Business school fightback

I read an interesting article today by one of our (Warwick’s) MBA professors, Nigel Piercy.  The business schools and MBAs are being blamed by some quarters for the economic meltdown.  Nigel puts forward a balanced and decent repost to this notion in his article, published in the Wall Street Journal – click here.

My view is that greed is human nature.  Everyone was party to taking advantage of easy credit, fuelling the housing price boom and running up credit card bills to buy consumer items.  Its a cycle, a churn of money which spirals up and down; although we can’t directly control it individually, we are all party to the macro economy.

The macro economy is not the issue on its own, it is long established, the issue for the west is the rate of leakage of that money from the spiral.

The big point that people in the west are missing, is that while everyone argues about who’s fault it is and how did this happen, no-one is prepared to tackle the real issues, as I see it.  This crisis would have been much less powerful, ifthe west was still a net EXPORTER of goods, rather than importer.   By importing all our consumer goods, food and clothes from abroad (because we are largely too arrogant and proud to get our hands dirty and make them ourselves – why else is it cheaper?) the west has made itself very vulnerable.  It would not surprise me at all if there was a large swing during my lifetime of wealth and power from west to east, that  critically will have a profound effect on the standard of living in the west – if you look it is already happening really (why else would the UK have to borrow so much?)

Nigel was outspoken on the Warwick MBA course and quite polarised opinion within our class – some totally didn’t connect with his teaching style at all.  My feeling was that he challenged us and didn’t spoon feed us information, which I think can only be a good thing if you are to learn effectively.

Interestingly, other than in class presentations, Nigel never graded me that well in the exams; I never quite figured out what it was he was looking for.  I should therefore be frustrated with him but instead I am a fan.  I like people with a strong opinion and who challenge the status quo, making one think.  Its rare to meet people like this, with the courage of their convictions (to many unabated arrogance!) and its nice the Wall Street Journal feels the same.

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