Yesterday, I opened Facebook to find this post in the group dedicated to my business program (I’ll leave out names):
“I will no longer be at [this school] next semester. None if this sh*t is really that interesting to me, but beyond that, I don’t see the point. I don’t see the point in expending my time and energy on this, why should we allow ourselves to go through this much stress while we are in the prime of our lives? To serve what exactly? To continue the endless cycle of a capitalist, consumerist driven system that has the potential to be responsible but isn’t? To contribute to pollution and help all of these corporations earn more money? To make people focus on materialism and drive them away from being their true selves?
It is on us to make this world a better place, and yes, there are ways to do this through ethical business practices. But the current state of the business world as a whole is far from ethical in my eyes. Oh, and the school system? Don’t get me started. Not only is regurgitating thousands of concepts and terms a strenuous and difficult exercise, how much of it do we retain? And even if we do retain it, how much of it is useful? Okay so we get a degree, MAYBE we can get a job within a year of graduation, and then what? Work a 9–5 till you’re f*cking 60 years old and too tired to pursue your dreams? I see greed and corruption on every level of this society, and a big portion of it is manifested through the education system and the work force.
Honestly I don’t know how you guys do it. I don’t know how you can put yourselves through this torture every semester. I’m done living other peoples’ dreams, and I hope that all of you find a way to substantially change this world for the better while making enough money to live comfortably. Always follow your heart and never doubt your intuition. Good luck”
This didn’t surprise me. I have felt the same way, and I know what aspects of the program and the system have led him to this line of thought. To start off, many professors have little desire to teach, let alone dedicate the necessary care required to foster the education of their students. Further, the curriculum of many courses has not progressed at the rate of the reality it intends to prepare students for. Many courses are outdated, and students — having access to all the information that the professors do — are left feeling trapped in a system of tests and grades, not for the purpose of education but for the stamp of approval on their resume. Many brilliant young minds enter university full of ambition, only to be discouraged and undervalued by a system that has not been built for the world they live in.
We sit in classrooms, forced to listen to a professor who has not worked in the field they teach about for years, focusing only when required in order to collect vital information so that it can be memorized and regurgitated on a final exam. We are all familiar with this situation, and it is plain wrong. I think there is a better way.
This was my immediate response:
“I agree that there are many things wrong with the system. You’ve made lots of good points about regurgitation if information, of the current state of business and what it does to society.
I’d also like to remind you about the beautiful parts of the university experience. The coming together of thousands of smart, ambitious young people, in a space to share ideas, learn and grow together, and build lasting relationships. I see a place where, when we share thoughts, we can develop a new worldview where business does not perpetuate waste, separation, and negativity. We can realize together that business is the best tool we have for coming together, for making positive change, and for building a better world. Yes there are some menial aspects of university, it has not progressed as quickly as some other aspects of our lives, but it is our job to help our professors and our school to progress. It is our job to work to become the people who will make our world better for everyone.
I’ve considered dropping out many times, but that’s why I’m still here. That’s why it’s worth it. I wish you luck.”
I think that we, as business students, are some of the most informed, attentive, and prepared members of society to deal with the problems ailing the business world. We spend every day studying, reading, talking about, and working within the system that is doing so much damage — and good — in the world.
When we have class discussions, sustainability is often the first item on the agenda. When we talk about success, we speak of creating value, not only generating profit. When we speak about working with others, we focus on collaboration, equality, and collective progress.
Yes, there are many flaws in the system, and yes, we are entering a turbulent, fractured landscape of unjust business models, environmental catastrophe, and social inequality. However, we have all studied the results of this in incredible detail, and spend all of our time coming up with solutions and better ways of doing, creating, and sharing.
I believe that the current generation of business school students have the ability to bring new life to the damaged system that is the western business world, and revitalize it with new ideas, sustainable thinking, and a care for our world and each other.
I am hopeful for the future of business, and you should be too.