February 09, 2009
An Ivy League Degree & $3.50...
Is anyone else just completely infuriated with these so-called ‘businessmen’ running some our nation’s biggest companies? A couple weeks back, the former CEO of Merrill Lynch was on the hot seat after the invoice on his office makeover was leaked to the press. While his company was busy losing billions and laying off employees left and right, an interior designer was tidying up John Thain's office to the tune of $1.2 million. This from a guy who got his undergraduate degree from MIT and his MBA from Harvard?
The CEOs of the “Big Three” automakers each flew corporate jets to Washington to beg Congress for $25 bil. (I guess ‘jet-pooling’ wasn’t an option?) I still can’t decide if this was the purest form of ignorance or arrogance. Maybe in this instance the two terms aren’t mutually exclusive. Rick Wagoner, GM’s CEO, got his undergrad at Duke and his MBA at Harvard. Robert Nardelli, Chrysler’s CEO, doesn’t have the Ivy League credentials, but can boast he drove Home Depot’s stock into the ground before guiding his golden parachute right into the top spot at Chrysler. Alan Mulally, Ford’s CEO, did his undergraduate work at Kansas before getting his MBA from MIT.
Franklin Raines, former CEO of Fannie Mae, pulled in over $90 million in unlawful earnings based on overstated earnings in the accounting scandal of 2004. I guess I should mention that Raines did his undergrad at Harvard, graduated from Harvard Law School, and from Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.
If these are the kinds of ‘skills’ the most prestigious universities in America (and beyond) are giving their students, then I’ll take my Business Admin degree from the University of Montana and hang it proudly in my office, thank you very much. At least I understand the most basic concept of business…don’t lose money, especially if it belongs to someone else. As the comedian Ron White says, “You can’t fix stupid.” Not even Harvard can do that, apparently…
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