Monday, September 17, 2007

NYT vs WSJ in Mickey Mouse MBA smackdown

(flickr photo: ikayama)
How embarrassing! The New York Times and Wall Street Journal ran opposing "trend" stories about MBAs just one day apart.
From the NYT we learn (login) about the dashing Mr. Andrew Hammond:

"Like other young people on the fast track, Mr. Hammond has run the numbers and figures that an M.B.A. is a waste of money and time — time that could be spent making money. “There’s no way that I would consider it,” he says."

"The competition from alternative investment firms — private equity and hedge funds in particular — is driving up salaries of entry-level analysts at much larger banks. And top performers at the banks make so much money today that they don’t want to take two years off for business school, even if it’s a prestigious institution like the Wharton School or Harvard."

From the WSJ we learn

"With demand growing for M.B.A. graduates, it is a seller's market out there, making it tough for many companies to meet hiring quotas using old tried-and-true recruiting methods. At a time when career opportunities are so plentiful that students can afford to turn down even six-figure offers from investment banks, it is especially difficult for traditional manufacturers to make an impression."

"So to improve their odds, recruiters are visiting business schools earlier and more often, raising starting salaries and touting their company's dedication to work-family balance."

So which is it, MBAs hotter than ever, or MBAs, who needs 'em?

I guess they both agree that it's steak and gravy these days for investment banks and the six-(or seven) figure-earning bastards* who work for them.

(But wait! Aren't we in the middle of a financial crisis that's about to destroy life as we know it?)

Apparently not.

This all reminds me of a story I once heard about Disneyland.

(yes, it all ties together in the end)

Apparently there are are a dozen Mickey Mouse mascots walking around the park at any one time. So each needs at least a few minders to walk with them and act as lookouts to make sure that no two Mickey Mouse mascots are located in the same place at the same time.

Because if children were to see two "Mickeys" at once, they'd start wondering which is the real Mickey, so to speak. And start asking probing, uncomfortable questions.

Like, "are 'trend' stories kind of Mickey Mouse? Do they identify often bogus trends because some editor thinks it's a good idea and then attempt to peddle them as news?

Speaking from experience, yes.

And if the NYT and WSJ reps had been paying more attention at the last cartel meeting, they would have separated these stories by at least a month, for good form.

(Removes tongue from cheek)

*All investment bankers are bastards _ except my cousin Ben and this girl I know Joelle, who are both actually quite nice. Perhaps not coincidentally, they're also the only two investment bankers I've ever met personally.

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