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The Value of the Harvard MBA

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How much is a Harvard MBA worth these days? The latest casualty list of the Madoff ponzi scheme (a ponzi scheme is so old school compared to the shenanigans of the subprime credit crunch) must have left some the due(dud) diligence researchers with Ivy League MBAs working for these firms and funds somewhat red-faced. It won’t be long before they join their fellow Ivy Leaguers who assessed credit risk for their similarly once esteemed Wall Street firms on the streets of Manhattan or Chicago.

Now before this sparks a swathe of pro-MBA email, the point I am trying to get across is the game has changed not just for Wall Street and the old boy network whose ignorance created this mess, but for the education establishments which fed into this network. Will the value/cost of these degrees or a career in finance be reassessed?

Good students go to “poor” schools and rich parents send poor students to “good” schools. Maybe greater emphasis will be placed on individual skills and not the color of the degree? Whatever happens, we now have a whole new ball game with a very large void to fill.

I suspect we will see the good students who went to the good schools start “boutique” investment firms; managing relatively modest sums with just a handful of clients, all done with minimal fanfare. It won’t be long before new trees fill the space vacated by the burnt-down forest. It will be these people and their firms who will be the ones to watch and follow for the future.


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