Four myths that b-school shattered for me

If the most valuable type of learning is learning you're wrong, this is the most valuable section of the $250k notebook:

Revenue synergies are like unicorns. If someone says he's seen one, he's probably never been fucked.

The triple bottom line: The number on the third bottom line is usually subtracted from the other two.

Health insurance can't make health care affordable. It isn't even supposed to. As a whole, health insurance has to cost people more money than it saves for them. If it didn't, companies couldn't afford to stay in business. (I have no excuse for why I didn't realize this until business school, except perhaps that I'd never really had reason to think about it. Auntie Bankerella expects some good flames about this one from you big swinging douchebags in the comments section.)

Condom use is not necessarily more prevalent among top MBA candidates than the national average. Use of hormonal birth control definitely is. (PSA: Don't be a dumbass; you still gotta wrap it up. Just because that girl/guy is super-nice and used to work in PE, you think this is the first time they've had unprotected sex in their lives? What do you think they were doing in Germany last month? And what are the chances that someone they slept with has slept with someone who banged Thai h****rs?)

Natural and normal are opposites. So we should probably stop conflating them. In support of this statement, I offer the three following bullets:

 

 

  • In order to get ready for work, survive work, relax from work, and sleep, most people rely on at least one psychoactive substance. Going all-natural is abnormal.
  • I once attended one of those warm, fuzzy, caring/sharing events for female MBAs. There were 15 women in the mid-late stage of their careers who had a family. I asked them to be honest and reveal how many of them had had IVF. The answer: 9 out of 15. (One additional person had adopted without doing IVF, but she was in a domestic partnership with another woman.) So for this population, natural reproduction is abnormal.
  • And finally, my favorite example: for millenia, a normal human 26-year-old was married, had a family, and was mature and established after spending ten to fifteen years progressing in their career. On the other hand, let's look at what's normal for the average 26-year-old MBA at a top program. They are cutting class, drinking all night, working on their tans, working on their abs, going to Thailand or Germany on the weekends, still thinking about what career they want, still at least somewhat reliant on parents, and a long way from marriage and commitment. In this population, we can posit that normal adolescence lasts 15+ years.

    Nothing wrong with aiming to land in this culture, as long as you remember that prolonging your adolescence naturally shortens the years you could be living your adulthood, and that many people find full adulthood richer and more rewarding than adolescence.

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Comments (103)

Aug 13, 2012 - 2:26pm

Now, please post some of the myths about attending b-school. Some people here believe it will transform them from Super-dweeb to Superman while the opposite sex drops trou every time they learn they go to 'HBS' or whatever. You are the perfect person to give them a reality check.

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Aug 13, 2012 - 2:37pm
bankerella:
Revenue synergies are like unicorns. If someone says he's seen one, he's probably never been fucked.

but... but... but... i read about revenue synergies in the CFA curriculum. surely they must be real.

:-(

Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?
Aug 13, 2012 - 2:42pm

I'm gonna stab you to death and play around with your blood, bankarella.

[quote]The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.[/quote]
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Aug 13, 2012 - 2:46pm
SonnyZH:
I'm gonna stab you to death and play around with your blood, bankarella.

american psycho reference ftw. or not.

Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?
  • 1
Aug 13, 2012 - 2:46pm

What's more upsetting than anything is that all these things are actually believed by most people.

And of course people in business school have no clue what they want to do... why else would they be there?

Edit: And I thought that one phrase was "cutting glass" which I was going to say actually applied to me, but it was "cutting class." Other than that, no concerns.

