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September 9, 2013 6:48 PM   Subscribe

Harvard Business School Case Study: Gender Equity [HBS '13] had been unwitting guinea pigs in what would have once sounded like a far-fetched feminist fantasy: What if Harvard Business School gave itself a gender makeover, changing its curriculum, rules and social rituals to foster female success? The New York Times reports. posted by ThePinkSuperhero (36 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
To me, segregation by SES/class at HBS looks like a feature, not a bug.
posted by gingerest at 7:06 PM on September 9, 2013


That was a great read. And after this:
But she wanted to meet someone soon, maybe at Harvard, which she and other students feared could be their “last chance among cream-of-the-crop-type people,” as she put it.
I made sure to repeat to myself that equality is for everyone, even shallow assholes.
posted by Justinian at 7:12 PM on September 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


To me, segregation by SES/class at HBS looks like a feature, not a bug.

How so?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:13 PM on September 9, 2013


People's Republic of Harvard
posted by oceanjesse at 7:17 PM on September 9, 2013


I made sure to repeat to myself that equality is for everyone, even shallow assholes.

Wait, how is this shallow exactly? To be very talented and driven and want to marry someone else talented and driven? Especially when you are a successful woman, meaning that men as or more successful than you are much more likely to want to date you than those whom you outearn or out-prestige. Sad world.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:20 PM on September 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


I... don't understand?
posted by Justinian at 7:20 PM on September 9, 2013


(I was replying to oceanjesse).
posted by Justinian at 7:21 PM on September 9, 2013


stoneandstar: Did you read the entire article? They're talking about the horrid finance types who destroyed the economy and laughed about it. Not talented and driven people. Rich people.
posted by Justinian at 7:22 PM on September 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


That was a very interesting read; thanks for posting it. Comments aren't bad either, although even the supportive ones have a "well, I'm not so sure this all really necessary." But hey, there was a grade gap and then the administration closed it, in the span of one class. That's very impressive.

I wonder how they would tackle the class issues mentioned, or even to what extent the class stratification determines student outcome once gender is controlled for.
posted by postcommunism at 7:33 PM on September 9, 2013


I've spent most of my life as a middle-class student in educational institutions full of rich people. I wonder how many secret societies I've been completely oblivious to. And exactly how much more fun they're having than me and my smart, creative, diverse friends (I expect not very much).
posted by oinopaponton at 7:44 PM on September 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


This was incredibly interesting. I found it remarkable that even with the efforts to make participation more gender balanced, the career paths after business school were still heavily influenced by gender because men can more successfully network with other men and therefore get access to startup funding from their friends. That's pretty much the definition of the old boys' club, and it's sad.

I also find it bizarre when people complain about educational reforms being "social engineering". Social engineering is literally the whole fucking point of education. You're trying to get people to think and behave differently. Why is this somehow bad when "be less sexist" becomes one of the educational goals? Can you name any aspect of formal education that's not social engineering?

The students seemed really clueless in other ways, too. They didn't like too much explicit discussion of gender inequality, but they liked it when the really smart impressive woman ran a review session and blew them all away - they wanted more of that. Guess what students, if the educational system is sexist then you're less likely to get the smart impressive women in your life, because they have been denied opportunities.

Finally I will confess to a small amount of secret academic snobbery at the (to me) hilarious idea that people in finance think they know a lot of math. Yes I am a bad person.
posted by medusa at 7:45 PM on September 9, 2013 [31 favorites]


Most of this article fills me with rage.
posted by Behemoth at 8:12 PM on September 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


"To me, segregation by SES/class at HBS looks like a feature, not a bug."

"How so?"

Harvard's global brand trades heavily on its exclusivity and prestige (the whole institution, I mean, not just undergrad or b-school or med school). Business schools are about commerce and economics. (Yes, okay, there are probably still b-schools out there about typing and accountancy. But HBS is about Taming Global Market Forces for Fun and Profit.) Modern global commerce depends on certain notions of class aspiration, segregation, and mobility that are, it seems to me, necessarily hierarchical.

I think the overarching institutional culture fosters an appreciation (conscious or not) of the prestige of extreme wealth, irrespective of the current HBS Dean's goal of inclusion.
posted by gingerest at 8:20 PM on September 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


My (possibly wrong?) impression was that MBAs, especially at top-flight private universities, are really more about meeting people and networking than about the classroom learning. I kind of read the dating thing almost as an extension of that.
posted by kagredon at 8:32 PM on September 9, 2013


Matt Damon, Matt Damon, Matt Damon.
posted by srboisvert at 8:45 PM on September 9, 2013


Ah, the ever-hoped for porcine aviation will occur.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:53 PM on September 9, 2013


But HBS is about Taming Global Market Forces for Fun and Profit.

Yet there was explicit mention made of a chunk people who are just there to learn how to manage their family's (no doubt massive) investments.* Yes, I get that it's a prestige thing, but it seems a shame that there are people like that taking up space where other motivated students (most likely from a lower SES), who could bring in different perspectives--both learning from and teaching their classmates different operations assumptions--are being crowded out. Thus I gotta echo the "How so?" of it all.

