Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Gene Expression Questions Philosopher

Over on Gene Expression Classic, Razib has up another in his 10 Questions series of interviews, this one with philosopher Matthew Stewart. I confess to not knowing enough about writers of general consumption philosophy books to have any opinion or knowledge of Stewart's work, but I'm charmed by the opening of a recent Atlantic Monthly (full text only available to subscribers or in the library) article he wrote:

During the seven years that I worked as a management consultant, I spent a lot of time trying to look older than I was. I became pretty good at furrowing my brow and putting on somber expressions. Those who saw through my disguise assumed I made up for my youth with a fabulous education in management. They were wrong about that. I don’t have an M.B.A. I have a doctoral degree in philosophy—nineteenth-century German philosophy, to be precise. Before I took a job telling managers of large corporations things that they arguably should have known already, my work experience was limited to part-time gigs tutoring surly undergraduates in the ways of Hegel and Nietzsche and to a handful of summer jobs, mostly in the less appetizing ends of the fast-food industry.

The strange thing about my utter lack of education in management was that it didn’t seem to matter. As a principal and founding partner of a consulting firm that eventually grew to 600 employees, I interviewed, hired, and worked alongside hundreds of business-school graduates, and the impression I formed of the M.B.A. experience was that it involved taking two years out of your life and going deeply into debt, all for the sake of learning how to keep a straight face while using phrases like "out-of-the-box thinking," "win-win situation," and "core competencies." When it came to picking teammates, I generally held out higher hopes for those individuals who had used their university years to learn about something other than business administration.
Seems to jibe pretty well with my own experience dealing with MBAs. I certainly haven't found studying Classics rather than Marketing, Business or Computer Science to have slowed me down at all in working as a marketing/data analyst and web programmer. Though I would say it often takes a a few years for your earning power to equal that of someone with a technical degree, even if you end up doing about the same work.

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