The 3D MBA

Probably the root cause of a lot of the criticism MBAs come under:

Finally, it is easier, more rational and more reducible to quantitative analysis to teach students how to evaluate and decide from among existing options than it is to teach the creation of new options or models that do not currently exist. Imagine dividing the time spent by students in the average top-tier MBA program between a) learning tools and using them to analyze existing options; versus b) learning tools and practicing the creation of new options. I think we would find the vast majority – perhaps as high as 95 per cent – in the former rather than the latter category. Yes, there are courses in entrepreneurship, and there are case competitions; but in the curricula overall, there is almost nothing on theories, tools or techniques for the creation of new ideas, options or models. As with social enterprise, creativity and innovation are not considered to be particularly legitimate fields of business research, and this keeps MBA education focused on the static rather than the dynamic aspects of business.

Our students need to thoroughly understand the logic structures, assumptions and limitations of the models we teach, even if they don’t like it much. Very few students enter MBA programs having been taught the logical structure of models, or how to audit a model for logical consistency. It is therefore no surprise that unless given concrete tools to evaluate what they learn, students will become naïve users of the models that we teach them.

Roger Martin – The 3D MBA, Rotman Magazine, Winter 2010

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