I hate victims who respect their executioners
  • 1
Aug 13, 2012 - 3:18pm

interesting picture you chose for the post

[quote=rufiolove]When evaluating whether or not to post something on WSO, I think to myself, "would an idiot post this" and if the answer is yes, I do not post that thing...[/quote]
Aug 13, 2012 - 3:31pm

Several things came to mind while scanning your latest cranial bombardment:

1) What's the point of M/A, cross-marketing, and rebranding if revenue synergies don't exist? Serious question, I need the answer so I can eventually be fucked.
2) Who the fuck goes to Thailand or Germany for a weekend? This one's important, as your proximity to these places is a key indicator of your heritage. As I've stated in early posts, I believe there is a slim chance you are white, and an overwhelming chance you have two dads.
3) When referring to your female MBA fuzzy events, you mentioned IVFs. I think the acronym you are searching for is "IBD." I would agree that 9/15 women in IBD seems abnormal. As a banker, you should know better. Silly Bankerella!

I was taught that the human brain was the crowning glory of evolution so far, but I think it's a very poor scheme for survival.
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Aug 13, 2012 - 3:31pm

Who is the Bankerella? Like WTF are these posts I keep seeing? Myths of Bschool are no condom usage and synergies don't exist? I mean c'mon.

I used to think endless posts about drug tests and arguing about what is a target were bad. I now know the true meaning of what bad can be.

Aug 13, 2012 - 3:37pm
TNA:
Who is the Bankerella? Like WTF are these posts I keep seeing? Myths of Bschool are no condom usage and synergies don't exist? I mean c'mon.

I used to think endless posts about drug tests and arguing about what is a target were bad. I now know the true meaning of what bad can be.

lolz...to be fair, bish didn't say synergies dont exist, just not revenue synergies...synergies if any are more likely to be on the cost side

Aug 13, 2012 - 3:57pm
Going Concern:
TNA:
Who is the Bankerella? Like WTF are these posts I keep seeing? Myths of Bschool are no condom usage and synergies don't exist? I mean c'mon.

I used to think endless posts about drug tests and arguing about what is a target were bad. I now know the true meaning of what bad can be.

lolz...to be fair, bish didn't say synergies dont exist, just not revenue synergies...synergies if any are more likely to be on the cost side

but... but... but... what about leveraging existing distribution channels to introduce an acquired product to new markets. surely this would work... i read it in a textbook!

:-(

Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?
  • 1
Aug 13, 2012 - 4:38pm
TNA:
Who is the Bankerella? Like WTF are these posts I keep seeing? Myths of Bschool are no condom usage and synergies don't exist? I mean c'mon.

I used to think endless posts about drug tests and arguing about what is a target were bad. I now know the true meaning of what bad can be.

I lol'd.

Aug 13, 2012 - 3:51pm

Fwiw, I think Bankerella is one of the better things to happen to WSO from a traffic POV. I mean, how many legit websites linked to that article about how she prefers to fuck traders. I don't recall any of those websites discussing how everyone here predicted the post-IPO FB collapse, or any other "relevant" discussions we've had like that. I think she secretly knows damn well what she's doing. Haters gonna hate, slaters gonna slate.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

GBS
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Aug 13, 2012 - 5:03pm
but... but... but... what about leveraging existing distribution channels to introduce an acquired product to new markets. surely this would work... i read it in a textbook!

Is there a reason why these things work in theory and not in practice? And why they're continually taught at business schools even though they're completely irrelevant in practice?

Not to be a wet mop, but this can actually work. Promotional management teams just tend to overstate it in order to justify the excessive price they just paid to close the deal. One reason you don't see a lot of NET revenue synergies in practice is because of cannibalization of other products. Another is that generally the acquired company would be selling their products in every market available to them, so there has to actually be something unique about the distribution model that can drive incremental sales.

But you don't really learn that in business school.

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Aug 13, 2012 - 5:11pm
tempaccount:
but... but... but... what about leveraging existing distribution channels to introduce an acquired product to new markets. surely this would work... i read it in a textbook!

Is there a reason why these things work in theory and not in practice? And why they're continually taught at business schools even though they're completely irrelevant in practice?

Not to be a wet mop, but this can actually work. Promotional management teams just tend to overstate it in order to justify the excessive price they just paid to close the deal. One reason you don't see a lot of NET revenue synergies in practice is because of cannibalization of other products. Another is that generally the acquired company would be selling their products in every market available to them, so there has to actually be something unique about the distribution model that can drive incremental sales.