*and drink, since every school is apparently someone's party school
posted by psoas at 9:00 PM on September 9, 2013


Hmm. Harvard students seem like they're mostly douchebags.
Iiiiiiiiinteresting.
posted by GoingToShopping at 9:06 PM on September 9, 2013


“Someone says ‘no’ to me, and I just hear ‘not yet.’ ”

BREAKING: Head of Harvard business school reform spits on consent! Calls herself 'nice!'
posted by kaibutsu at 10:12 PM on September 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Most of this article fills me with rage.

Why?
posted by crossoverman at 10:24 PM on September 9, 2013


And the winner of the year is the girl woman who lost a hundred pounds!
posted by kaibutsu at 10:30 PM on September 9, 2013


Looks like Harvard really really really has waaaaaaay too much money. No one give when the campaign collection bucket comes around next.
posted by Bwithh at 12:05 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The deans vowed to carry on but could not say how aggressively: whether they were willing to revise the tenure process to attract more female contenders, or allow only firms that hired and promoted female candidates to recruit on campus.

WAIIIITAMINNIT hold up there just one second. What? That means that HBS allows firms that don't hire and promote women to recruit on campus? This is even an issue?
posted by gingerest at 1:19 AM on September 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


That's it. I'm growing the big fuckoff Karl Marx beard. Rich MBA assholes.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 1:57 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Harvard students seem like they're mostly douchebags.

I've known three HBS folk; two were gigantic tools. The third was a nice guy, but he's sort of outweighed by the scale of those two tools.
posted by aramaic at 6:02 AM on September 10, 2013


"Even on the coldest nights of early 2013, Ms. Frei walked home from campus, clutching her iPhone and listening to a set of recordings made earlier in the day. Once her two small sons were in bed, she settled at her dining table, wearing pajamas and nursing a glass of wine, and fired up the digital files on her laptop. “Really? Again?” her wife, Anne Morriss, would ask."

All things aside, this is more than half-way through the article and seemed like a super classy, cool way to reveal Ms Frei's sexual orientation. Her life/character isn't defined by it, but buoyed by her ability to find happiness/family. Very cool. Thumbs up.
posted by Chipmazing at 7:10 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hmm. Harvard students seem like they're mostly douchebags.

Q: How can you tell someone went to Harvard?

A: They'll tell you in the first five minutes of conversation.

(via some Bostonian friends)
posted by Panjandrum at 8:42 AM on September 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


You can always tell a Harvard man, but you can't tell him much.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:43 AM on September 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


there was a grade gap and then the administration closed it

Does anyone really check your GPA when considering hiring you though? Like others in this thread have noted, success in these kind of institutions seems more predicated on network building than learning the latest academic theory on business development. The grades may be indicative of creating an environment that is not openly hostile to women, and maybe that will pay dividends down the road. It just seems like maybe not the most important metric here.
posted by Panjandrum at 8:49 AM on September 10, 2013


Hmm. Harvard students seem like they're mostly douchebags.

Q: How can you tell someone went to Harvard?

A: They'll tell you in the first five minutes of conversation.

(via some Bostonian friends)
posted by Panjandrum at 8:42 AM on September 10 [+] [!]


This is known as "dropping the H-bomb" amongst Harvard students.
posted by Bwithh at 8:50 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


at HBS, they have not one but two janitors come in at the end of every class to clean the whiteboard/blackboard
posted by Bwithh at 8:52 AM on September 10, 2013


at HBS, they have not one but two janitors come in at the end of every class to clean the whiteboard/blackboard

Don't tell me: they're both Yale MBAs?
posted by yoink at 9:34 AM on September 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


gingerest: "The deans vowed to carry on but could not say how aggressively: whether they were willing to revise the tenure process to attract more female contenders, or allow only firms that hired and promoted female candidates to recruit on campus.

WAIIIITAMINNIT hold up there just one second. What? That means that HBS allows firms that don't hire and promote women to recruit on campus? This is even an issue?
"

There is a difference between promoting female candidates (such as by "reverse discrimination" quotas, or by specific, gender-issue-focused mentoring programs), and simply having a gender-neutral policy (which is mandated by EEOC law).
posted by IAmBroom at 11:05 AM on September 10, 2013


A: They'll tell you in the first five minutes of conversation.

See also: People who do not own a television.
posted by LarryC at 2:32 PM on September 10, 2013


I gotta give them credit for trying as hard as they did, though the "well, maybe we won't keep it up so much" 'tude is saddening.

Also, yeah, Harvard Business has a lot of snotballs. Happily, I'll never meet any of them since I am low, poor, and dumb! Huzzah!
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:49 PM on September 10, 2013


There is a difference between promoting female candidates (such as by "reverse discrimination" quotas, or by specific, gender-issue-focused mentoring programs), and simply having a gender-neutral policy (which is mandated by EEOC law).

In the phrase "hiring and promotion", "promotion" can safely be assumed to mean "professional advancement commensurate with accumulated experience" rather than "encouraged or furthered". The notion that HBS allows companies to recruit on campus even if their hiring record does not include female executives is appalling. Yes, there are minimum hiring and advancement standards enforced by EEOC, but enforcement requires complainants who are able and willing to evidence discriminatory recruitment. There are 21 female CEOs in the Fortune 500, which suggests a problem with recruitment beyond what EEOC's able to address.
posted by gingerest at 11:46 PM on September 10, 2013


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