Saturday, April 12, 2014

You get what you pay for; but not when it comes to business degrees

Veblen famously doubted whether Law Schools had a place in Universities, and as I noted not too long ago he was not altogether happy with what we would now call Business or Management Schools. He said in The Higher Learning in America:
"A college of commerce is designed to serve an emulative purpose only -- individual gain regardless of, or at the cost of, the community at large -- and it is, therefore, peculiarly incompatible with the collective cultural purpose of the university. It belongs in the corporation of learning no more than a department of athletics. Both alike give training that is of no use to the community,except, perhaps, as a sentimental excitement. Neither business proficiency nor proficiency in athletic contests need be decried, of course. They have their value, to the businessmen and to the athletes, respectively, chiefly as a means of livelihood at the cost of the rest of the community, and it is to be presumed that they are worth while to those who go in for that sort of thing. Both alike are related to the legitimate ends of the university as a drain on its resources and an impairment of its scholarly animus. As related to the ostensible purposes of a university, therefore, the support and conduct of such schools at the expense of the universities is to be construed as a breach of trust."
You would imagine then that at least for those that paid for a business degree it would have a compensation in the form of higher pay after graduation. It is not the case, as the PayScale last college salary report shows. Economics majors make considerably more than accounting, finance and business majors. Funny that enticement of pay opportunities is one of the ways in which business and management schools attract students and try to encroach economic departments in many universities.

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