other words, business schools proliferate the problems we have, gendering an environment of power and domination, control and cunning, inequality, selfishness, and greed.
Capitalism Is Not the Only Form of Organizing as Business Schools Claim
As far as business schools are considered, capitalism is the only viable form of organization.
Everything else is peripheral and a historical abomination.
However, Martin Parker is Professor of Organization Studies and knows full well that this is a lie. On the contrary, there are many ways we can – and should organize – if we want to live better and more fulfilled lives in general.
Unsurprisingly, none of these alternative organizations allow for the existence of business schools.
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“Why We Should Bulldoze the Business School Quotes”
If we educate our graduates in the inevitability of tooth-and-claw capitalism, it is hardly surprising that we end up with justifications for massive salary payments to people who take huge risks with other people’s money. Click To Tweet
The problem is that business ethics and corporate social responsibility are subjects used as window dressing in the marketing of the business school, and as a fig leaf to cover the conscience of B-school deans. Click To Tweet
There are various surveys of business-school students that suggest that they have an instrumental approach to education; that is to say, they want what marketing and branding tells them that they want. Click To Tweet
If we want to be able to respond to the challenges that face human life on this planet, then we need to research and teach about as many different forms of organizing as we are able to collectively imagine. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
We usually don’t take sides, but we have to say that we agree with many of the things Martin Parker says in “Why We Should Bulldoze the Business School.”
Read the article and see if Parker can convince.
We’re looking forward to reading the whole book!