Hundreds of students send in an application to the Ross School of Business every year, and hundreds get only a rejection letter. The lucky few who are accepted become one of the 1,200 elite students admitted into a school that consistently places within the top five in national ratings.
I was one of them.
But after a semester, I couldn’t take it anymore. I dropped out. Not because of bad grades or a tough curriculum – far from it. I dropped out because I knew that I wasn’t going to learn anything valuable sitting in those over-renovated classrooms, regardless of what The Wall Street Journal say. And even though there are Ross alumni in all walks of life – CEOs of major companies, mail room clerks and the middle managers in between – that will sing its praises, Ross, hopelessly dedicated to ratings, has become hopelessly overrated.
Ross isn’t designed to produce innovators like Larry Page, the Google pioneer and an alum of the University’s College of Engineering. Actually, the program is most effective at churning out uninspired office functionaries and managerial consultants. The B-School prepares you for the sort of professional business careers that are essentially dead weight in the economic system. It’s the type of career idea men – notably Warren Buffet – publicly disdain.
But all that is a well-kept secret. In finance class you’ll never see a diagram with “middle management” or “consultant” next to your name. You also won’t hear that for the most part you’ll just move, play with, analyze and talk about wealth, rather than create it. That’s for the engineers. Except, of course, when it’s not – then it’s just for the graduates of a better business school.
The coursework is a torrent of fanciful, fictional case studies in which corporate strategy boils down to a simplistic system of equations and cryptic variables. Students endlessly calculate problems involving the distribution of product A to Firms B and m with x trucks and y dollars. To the masterminds of the B-School program, management is a science, and business is a problem that can be solved if you have the right variables. It’s a dangerous mindset, and the wrong one.
The admissions process is geared toward students with good GPAs in introductory classes who spend their spare time earning titles like marketing director, head of student relations and executive vice president in various student organizations. Because the admissions committee only uses a student’s first year at the University in its analysis, and because it’s difficult to differentiate yourself from others taking the same prerequisite classes, students are encouraged to join organizations – not for the cause, but the r