The Six Things I’ve Learned From Business School

Columbia Business School - What I Learned About Business School

Dear Dad,

B-school is good. There’s free pizza everywhere. And I can’t even get that mad about summer classes. It’s like summer camp, except with reading. There are still some things that take some getting used to, however. The Professors try to cram the word “synergy” into every other sentence. Everyone curses Greece hourly. And in the time it took me to write this sentence, I got five emails for sublet apartments in Chelsea.

Here are six other lessons after one semester:

6. Law school kids are right. Business kids have more fun.

Exhibit A, your Honor. The free, weekly Happy Hours. I had no idea this thing adults call “networking” is really just drinking with smart people. Some Thursday nights you’re rubbing elbows with the future titans of business world. And some nights you’re a synchronized swimmer performing to Queen.

5. Business school girls “just want a rich banker who will buy me s—!”

4. “It’s different this time.”

The four most expensive words in the English language. You don’t necessarily need an MBA to tell you this cautionary tale. But it helps if the story-teller has won the Nobel Prize for Economics. The examples are usually glossier, too. For example: in 1929, JFK’s dad Joe Kennedy was getting his shoes shined by some youngster. The kid started rattling off his stock tips. Joe Kennedy promptly paid the boy, went back to the office, and sold everything. Kennedy’s rationale was if even his shoe-shiner had money in the market, it was time bail. In the 2000s, we had pizza delivery boys becoming real estate brokers.

3. “Bill Gates and Warren Buffet will be on campus tomorrow. Light refreshments will be served.”

2. Its empowering.

I spent over a year cloistered in a dimly-lit office in Midtown Manhattan. Bernie Madoff bilked investors out of $50 billion two buildings down. Citibank threatened to topple the global financial system right across 3rd Avenue. And a few Subway stops downtown, Lloyd Blankenfeld and the Goldman Sachs crusaders carried out “God’s Work”, also known as: deceiving and plundering investors in the name of quarterly profits.

Raphael Painting School of Athens

Compared to those Dark Ages, business school is a veritable Renaissance. You are pushed and prodded by the brightest minds the world over, there’s nice artwork, and the Italians are everywhere. Attending business school is back to the purest of endeavors. Your job is to learn for learning’s sake.

1. It’s worth it.

Yes, graduate school is expensive. Most of us will be saddled with a Mt. Everest of debt when we graduate. To cynics, its $168,000 for a shiny piece of paper. And it can be, if you are foolish enough to let it. A scruffy tour guide once told me you can achieve 2 of 3 things at school. You can i) meet a lot of interesting people, ii) learn a lot, or iii) gets lots of sleep. Why would you ever choose option iii? Business school is a serious investment. But it’s an investment of the best sort. In yourself.

P.S. Please send socks. Lots and lots of socks.


From The PBH NetworkHot On The Web
  1. alec says:

    FYI, the PBH editorial board still maintains that all people with a MBA degree or attempting to get a MBA degree should be held indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay.

  2. lollerskates says:

    Wow capitalism is really good at making douche bags.

  3. ale says:

    Sweet, capitalism also makes awful comedy!

  4. […] This is the second part of a four part series “Things You Learn At Business School”. See the first part here. […]

Hot On The Web