What They Teach You at Harvard Business School

‘My Two Years Inside the Cauldron of Capitalism’ by Philip D Broughton

An interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal this month stated that of the 9000 applicants for the Harvard Business School MBA programme each year, only 12% are accepted. The article is here. Clearly competition for places is intense.

In times gone by, an MBA was a passport to a glittering career, with salary packages well in excess of the average for the role.  The credit crunch and recession appears to have dampened expectations in the West as people taking redundancy packages, expecting to bounce back, have struggled to find opportunities matching their previous experiences. India is bucking the trend but the question remains; is an MBA worth the investment and what does it bring to the person who decides to embark on that journey?

Philip Broughton’s book is superb for anyone considering undertaking an MBA (Harvard or anywhere else), or even those wishing to reflect on their past MBA years.

Broughton’s description of the lecturers, the subject matter and the intense competition for the best job amongst MBA graduates is spot on.  I was expecting a hatchet job on Harvard and its grads, but the book neither savages that institution nor MBA’s in general. Nor is it ‘hilarious’ as one reviewer described it. Instead, it’s reflective and wise, and describes how the MBA can contribute to a wholesome life, despite the many that pursue it primarily (or at least did so) to achieve stratospheric financial success.

It has some challenges for those in corporate life thinking about whether or not an MBA is for them, and taking time to read it might just give some food for thought.

You can buy the book here or, better still, you can have my copy for a fiver.  See? I learned something.

By David Atkinson


About David Atkinson

David has over 30 years procurement experience in senior line management and consulting roles with a range of global organisations including Black & Decker, Lucas and Rolls-Royce. He has an MBA in Strategy and Procurement Management from the University of Birmingham where he is now a visiting lecturer. David trained in Mutual Gains Approach at Harvard Business School and holds other qualifications from Cranfield School of Management and London Business School. He a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (FCIPS) and holds the Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).
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