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Point-Counterpoint: Kwame and The Apprentice

Point: Kwame Not Winning Will Embarrass HBS
By Pliny the Elder

If Kwame doesn’t win The Apprentice, it is going to be really embarrassing for HBS.

I mean, HBS is the best darn business school in the country, according to at least to two of nineteen international business school rating systems. If graduates of the school can’t beat out a Xerox copier salesman or a real estate agent or a soft-core porn star, then the school’s reputation will be severely damaged.

HBS gave Kwame hundreds of frameworks to analyze business problems and those frameworks have failed to sell the most lemonade, sell the most art and generate the most pedicab revenue. One more loss for Kwame, and the entire HBS system of frameworks will be called into question. Even POCD.

If Kwame loses, then the nation’s best and brightest may stop coming to HBS altogether. As an alternative, they might start their own cigar-of-the-month companies or become potty-mouthed salesmen. Or worse – they might go to Wharton instead.

The school administration should pull out all the stops to make sure that Kwame wins. Just like it pulled out all the stops to get 12 more companies to interview on campus this year because the economy is so tough.

Please win Kwame. If not for you, then for the rest of us who plan on riding the coattails of the HBS reputation to a secure an easy life of upper middle class obscurity. If the reputation of our degree goes away, we might have to rely on our skills and talents instead of our pedigree. And that would be a tragedy for us all.

Counterpoint: Kwame on the Show in the First Place is Embarassing to HBS
By Pliny the Younger

Everyone keeps on talking about Kwame and The Apprentice and how embarrassing it is to HBS that Kwame keeps on losing the challenges. Well, as far as I’m concerned, it’s embarrassing for HBS that Kwame is on the show in the first place.

There was a time when the HBS name carried so much weight, that companies were lined up to give its graduates $250,000 jobs. When a CEO said he needed a President for one of his companies, the next thing out of his mouth was “Get me a fat stack of HBS resumes. And a couple from Stanford, Wharton and Kellogg.” That’s why people pay the big bucks to come here. Not to learn accounting by the case method.

Now the name is so diluted, we’ve got HBS graduates competing for jobs with salespeople, account executives, and people who don’t even have college degrees. Worst of all, we’re competing for jobs with people from Stern. Stern I tell ya! Something is really wrong with this picture.

HBS should pull out all the stops and rebuild the HBS name. Hopefully this’ll make sure that no HBS grads in the future are forced to go on reality shows for jobs.

They should only go on TV to find a husband or wife.

March 22, 2004
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