5 (more) ridiculous things I learned were being taught in business school this week

Note before reading: I have withdrawn from the program that offered the examples I provide below. Time is the most important asset and I couldn't waste any more of it in a program that provided more "WTF" content for my blog than it did my education. After a great deal of consideration I elected to enroll in a highly ranked Executive MBA program at a different school.   

Well, business school strikes again. 

About a month and a half ago I wrote a short summary of what I was learning in a business school that’s reported to be one of the top 50 in the United States. You can read the full post here. If you don’t feel like getting caught up, let me summarize it with this actual factoid offered up in our MBA reading: 

“The internet is really best for sharing information, not for selling things.”

Yes, that’s what students are learning at (at least) one business school. The information being taught is not just outdated, it's inaccurate. And just in case you thought it was a fluke chapter or section, here is an update on what we learned this week. 

5) Technology that allows advertisers to address users by name has been adopted in Israel and will soon be available in the U.S. 

Gasp. We will be able to identify individuals and use their name in digital advertising soon? When I was researching diamonds for my wife’s engagement ring, I had to clear my browser’s cache and browse in a private browser because Facebook and Amazon knew what I was shopping for elsewhere and would show me nothing but jewelry ads, which could've been a massive surprise spoiler. Calling me by my first name in an ad doesn’t impress me. 

4) Instant messenger is the “new kid on the block,” but growing up fast. In fact, Yahoo! Messenger has released IMVironments, which allows users to customize their messenger application with brands such as Polaroid. 

So, where to start? IM is clearly not the new kid on the block. Slack is. Yahoo! hasn’t released a stable version of their messenger service in over 3 years. And Polaroid is hardly a company people are looking to brand their personal messenger services with. Unless you’re a Donald Trump supporter, who in the hell wants to get that strongly behind a brand that filed for multiple bankruptcies in the 2000’s? 

3) DVRs are only in 5% of American homes, but growing fast. 

Flash forward 10+ years. 66% of households with incomes above $75,000 and 30% of households with incomes below $30,000 have a DVR. 25% of households that don’t currently have a DVR in the household, used to. 

The book was trying to speak to the challenges advertisers face as the habits of TV viewers change. That point would be better made by informing students that 76% U.S. households have DVR, Netflix, or use on-demand viewing. What the book was presenting as forward looking has already been recognized, and passed. Advertisers face a slew of newer challenges with streaming, on-demand, and mobile viewing, none of which are referenced in the particular course on consumer behavior. 

2) Although online advertising declined in 2 of the past 3 years, it is on the rise. And mobile marketing is in its infancy, now representing a $3 billion market. 

Yes, online and mobile advertising is on the rise. That much is correct. But the trend is overwhelmingly upwards and incredibly consistent. Evidence of this is the fact that mobile marketing alone now represents a market of more than $19 billion, not the $3 billion stated in the reading, which is probably just a small rounding error. Online advertising as a whole represents well over $40 billion in revenue, more than broadcast or cable television advertising. 

Most notable, however, is what is missing. Reading references search advertising and SMS advertising (which most consumers can attest to, was never really a thing), but fails to mention anywhere in the online advertising conversation the small contenders like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. 

And, as usual, I’ve saved the best for last. 

1) Blogs, or weblogs, are being invaded by corporate America. Examples of this include GreenCine, an online DVD rental company, and Nerve.com, an online magazine and dating service. 

Well, let’s just assume I don’t need to explain that corporate America has completed its invasion of “blog land,” as was reported to be underway in the reading. 

I may, however, need to explain who GreenCine is, since they are defunct. GreenCine was a DVD rental company similar to Netflix. GreenCine, however, carried a wide range of independent, rare, and anime, as well as porn on its sister site, BlueCine. 

Did someone say porn? Yes. And speaking of which, there’s Nerve.com, which is an online magazine. Kind of. Given that it was my first visit to the site suggested by my MBA reading, I was a little startled to see the site’s “Cum Shots” section. Yes, you read that correctly. 

In this section you’ll find doozies such as: 


I’m not on a crusade against porn. I do, however, find it fascinating that a decade ago, the authors couldn’t find two better examples of companies that were using blogs. And it's equally fascinating that this is still the content at least one graduate level professor elects to keep year after year (after year, after year, after year). 

The curriculum would be funny, if only it weren’t. The cost and return on investment of an MBA aside, as a student with very limited time due to actually conducting business, completing courses like this is beyond frustrating. It is a waste of time. It’s an exercise in going through motions, valuing activity over productivity, and putting style (the degree) over substance (the knowledge). I couldn’t think of lessons any worse to be teaching future business leaders.