MBAs: Owned by Their Models

Most MBA programs are taught in such a way that rather than owning the models, the models own students. Management research has become more thorough, rigorous, and technical, and it has developed tools based on complex models. Students in business school have to absorb many tools in a short time, so they aren’t inclined to delve deep into the inputs or the workings of the underlying models. They focus mainly on the outputs. When professors try to go into the details, students make it clear that they prefer the takeaways–not its derivation or caveats. In any case, faculty members, proud of the models they’ve developed or sharpened, aren’t eager to focus too much attention on situations in which their frameworks don’t work.

As a result of this little dance, MBAs join organizations with a toolbox full of models for which they primarily understand only the outputs. Worse, they believe: “I know a bunch of powerful tools that work in most, if not all, circumstances. I can therefore apply them aggressively, confidently, and to their fullest.”

Source: MBAs: Owned by Their Models

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