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哈佛商学院为何成了培养贪婪的地方

更新时间:2017-4-12 19:25:53 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Book Pins Corporate Greed on a Lust Bred at Harvard
哈佛商学院为何成了培养贪婪的地方

If you were to look for one ingredient that binds together the nation’s chief executives, top managers and boards of directors, you’d find a remarkably consistent commonality, now and in generations past: A disproportionate number of them are graduates of Harvard Business School.

如果要找出这个国家的首席执行官、高层管理人员以及董事会成员之间的联系,你会发现一个极为一致的共同点:他们中哈佛商学院(Harvard Business School)毕业生的比例格外高,现在是如此,过去几代也是如此。

An M.B.A. from H.B.S., as those in the know refer to it, has long been the ultimate Good Housekeeping stamp of approval on any résumé. Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook — and the list goes on and on. The number of Fortune 500 chief executives who earned their business degrees at Harvard is three times the total from the next most popular business school, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

正如了解情况者所言,不论在任何简历上,哈佛商学院的MBA文凭都是对卓越管理能力的终极认证。摩根大通(JPMorgan Chase)的杰米·戴蒙(Jamie Dimon)、通用电气(General Electric)的杰弗里·伊梅尔特(Jeffrey Immelt)、Facebook的谢莉尔·桑德伯格(Sheryl Sandberg)——这个名单可以拉得很长很长。在财富500强公司的首席执行官当中,哈佛商学院毕业生总数,比第二受欢迎的商学院,也就是宾夕法尼亚大学沃顿商学院(Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania)的毕业生总数多出两倍。

It is hard to overstate the school’s influence on corporate America.

无论如何强调该学院对美国商界的影响都不过分。

That’s why a new, exhaustive history of the school is causing a stir before it is even out. The book, “The Golden Passport,” by the veteran business journalist Duff McDonald, is a richly reported indictment of the school as a leading reason that corporate America is disdained by much of the country.

因此,一本详尽记录其历史的新书尚未发行便引发了轰动。出自资深商业记者迪夫·麦克唐纳(Duff McDonald)之手的《金牌通行证》(Golden Passport),对哈佛商学院提出了一项被媒体广为报道的指控,说它是美国商界受到这个国家的很多人厌弃的一个重要原因。

“The Harvard Business School became (and remains) so intoxicated with its own importance that it blithely assumed away one of the most important questions it could ask, which was whether the capitalist system it was uniquely positioned to help improve was designed properly for the long term,” Mr. McDonald writes in the book, to be released in two weeks.

“哈佛商学院变得(并且依然)如此沉迷于自身的重要性,以至于在帮助改良资本主义制度方面有着得天独厚优势的它,愉快地忽视了它本可以提出的一个极为重要的问题:这一制度的设计从长期来看是否恰当?”麦克唐纳在将于两周后发售的新书中写道。

His answer? “With economic inequality at a hundred-year high and meaningful progress on climate change and other social and environmental issues embarrassingly paltry, the answer to that question is obvious. It is not.”

他的答案?“鉴于经济不平等程度达到百年来的高点,我们在气候变化以及其他社会和环境问题上取得的颇有意义的进展也少得可怜,这个问题的答案显然是否定的。”

Citing a report from the Aspen Institute, Mr. McDonald explains that “when students enter business school, they believe that the purpose of a corporation is to produce goods and services for the benefit of society.”

麦克唐纳援引阿斯彭研究所(Aspen Institute)的一份报告解释道:“当学生进入哈佛商学院的时候,他们相信企业的目标是提供产品和服务,增进社会福祉。”

“When they graduate,” he continues, “they believe that it is to maximize shareholder value.”

“等到毕业的时候,”他继续说道,“他们相信实现股东价值最大化才是企业的目标所在。”

Mr. McDonald brilliantly tells the story of the school’s creation in 1908, when its mission was to educate the next generation of business managers. Edwin Gay, its first dean, defined business as the “activity of making things to sell at a profit — decently.”

