THE EMPIRE BUILDERS: Inside the Harvard Business School by J. Paul Mark

THE EMPIRE BUILDERS: Inside the Harvard Business School

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A discontinuous series of gossipy essays that provide largely unflattering glimpses of the Harvard Business School faculty and administration without conveying any real sense of the institution as a whole. A sometime HBS staff member, Mark (who earned an MBA at the University of Chicago) conducts his hit-or-miss audit with a snide piety. The author includes but sketchy statistical support for his premise that HBS is the world's most affluent, influential, and prestigious business school. He does, however, offer a wealth of tart, anecdotal commentary on its genius for self-perpetuation and aggrandizement--via preparation of case studies, ex-officio consulting arrangements, selective awards to prominent grads, chair endowments, corporate directorships, and other possibly questionable means. In addition to cronyism, a preoccupation with fund raising, and laissez-faire policies on professors' lucrative consulting activities, Mark takes HBS to task for a curriculum that, he charges, downgrades ethics and entrepreneurship while encouraging unscrupulous practices such as industrial espionage. He also charges that HBS remains a bastion of male chauvinism, with strict if Byzantine protocols and a tacit commitment to old-school ties. By way of example, he notes that a handful of blue-chip companies (Goldman Sachs & Co., McKinsey & Co., et al.) have long enjoyed a recruiting edge that has yielded the school impressive Financial rewards over the years. Neither is Mark impressed by the quality of instruction. If there are fine educators at HBS, readers won't learn about them in this text, which focuses on academic opportunists, careerists, and research-minded absentees. Mark's unsystematic sour-grapes critique will probably cause a stir among real HBS insiders and alumni. For most others, however, it isn't a required course. Photographs (not seen).

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1987
Publisher: Morrow