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Published: May 20, 2003

 
 

The Leadership Challenge 2003

Pineau-Valencienne:  We are in that situation now.

Khurana:  When my own students have second thoughts about going into their chosen vocation, it makes me worry.

Bruce Pasternack of
Booz Allen Hamilton
S+B: What are they thinking?

Khurana:  In recent years, the people who started going to business school were really the best and the brightest. This was not the case 20, 30 years ago. The best and the brightest usually went into medicine or law. Today, the students coming into business education could have done anything they wanted to. Part of what motivates them is not just money, but also status and the regard of their peers. And when they feel that status has been diminished, that they can’t hold their head high and say, “You know, I participate in a company and I help do X, Y, and Z,” we will then end up reverting to a model in which the best and brightest don’t go into business.

I think this is more important than ever, especially as we ask businesses and private corporations to do more and more of the activities that we used to depend on government and nonprofits to do. I just don’t want to see us lose that. I think it has been healthy for society for people to know about administrative practices, about how to run organizations better. And I hate to see that get diminished.

Pasternack:  That’s a great issue for business schools. It’s a great question for those of us who care about the world around us.

Reprint No. 03205

 
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