But you don't really learn that in business school.

Ok that makes sense. Two US based internet retailers merging won't really get a high valuation because they're both already selling their products online in the US. A company with very good refineries for sour crude oil , buying a company with shit refineries but access to fields of sour crude - might be more justifiable. The greater the cost saving/merging gain , the greater the "synergy"

That seems like common sense actually.

Aug 13, 2012 - 6:50pm

When I read your posts I envision a younger, colder Meryl Streep. This of course has absolutely nothing to do with business school, however I do believe that it is important for a writer to hear feedback from her readers about things other than content.

Aug 13, 2012 - 7:10pm
personofcolour:
When I read your posts I envision a younger, colder Meryl Streep. This of course has absolutely nothing to do with business school, however I do believe that it is important for a writer to hear feedback from her readers about things other than content.
  • One could do worse.
  • Perceptive.
  • Thanks.
Aug 14, 2012 - 4:22am

Getting off the finance geekery for a second , the bloody B school application process is so annoying. I consider myself a mildly
self involved man - but even I've never written bloody 10 pages about myself in aggregate. I swear if I hear the word
leadership one more time , I'm going to strangle someone.

Aug 14, 2012 - 10:10am
<span><a href=/company/goldman-sachs><abbr title=Goldman Sachs>GS</abbr></a></span>:
Getting off the finance geekery for a second , the bloody B school application process is so annoying. I consider myself a mildly
self involved man - but even I've never written bloody 10 pages about myself in aggregate. I swear if I hear the word
leadership one more time , I'm going to strangle someone.

I feel your pain.

One thing I remember figuring out during the process was that they really do want you to just lay it all out there and brag your heart out in those essays. Think of someone whose job it is to read hundreds of pages of bragging per day. You want your bragging to stand out. If you try to be nuanced or allusive, the readers won't get it. The thesis the whole thing rests on has got to be, "I am one of the greatest individuals alive today; here's what I've done that no one else has done."

The result may make you groan (mine certainly did), but remember that the folks who read this stuff are seriously squishy. These are academics and administrators. Think of someone who goes home at 5:30 PM and watches ample quantities of reality TV. Wring a few tears out of them and the deal is sealed.

It may make you feel kind of dirty, but just think of it as one more skill-based hurdle, like the GMAT.

Aug 14, 2012 - 11:56am

After work I will spend 10-15 minutes writing a post that absolutely shreds business school and the value of an MBA to bits, making it sound more like a glorified day care for the self-absorbed and career-lethargic, and ultimately scaring a great number of youngins on this site though that will not be my actual intention. Like all things in life, it will be part truth, part satire, and all hysterical. Stay tuned kiddies.

And whoever said Black-Scholes was the best way to value a stock, I lol'd a little bit.

I hate victims who respect their executioners
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Aug 14, 2012 - 12:03pm
BlackHat:
After work I will spend 10-15 minutes writing a post that absolutely shreds business school and the value of an MBA to bits, making it sound more like a glorified day care for the self-absorbed and career-lethargic, and ultimately scaring a great number of youngins on this site though that will not be my actual intention. Like all things in life, it will be part truth, part satire, and all hysterical. Stay tuned kiddies.

I anxiously await your critical post.

I post all over the various GMAT/MBA forums (GMATClub, College Confidential, BW, etc.) in order to dissuade smart people from applying to top schools. I do this to (hopefully) reduce the overall number of qualified applicants. Every bit helps, baby. Every bit helps.

Aug 14, 2012 - 12:17pm
holla_back:
BlackHat:
After work I will spend 10-15 minutes writing a post that absolutely shreds business school and the value of an MBA to bits, making it sound more like a glorified day care for the self-absorbed and career-lethargic, and ultimately scaring a great number of youngins on this site though that will not be my actual intention. Like all things in life, it will be part truth, part satire, and all hysterical. Stay tuned kiddies.

