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John Beck - Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Video games should replace business schools

Business schools, stuck for a century in the case study methodology of the 1920s, have increasingly been investing in new technologies to teach students the core concepts of management. But there is one technology they seem to have overlooked Very nice that FT picked this piece up (and that Steve Hodges worked on it with me!), especially since the original title was “Video games should replace business schools.” (FT backed off the title, but, to their credit, not off the piece&he .. More...

John Beck - Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Why I’m No Longer a Professor

I have been a professor for 25 years—most of my professional life. Even when I had full-time corporate jobs, I always took salary cuts to be able to maintain my professor role…because teaching has given me about as much joy as anything in my life. Watching students learn, improve, and gain confidence is an amazing thing! But, last spring, for the first time in three decades—since I first imagined emulating my favorite high school teachers—I realized I have no compul .. More...

John Beck - Thursday, November 21, 2013

My advice about Harvard: to prospective students … and to other schools

“If you can get into Harvard, you should go.” That is the advice I have given to everyone who has asked for the last 30 years. The program does not matter; if it says Harvard on it, it is worth enrolling. There are three big reasons for my recommendation: 1) You will never have to explain yourself I’ve never said the Harvard name to any adult in the world who did not know what I was talking about (Okay…okay…I do remember saying “Harvar .. More...

John Beck - Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Accreditation is a joke with teeth

Accreditation in education is a joke—but it is a joke with teeth, and that is where my concern lies. And while only some students care about accreditation itself, almost all students care about business school rankings—and to be ranked, a school is required to have accreditation. In many states, like California, practically any mom and pop organization can find the accreditation necessary to confer degrees on students. The current system is a bad joke when it comes to keepin .. More...

John Beck - Friday, October 04, 2013

Let’s just put an end to “Fairness”… especially in Congress

Maybe the word “fairness” should just be stricken from our vocabulary—if not the dictionary, at least banned in Washington. Fairness does not mean anything any more. This is my conclusion after years of trying to use it as one of the 8 Great Goods (http://www.gvgbook.com/). In the end, I had to change the word to “equality.” Right now Republicans in Congress are eagerly trotting out the word fairness in their efforts to repeal Obamacare. Fairness is a g .. More...

John Beck - Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Hope for More Uncertainty and Ambiguity in Schools

Helping students to understand how to cope with the ambiguity and uncertainty that will inevitably surround them as leaders should be the goal of all business school professors. But it is not. Instead, we discuss case studies that have “right answers” and are drawn from long-past business environments; we teach from textbooks and administer exams on mathematical models with defined datasets; we require students to “turn off the Internet” when they are in the classro .. More...

John Beck - Friday, September 13, 2013

Someone’s gonna get spanked: teaching ethics

When I was in my early 30s with three young kids at home, I renounced my childhood religion—Mormonism. My father tried to talk me out of it by asking how else my children would learn moral behavior. “How will you reinforce what is right and wrong without going to church? I don’t know how I’d have raised you kids without Sunday school and the youth programs.” I pointed out to him that we both knew good church-going Mormons with a lot of variation in their mor .. More...

John Beck - Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Sad Truth About Integrity in Business Schools

About six months ago, I learned that the most important characteristic corporate executives want from business school graduates is “integrity.” Since then, I’ve spent a part of every day thinking about how integrity can—or should—be taught in business schools. I hit a practical wall every time. Let me start with a story. When I was an Associate Partner at Accenture, my boss asked me to interview a potential new hire for our think tank. The interviewee was  .. More...

John Beck - Monday, July 08, 2013

What Makes Teachers Transformative? Passion

The best professors are passionate – and they change their students’ lives. Of course, getting too passionate could land you in jail, but great teachers get excited, involved, and agitated about almost every part of the educational process. I remember when I first started teaching—in a subject matter, Strategy, that was not my PhD field—my department chairman informed that I should use a particular textbook because that was the book that all the professors in the  .. More...

John Beck - Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tucker Max is my Friend

I’m a bald, overweight, think tank director. I’ve advised CEOs, presidents, and prime ministers on corporate and national strategies. I’m not known as the animal at anyone’s party. On the other hand, Tucker is a good-looking thirty-something; incredibly popular with the ladies. By the time he was in his twenties, he had already gathered a massive cult following of teenage boys, and garnered more public criticism than your run-of-the-mill, extreme-thinking cable n .. More...