A few years ago, any discussion of the master's in business administration would begin with discussions of scandal and mismanagement. Look at instances of accounting fraud at Enron and WorldCom: MBAs behaving badly. A president of the United States with mixed approval ratings and plenty of opponents in his own party: an MBA whose leadership skills seemed lacking.
Business school discourse today has a new set of topical lessons, emphasizing the roles played by MBAs in precipitating the global recession and creating financial products that benefited corporations but hurt consumers. "When we bring students into business school, we narrow their vision," says Stephen Spinelli, president of Philadelphia University and co-founder of the Jiffy Lube auto service company. "We teach them to focus with increasing blinders until they have pinpoint recognition, but that limits what they can see on the periphery."
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