MBA News Commentary: Does Changing the Composition of HBS’s Class Matter?

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an article, with quotes from mbaMission Founder Jeremy Shinewald about the changing composition of the class at Harvard Business School (HBS), and included the chart below to illustrate the class’s new stripes. MBA aspirants are highly attuned to every little twitch at HBS, but what does this change really mean—and does it matter? Those in finance are no doubt a little bit concerned that HBS is “down on bankers,” but the finance community should take a step back and consider that its industry is still the best represented.

Amid the hubbub, an important question may have been lost—what is the purpose of this “rebalancing” of the class? Is this HBS’s way of apologizing for having graduated so many bankers, who have endured so much criticism over the past few years? And if it is a quasi-apology, the question that is really begged is … will this produce any fewer bankers or will this just result in opening the field of finance to more individuals with manufacturing and tech experience? The true test for HBS, if the school wants to change its output, is not the make-up of the incoming class, but the data in the graduating class’s employment report. Unfortunately, we will need to wait a few years to see whether HBS graduates more individuals who pursue industry and fewer who enter financial services.

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