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The Devil s Advocate Responds to an MBA Student s Claim that Research Harms Learning


  • J. S. Armstrong

    (The Wharton School)


Snapshots from Hell describes a first-year student s experience in the Stanford Master of Business Administration (MBA) program in 1989. Peter Robinson, formerly a speech writer for President Reagan, tells about his experiences in applying to business schools, living with other MBA students, taking courses, interacting with faculty, and interviewing for summer jobs. The experience was a hellish one for Robinson for a number of reasons. He found the transition from the White House to business school wrenching. He was, at first, quite lonely. And he was a poet (weak mathematically) which made him feel vulnerable in the quantitative courses. But Robinson also lays a degree of the blame for the uglier aspects of his business school experience on Stanford Business School and, in particular, on the faculty. Much of the teaching was mediocre, Robinson says, and some of it was appalling. The reason? Robinson suggests that the faculty was paying too much attention to research.

Suggested Citation

  • J. S. Armstrong, 2005. "The Devil s Advocate Responds to an MBA Student s Claim that Research Harms Learning," General Economics and Teaching 0502008, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpgt:0502008
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 10

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Attiyeh, Richard & Lumsden, Keith G, 1972. "Some Modern Myths in Teaching Economics: The U. K. Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(2), pages 429-433, May.
    2. J. S. Armstrong, 2005. "Learner Responsibility in Management Education, or Ventures into Forbidden Research (with Comments)," General Economics and Teaching 0502012, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Besancenot, Damien & Faria, Joao Ricardo & Vranceanu, Radu, 2009. "Why business schools do so much research: A signaling explanation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1093-1101, September.
    2. Pfeffer, Jeffrey & Fong, Christina T., 2004. "The Business School "Business": Some Lessons from the U.S. Experience," Research Papers 1855, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.

    More about this item


    learning; universities; MBA;

    JEL classification:

    • A - General Economics and Teaching


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