September 8, 2013

"[T]he more exquisitely gender-sensitive the school environment became, the less resemblance it bore to the real business world."

"'Are we trying to change the world 900 students at a time, or are we preparing students for the world in which they are about to go?' a female professor asked."


David said...

For a second there I was hoping the comment related to the undergraduate, where the ruination begins, but no. I should not have gotten my hopes up.

My daughter went to Univ. of Texas B-school. Did just fine playing with the boys, as she has in her career. Maybe Harvard just admits a lot of male assholes and female paranoids. (I exaggerate, but you get the point. Suck it up people.)

Opus One Media said...

The world in which they are prepared to go is sadly one we created by our preparation for it.

MadisonMan said...

They should have a class on how to deal with a-holes. I mean, you're going to meet them in the business world (and in academics) a lot.

How many self-made business leaders are men, and how many are women -- the ones that make fortunes without going to HBS? What is HBS going to do to address that inequity?

Lyssa said...

David said: Maybe Harvard just admits a lot of male assholes and female paranoids.

That's what I'm always trying to figure out with these stories about Ivy-level gender problems. Why do these supposedly smart, enlightened, liberal people have all these problems that we didn't have at the mid-ranked public universities that I attended in a very red state?

That B-school model sounds absolutely awful.

Martha said...

Jodi Kantor's NYTimes article about the difficulty women have succeeding socially and academically at Harvard Business School is thoroughly disheartening. And reminiscent of similar problems reported at Harvard Law School --see

I encountered similar social and academic challenges 43 years ago when I entered Harvard Medical School as one of only 24 women students. HBS, HLS, AND HMS now admit equal numbers of men and women yet Harvard's professional graduate schools feel they must treat women graduate students differently than the graduate men students so that the women can succeed. This policy sets back women's striving for equality a century.

pm317 said...

There are some dots to be connected here: listen to this professor from Harvard, Amy Cuddy . Did they fund her research to entice more female participation in classes?

Sam L. said...

Sounds like those elite easterners are racist and sexist and maybe homophobes and like to have puppy mochas to start their days. Or are they just self-centered aggressive bastards?

Sam L. said...

Or maybe they are just overdosing on this:

Carol said...

That B-school model sounds absolutely awful.

How I would have hated being in that particular HBS flyover law school was obnoxious enough with its attempts to "shape" attitudes toward women and eliminate gender inequality. As a woman I was embarrassed.

The more they focus on it, the more paranoid and disadvantaged you feel. Ignorance is bliss.

n.n said...

They are ostensibly unfamiliar with the terms and circumstances of reality, or it is their intention to cause general confusion, presumably for personal profit.

As for gender equity, there are limited occasions when gender establishes merit and is a cause for discrimination. That occasion does not include a school or business. The success or failure of individuals in those enterprises is determined by character and not gender.

Saint Croix said...

Women at Harvard did fine on tests. But they lagged badly in class participation, a highly subjective measure that made up 50 percent of each final mark.

I don't like to think of myself as a class asshole. I was a class participant!

But geez, if 50% of my grade was based on me speaking up? Holy fuck. I would be on the Supreme Court with my A+ average.

I am fearless! Often wrong, never in doubt.

Speaking up and being aggressive and loud is not the only route to business success. I'm not even sure it's any route to business success. It seems bizarre to base so much of your grading on these qualities.

Bob said...

What I learned from the story is that five years after her graduation from HBS, the average woman earns $200,000/year.

Cry me a river.

Julie C said...

I went to a second tier B-school back in the late 80s at the same time I worked at an investment bank on the west coast. My mostly male business school classmates were great - we all had full time jobs and worked our tails off juggling both work and school. Unlike HBS students, we didn't have much time to get drunk and flirt with one another.

Having worked in finance, I am very familiar with the obnoxious masters of the universe types who gravitate to HBS. I'm with David - HBS admits a lot of assholes and that's the root of the problem. But women who won't hold their own in the classroom is also part of the problem. If you can't defend yourself in the classroom how are you going to defend your investment strategies, your business plan, etc.?

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that HBS is an outlier when it comes to business schools. Maybe because for most B schools, the students are often coming straight from their undergraduate schools, and not from Wall Street. Maybe 30 years ago, when I was in B school, dated a woman who was at the top of our class, and likely had the highest starting salary too (she was an accounting major, and her father was a senior partner in one of the Big 8 firms at the time, and they competed to hire his daughter - not that she wasn't worth it, because she was).

Still, found it humorous when one of my female teachers was making such a big deal about breaking into the male bastion - my grandmother had taught at the school 40 years earlier.

I don't think that it is a bad thing teaching women to deal in a man's world. Better that they learn in B school than later. Yes, there are A holes out there, and they do it because it works, and esp. works well with women. The goal is intimidation, and in many cases, helps advance one's career. You don't get ahead very often just being nice (I am not advocating being nasty, just not being a push over). Instinctive response for many/most women when faced with male dominance displays is submissive behavior. That can be very bad for their careers. And, yes, I think that the social scene described in the article is rife for just this dynamic.

Some women seem to know instinctively how to deal with this sort of environment and the men in them. But, many do not. And, that is where some of the things that they were trying with the female students at HBS might be useful. They will need to be able to deal with alpha males and male dominance behavior if they want to succeed in many businesses, and that does not usually mean turning on their sexual lures.