The Economist: Stanford’s most famous MBA courses and the lucky sperm club

Still following the previous post about useless degrees check the link below that concerns an interesting article in the April 8th-14th edition of The Economist. It examines the most popular Stanford MBA courses, which they call “the world´s most selective MBA program” because it rejects 94% of the applicants (Harvard MBA rejects 90%).

The most popular courses are “Paths to Power“, “Touchy Feely” and “Managing Growing Enterprises“. The third one is not as its name suggests about business accounting but about to “deal tactfully in sensitive situations“. The last paragraph of the article is about the four pillars of the corner office (ruthlessness, self-awareness, and tact). The fourth pillar, the article explains no course can teach is steely determination

Another interesting article on a previous page (58) of the same The Economist edition concerns family businesses. On it is possible to read the scornful expression lucky sperm club coined by Warren Buffet to describe those managers “that never had to jump through the same hoops as everybody else”.

Declaration of Competing Interests – I declare that i believe the world badly needs more engineers (to help deliver the United Nations’ sustainable development goals) and far fewer managers. I also declare that several years ago, in December of 2018, I shared an email with an excerpt from a very critical text about MBAs by Prof. Martin Parker, which I now reproduce again below:


De: F. Pacheco Torgal
Enviado: 10 de Dezembro de 2018 7:28
Assunto: Prof. Martin Parker___”Why we should bulldoze the business schools”

“There are 13,000 business schools on Earth. That’s 13,000 too many. And I should know – I’ve taught in them for 20 years… schools have huge influence, yet they are also widely regarded to be intellectually fraudulent places, fostering a culture of short-termism and greed. (There is a whole genre of jokes about what MBA – Master of Business Administration – really stands for: “Mediocre But Arrogant”, “Management by Accident”, “More Bad Advice”, “Master Bullshit Artist” and so on.) Critics of business schools come in many shapes and sizes…Since 2008, many commentators have also suggested that business schools were complicit in producing the crash…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 organising as we are able to collectively imagine. For us to assume that global capitalism can continue as it is means to assume a path to destruction…”