American business schools are reinventing the MBA

ON A VISIT to New York in October Marc Benioff, boss of Salesforce, compared Facebook to cigarettes and backed a corporate tax hike to deal with homelessness in San Francisco. If badmouthing a fellow technology giant and cheering the taxman were not heterodox enough for a billionaire entrepreneur, Mr Benioff laid into American management education. It “programmes” students to favour profit over the public good. This, he noted, is out of step with “the new capitalism”.

Many deans concur. “We need our students to be thoughtful about the role of business in society, particularly at a moment in time when capitalism is coming under attack,” says William Boulding of Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. Nitin Nohria of Harvard Business School (HBS) reports how younger alumni and incoming classes want “the place of work to reflect purpose and values”. Jonathan Levin of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) talks of business schools’ responsibility to recognise the societal consequences of corporate actions. “Corporations, their leaders and owners need to act to restore trust,” he intones.

America’s business schools still dominate our annual ranking of the world’s top MBAs (see table). But the industry is being shaken up. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), an industry association, American MBA...



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