Wharts and All: Blogging the Full-Time MBA Program at the Wharton School

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Jingoism Ate My Baby

Another Zach stopped by to ask me a few questions about my previous post. That such questions were asked indicates that I'm either talking about an entirely alien concept or I'm not communicating well or (most likely) both.

  • He asked, "[The reasons for not publishing anything negative about a school are,] As you mentioned, the emotional investment in the school, and the hope for improved ratings. Why cheer against the home team?" Flip the question. When did it become the responsibility of every student at a school to do PR for that school? School spirit is understandable, but when it blinds you to real problems it becomes a problem. As the Patriot Act and other freedom-limiting legislation so amply demonstrates, there's such a thing as too much spirit. It doesn't matter if you love your country, your religion, your business school or your own mother, nothing is beyond reproach and a critical eye never hurt anyone.
  • Zachary also noted that "many students rely upon alumni for job leads, and many alumni would frown upon someone dissing the school." I think there's a difference between unsubstantiated complaints or rants and well-written accounts of one person's experience with a school. I think also that if I were to expose some atrocity (e.g., that Huntsman Hall were warmed in winter by a large pig farm deep within its cellars and that these pigs were maltreated) that alumni would join me in calling for reform. Why should Business Week be the only publication that can effect change on business schools? It took a dismal review of Wharton's career services to spur the institution into hiring Peter Degnan to reform it. What if one of the students prior to Degnan's arrival had been a vociferous critic? Might this reform have happened sooner? Might more students have benefitted from it?
  • He asked me to explain "the productive benefit of rabble rousing" as well. I think that I've miscommunicated. I'm not interested in stirring the shit just to see how it smells. I'm not malicious. I'm going to try to be fair. But I completely disagree with Zachary that "99% of the MBA experience" is going to be pleasant, no matter where you go. No school has it 99% right, and any school that thinks it's got things nearly perfect is in danger of one of the worst crimes that an individual or institution can commit: complacency.
  • I was asked, "If no other bloggers are writing bad things about their schools, would you want to be the first one to do so?" Yes! What's the point of being a yes-man? Of saying things that only others say? Of being bland? Of carefully navigating life afraid of offending anyone in the slightest? Of silencing your reservations and opinions just so you don't stick out? I'm the guy wearing a sparkly miniskirt, garter belt, lipstick, and nipple clamps on Halloween. I'm the guy that will contradict you in case discussion if I think what you just said makes no sense. I celebrate diversity of opinion and am driven mad by the lack of it in our blogosphere. Look at the fledgling lawyers! Now they know how to argue and have diverse opinions. There's no reason why business school students (of all people) have to look, talk, walk and sound the same from sea to shining sea.
  • Finally, writing with balance is just a helluva lot more interesting. There's a reason why PR Newswire puts limbs to sleep while the Economist, WSJ and New York Times have won the respect of readers all over the world for their attempt to report in a fair and balanced way. I suppose I consider myself a reporter, with a duty to my reader (and to myself) to accurately portray reality as I perceive it. Snapshots from Hell wouldn't be widely read had it been titled Snapshots from Just Another Business School Where Everything Is Peachy Keen and Where Conflict Is Never Discussed.


Blogger Dirty_Martini said...

Rock on Brotha'. Keep it coming!!

1/05/2005 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Redwolf056 said...

Once you accomplish the resolution to figure out how to get pictures up, we want to see the one of you "wearing a sparkly miniskirt, garter belt, lipstick, and nipple clamps on Halloween." :-)

BTW, just discovered your blog via Classy, great stuff. Keep it coming!

1/05/2005 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Classy said...

As usual, I completely agree! ;-)

1/05/2005 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

Challenging status quo is the sign of character and leadership. Your post is a good indication why you were accepted to Wharton in the first place

1/05/2005 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger iwhoElse said...

Bang on.. u ROCK!!!

1/05/2005 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Panda said...

just discovered your blog. read first entry, and... right on the money, great stuff!

1/05/2005 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger bskewl said...

iWhoElse: Thanks for dropping in. I subscribe to your blog.

Panda: I'd never seen your blog before today either! Now you've been added to my Newsgator subscriptions. I read a bunch of your posts.

Robert: Thank you.

1/06/2005 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger iwhoElse said...

Thnx for the honor.. Cheers

1/06/2005 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Atta Girl said...

Totally with you!!!! Great stuff!

1/07/2005 03:34:00 AM  
Blogger britchick said...

Like the blog. Re 'Snapshots from Hell', I think its worth remembering that the small print says that it's not all 100% true, so could well be erring towards sensationalising the bad in order to get more sales.

1/07/2005 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Linda Ackley said...


1/07/2005 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger bskewl said...

Britchick: Yeah, he did state that many of the characters in the book were amalgamations of people he ran into at the b-school. However, I did get the impression that he was being honest and portrayed things accurately, if a bit sensationally.

1/07/2005 06:10:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home