Have Business Schools Found Their Way?

When the Harvard Business Review published an article Jim O’Toole and I wrote in 2005, “How Business Schools Lost Their Way,” we were startled by the commotion it stirred up. Reactions ran the gamut, from constructive controversy and reflection to untethered outrage. A few B-school faculty and deans attacked us as anti-science, and one added, “nut-cases.” A former student who started his MBA that fall at a top-five-ranked B-school was welcomed on the first day by the dean, who based his talk on our article, from which he read long excerpts with an admixture of fury and sarcasm, as if it were the Antichrist of everything his MBA program stood for. The finale, my student said, was “dramatically brilliant. [The dean] ripped your article to shreds, tossed them in the air, and stomped noisily on them as if they were carrying a deadly virus.”

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