#349 The Moral Failure of the MBA Elite with Duff McDonald

We started hour one this week with Irene from New York who is trying to do the juggling act of paying down some debt, plan for her own retirement, and fund college for her two kids.  Irene's actually in better shape than she realizes...and I think we helped her realize that.  Next up was Lou from Oregon who had some questions about an inherited IRA. Our last call of the hour was from Jack in Buffalo who was wondering if it makes sense for him to pay off his mortgage.

Before kicking off hour two, I apologize in advance to any of our listeners who have earned an MBA.  And if any of you went to Harvard, I really, really apologize.

Our guest this week is Duff McDonald, author of The Golden Passport, an incredibly well-researched book, which reveals the inner workings of a singular nexus of power, ambition, and influence: Harvard Business School ("HBS").

Like it or not, a Harvard degree guarantees respect and additional earning power. An HBS degree is, as the New York Times proclaimed in 1978, "the golden passport to life in the upper class."

Yet despite its prestige and power, McDonald says that HBS has failed with respect to the stated goal of its founders: "the multiplication of men who will handle their current business problems in socially constructive ways."

We touched on two main questions during this interview:

  • Has HBS failed at reaching the goals it set for itself?
  • Is HBS therefore complicit in the moral failings of Western capitalism?

It was an interesting chat about an institution that has a profound influence on the shape of our society and all our lives.

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