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With The Firm, financial journalist Duff McDonald pulled back the curtain on consulting giant McKinsey & Company. In The Golden Passport, he reveals the inner workings of a singular nexus of power, ambition, and influence: Harvard Business School.
Harvard University occupies a unique place in the public's imagination, but HBS has arguably eclipsed its parent in terms of its influence on modern society. A Harvard degree guarantees respect. An HBS degree is, as the New York Times proclaimed in 1978, "the golden passport to life in the upper class." Those holding Harvard MBAs are near-guaranteed entrance into Western capitalism's most powerful realm - the corner office.
Most people have a vague knowledge of the power of the HBS network, but few understand the dynamics that have made HBS an indestructible and powerful force for almost a century. As McDonald explores these dynamics, he also reveals how, despite HBS' enormous success, it has failed with respect to the stated goal of its founders: "the multiplication of men who will handle their current business problems in socially constructive ways." While HBS graduates tend to be very good at whatever they do, that is rarely the doing of good.
In addition to teasing out the essence of this exclusive if not necessarily "secret" club, McDonald explores two important questions: Has the school failed at reaching the goals it set for itself? And is HBS therefore complicit in the moral failings of Western capitalism? At a time of pronounced economic disparity and political unrest, this hard-hitting yet fair portrait offers a much-needed look at an institution that has a profound influence on the shape of our society and all our lives.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Andy on 05-20-17
why hbs is the worst idea of all time
If you are looking for all the possible reasons why the Harvard Business School was a big mistake in concept, planning, execution and results, this book is for you. The only thing that puzzles me is if HBS is such a disaster, how has it lasted over 100 years. Sadly, Mr. McDonald was unable to make the "case."
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By R. Beise-Zee on 11-10-17
Summary of arguments against HBS
Disappointingly biased information about what can be said against the premier business school. It is informative in a way, but let the reader no chance to built his or her own opinion. Cherry picking negative opinions and unfounded claims on every page nixed with superficial rants on "capitalism". Could have been an interesting exploration of business education, but McDonald does not really talk/understand business.