麦克唐纳精彩地讲述了该学院于1908年诞生的故事,当时其使命是培育下一代商业管理者。第一任院长埃德温·盖伊(Edwin Gay)把商业定义为“一种通过生产和销售产品获取利润的行为,但要行事端正”。

But, the author says, somewhere during the mid-1980s, something went very wrong: “The money got too good.”

但麦克唐纳说,及至1980年代中期,事情开始不对头了:“钱被看得太重要。”

The money he refers to is the tsunami of job offers that Harvard students received from Wall Street, and the funding the school raked in from its well-heeled alumni.

他口中的钱是指哈佛学生收到的来自华尔街的大量工作邀约,以及院方从富有的校友那里获得的大量资助。

In fairness, Harvard Business School makes an easy punching bag, given its stature as the top feeder for big business. This is hardly the first time the institution has been criticized.

说句公道话,作为大企业人才的顶级供应基地,哈佛商学院很容易被人当成靶子。这不是它第一次遭受批评。

And it is too much to paint all 76,000-plus alumni as being ethically challenged, as Mr. McDonald appears to imply. Indeed, many of the school’s vaunted alumni are among the most talented executives in the country, and many are trying to think about stakeholders holistically.

此外,如果把该学院的超过7.6万名校友都说成在道德上有缺陷的人——麦克唐纳似乎是这个意思——未免有些过了。事实上,很多被该学院引以为傲的校友,都是这个国家里最具才干的高管,而且很多人正试图对利益相关者进行通盘考虑。

Yet in example after example, Mr. McDonald sets out his thesis that money and influence have distorted both the school’s curriculum and the worldview espoused by its professors, who themselves are on the payroll of corporate America as part-time advisers and consultants.

不过麦克唐纳通过举出一个又一个例子,阐述了自己的观点:金钱和权势既扭曲了哈佛商学院的课程,又扭曲了其教授所秉持的世界观,那些教授本人常常以兼职顾问和咨询师的身份受雇于美国商界。

“For a whole semester, for example, the school is basically bought and paid for by the consulting firms,” Mr. McDonald writes, quoting Casey Gerald, a member of the class of 2014 whose rousing speech at the school went viral on YouTube.

“例如,在整整一个学期里,商学院基本上被咨询公司给包了,由它们支付费用,”麦克唐纳援引2014级学生凯西·杰拉尔德(Casey Gerald)的话写道。杰拉尔德在哈佛商学院发表的激动人心的演讲曾在YouTube上广为流传。

Mr. McDonald’s book also makes a provocative argument that Harvard Business School, and, by extension, the American business school complex, is responsible for out-of-whack compensation schemes for top management.

麦克唐纳的新书还抛出了一个带挑衅意味的观点:哈佛商学院,乃至美国的所有商学院,都对涉及高层管理人员的不正常的薪酬计划负有责任。

He quotes Julian Birkinshaw, professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the London Business School, saying, “There’s no doubt that business schools are complicit” in the exorbitant pay packages in boardrooms.

他援引伦敦商学院(London Business School)战略和创业学教授朱利安·伯金肖(Julian Birkinshaw)的话说,“毫无疑问,商学院之间串通一气”,在董事会会议内促成了过高薪酬的出炉。

“We benefit financially from it as well,” the quotation continues. “Clearly, the fees we can charge M.B.A. students are correlated with the salaries they can get when they go get jobs.”

“我们也从中得到经济上的好处,”他继续引用道。“显然,我们从MBA学生那里收取的学费,与他们日后工作时拿的薪水有关。”

In the end, Mr. McDonald acknowledges that “one shouldn’t expect Harvard Business School to be teaching courses on how to overthrow the capitalist economy.”

最终,麦克唐纳承认,“人们不能指望哈佛商学院教授如何推翻资本主义经济秩序的课程。”

But Mr. McDonald does raise enough salient questions that maybe the school should be asking: Should we create a case study about ourselves?

但麦克唐纳的确提出了足够重要的问题——或许哈佛商学院应该自问:我们是否应该开展关于我们自己的案例研究?

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