I anxiously await your critical post.

I post all over the various GMAT/MBA forums (GMATClub, College Confidential, BW, etc.) in order to dissuade smart people from applying to top schools. I do this to (hopefully) reduce the overall number of qualified applicants. Every bit helps, baby. Every bit helps.

We gotta cut the competition down if we ever want a shot at the best 2 years of our life dawg, keep at it.

I hate victims who respect their executioners
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Aug 14, 2012 - 12:41pm
BlackHat:

And whoever said Black-Scholes was the best way to value a stock, I lol'd a little bit.

where did you see that comment? I went and re-read them and couldn't find it.
Aug 15, 2012 - 1:32am
BlackHat:
After work I will spend 10-15 minutes writing a post that absolutely shreds business school and the value of an MBA to bits, making it sound more like a glorified day care for the self-absorbed and career-lethargic

did you write this yet and I missed it?
Aug 15, 2012 - 7:50am
SirTradesaLot:
BlackHat:
After work I will spend 10-15 minutes writing a post that absolutely shreds business school and the value of an MBA to bits, making it sound more like a glorified day care for the self-absorbed and career-lethargic

did you write this yet and I missed it?

That was a troll post, but after reading those two by Brady I might actually have to lmao

I hate victims who respect their executioners
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Aug 15, 2012 - 3:31am

Bankerella, definitely interested to hear more about the transformational effects of b-school-not just professionally but also socially and emotionally. It seems like top b-schools can be more transformational than college since your felllow classmates are smarter, more accomplished, and more interesting.

Aug 15, 2012 - 9:03am
Going Concern:
lol brady is trollin you guys so hard, theres no way his posts are serious

I hope you are right. If so, I have definitely been trolled very hard.
Aug 26, 2012 - 12:12pm
bankerella:
  • I once attended one of those warm, fuzzy, caring/sharing events for female MBAs. There were 15 women in the mid-late stage of their careers who had a family. I asked them to be honest and reveal how many of them had had IVF. The answer: 9 out of 15. (One additional person had adopted without doing IVF, but she was in a domestic partnership with another woman.) So for this population, natural reproduction is abnormal.
  • holy fuck
    call me clueless but.. why so many in vitros.. just too busy? waited too long ? no actual husbands?

    Aug 27, 2012 - 10:19am
    she_monkey:
    bankerella:
  • I once attended one of those warm, fuzzy, caring/sharing events for female MBAs. There were 15 women in the mid-late stage of their careers who had a family. I asked them to be honest and reveal how many of them had had IVF. The answer: 9 out of 15. (One additional person had adopted without doing IVF, but she was in a domestic partnership with another woman.) So for this population, natural reproduction is abnormal.
  • holy fuck
    call me clueless but.. why so many in vitros.. just too busy? waited too long ? no actual husbands?

    My guess is: waited too long.

    All these chicks running around single in their late 20's, doing what the culture tells them to do, are looking at the outliers and the celebrities who reproduce at 40 and saying, "Oh, no problem, everyone waits until their early thirties to get married and their late thirties to have kids." The data that says that female fertility begins its decline at around age 27 is much more subtle and pretty easy to ignore. So people do.

    Of course, your average chick who waits until 35 won't have problems. But say it takes a couple years, suddenly she's 37, statistical chances of successful reproduction declining several percent per month... bam, IVF starts to get pretty normal in the population.

    Jun 24, 2014 - 3:38am

    i'm working my way through all these posts - gold.
    1. can you answer, did you have kids?
    2. how do young female bankers handle having kids in their late twenties/early thirties right out of school?
    3. is it possible without screwing up your career track?
    4. what is the average/recommended time for maternity leave?

    Jun 24, 2014 - 7:47am

    That 9 out of 15 IVF statistic scares me. Seems like freezing your eggs during your mid twenties would be a really smart move for those that want to do an MBA during their late 20s and have a solid career.

    Also interested in the questions @"investorina" asked.

    Best Response
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