Wednesday, October 23, 2019
US flag

New business curriculum: MAGA, #MeToo, NFL, Uber

Just as the #MeToo movement has touched our schools, forcing education reporters to study and write about subjects heretofore outside our beat, it has also touched US companies, forcing business schools to adapt syllabi and course offerings, sometimes hastily, the New York Times reports.

Being a CEO or a successful manager is no longer just about budgeting, marketing, sales, advertising, or these other subjects that in the past have filled business curricula and textbooks. Now students study what went wrong at Uber, for instance, a company marked by both overwhelming success and a toxic culture that promoted inequity and abuse.

‘It’s not just how the CEO of Uber was treating women,” the paper quoted one student at Stanford University as saying as part of a discussion about certain aspects of our corporate culture. “The bias is throughout the system.”

Older professors are sometimes less knowledgeable about these topics than their students, so when Tim Vogus, a professor at Vanderbilt University asked his students, “What is this whole bro’ thing?” one student responded, “It’s carrying fraternity culture with you into adult life.” Another student said, “It’s arrogance mixed with the feeling of invincibility.”

And this is what happens as 20-somethings come straight out of college, sometimes not completing their degree, and lead billion-dollar companies.

But this kind of culture has marketing implications (consider Charlottesville and President Donald Trump’s reaction that it was about “both” sides), profit implications (consider the decrease in NFL ticket sales over the national anthem protests), and certain human resources implications (consider the sexual harassment putting companies at risk as well as their male managers). Also, consider this: Mr Trump has himself been at the head of several businesses, many of which have failed, and his current position puts a spotlight on those operations like never before, opening up a whole new curriculum for students to learn from.

In preparing for our year-end recognition of the top school news stories this year, two of these subjects have a prominent position only one week before we publish it. That’s because these subjects have obtained so much inertia that they have greatly affected how our schools operate and certainly touched our school families.

But how colleges and universities respond to these shifts in culture, caused or exacerbated perhaps by the election of Mr Trump, has less to do with fair reporting than with preparing students for success in adult life. For those who will go into business, these movements have been huuuge.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

MoCo doubles down on summer learning loss

Research is at least equivocal about summer learning loss, but maybe there's something to a new plan in Montgomery County, Md.

Downers North lights up the gym for Beth

Ongoing fundraising drives for a Downers Grove N. volleyball player killed by an intoxicated driver in Feb. are going strong in this western suburb.

High-payroll Yankees don’t make World Series

The World Series begins Tuesday, but some of the playoff games can teach us valuable things about youth sports, investment, etc.

Chicago teacher strike enters calendar week 2

Chicago teachers strike for the 3rd day Monday; the union wants smaller class sizes and support for paraprofessionals.

What happened after a coach disarmed a student

In Oregon last May, a high school coach saw a student carrying a gun and disarmed him. Now we know what happened next.

Fox Island disappears in the Chesapeake

An island that has provided some environmental education for many is being lost to rising sea levels in the Chesapeake Bay.

Ohio University hazing charges bring suspensions

The university is investigating hazing charges brought against several student organizations and social groups.

Vaping in a Md. high school

Clarksburg HS, like others in Montgomery County and across the nation, has a vaping problem among its students.

No Howard Co. juniors face required redistricting

Howard Co., Md., faces not only overcrowding but wide gaps in terms of socioeconomic status of families at its diverse schools.

Monkeys beat humans in cognitive flexibility

When we go about solving problems, we are sometimes so fixed in our ways that we fail to explore more efficient solution strategies.

Calif. law requires a sane start time for teens

A new law in Calif. will require public middle schools to start no earlier than 8:00 and high schools no earlier than 8:30.