The Harbus has learned that HBS will ban applicants with backgrounds in management consulting from the class of 2018. In response to an inquiry from The Harbus, Director of Admissions Dee Leopold characterized the move as a novel experiment expected to deepen classroom discussion and further HBS’ mission to develop leaders who will make a difference in the world.
“We realize this is going to be controversial as nearly one third of our 1800 students have spent at least a year in one of the major consulting firms,” Dee said, “but we’re committed to diversifying our student base.”
Many students interviewed by the Harbus reacted positively. “I think this is a move in the right direction,” commented RC Daniel Beanbutes. “Now I won’t have to listen to a third of my section claiming mastery of the airline industry because they spent three weeks making a powerpoint deck for Southwest.”
EC Cheryl Romanagoose agreed, saying, “It’s hardly ‘structured thinking’ to organize three unrelated comments around the numbers one, two, and three.”
RC James McPherson suggested consultants’ seemingly persuasive comments may be masking underlying deficiencies, “When consultants ask us to ‘consider the strategic perspective’ in Finance, we all know what they mean… they mean they haven’t bothered to do the DCF valuation,” he said.
However some sections of the student body and wider HBS community are alarmed by the dramatic move.
“We are horrified” said Rodney Zemmel (HBS ‘95), Managing Partner of the New York Office of McKinsey. “We were informed of the ban yesterday. It came completely out of the blue and lacks 1) clarity, 2) transparency, and 3) lucidity. I think HBS needs to consider the strategic perspective, to take a step back, and to think about this in a structured way.”
A number of students were concerned that consulting firms would stop recruiting at HBS in retaliation.
“What would we do without consulting firms recruiting on campus?” asked RC Emily Zhao. “Without dozens of coffee chats, happy hours and case interview training sessions, how would we spend our time during recruiting season? Do they expect us to actually think about where we want to work? And where would we get our water bottles and umbrellas!?”
Neither of HBS’ traditional MBA program rivals have any plans to follow HBS’ lead. Wharton has categorically ruled out the move. A spokesperson from Stanford Graduate School of Business Capital Partners declined to comment but made a number of pointed comments about the weather and then asked if we wanted funding for our startup.