I hope my title didn’t offend all the professors of the world. I had some really great ones in college, some that I still keep in touch with decades later. They knew what they were talking about. Dr. Hymes, my history professor, actually made history all over the world. Dr. Lee, my English professor, actually writes. No, I’m not talking about those guys. I’m talking about most of the others though, especially the ones in business schools across the country.
The truth is, most of those b-school professors don’t know what they’re talking about. They’ve never actually run a business. Never started a business. They just read a few books and got the requisite degree. Then they continue the process by spouting out the knowledge from those same books, just without the experience to back it up. I’ve got a friend in an MBA program right now. She ran her own business for years. I think it’s likely she should be teaching them instead of the other way around.
Here’s a practical example I read in the local paper the other day. Although it’s not an MBA example, it still gives you an idea of how professors are too detached from the real world. A local psychology professor appeared on a Discovery Channel program called Brainwashed. The article was about her experience, about which she said…
“I was afraid to say something and have it taken out of context. I’m used to having at least 50 minutes to make what I want to say clear, so it was a challenge to do that in 15 seconds.”
Did you get that? Go back and read it again.
A professor, someone with a doctoral degree, someone who teaches others how to perform, needs 50 minutes to make clear what those of us in the business world do in 15 seconds. We entrepreneurs call that an elevator speech. We do it all the time. In your business, how often does someone provide you a captive audience for 50 minutes to make your thoughts clear?
In business and many other areas in life, you’ll do better to learn from the people who Do The Work, not the ones who just talk about it for a living. That’s a New School MBA.
Photo- Me and my mom on the rooftop of the US Chamber of Commerce building across the park from the White House.