Feb 18 2006

Where was that you went to school?

I’ll admit that I have a bit of a complex about business schools. I never went (sorry – no “Seth J. Levine, MBA” on my business card . . . ) – probably because all of the schools I wanted to go to wouldn’t accept me for college, so I don’t see any reason to give them money for business school. Plus it was the rock and roll late 90’s and I still had dreams of getting rich in the internet bubble (which I did not, although I do continue to receive class action notices for various companies whose stock I owned at the time, much to my amusement). So with that as my clear bias, I have a pet peeve to share with you. I understand why many business schools are named after rich donors (in the same way that many cultural institutions have wings or buildings named after people who gave money in support of them), but why is it that someone tells you where they went to business school, they never actually tell you the name of the school the went to? I think it must be like a fraternity handshake – referring to schools in code. Personally, I think it’s annoying. No one went to Dartmouth – they went to “Tuck”; same is true for UVA (“Darden”); ditto Penn (“Wharton” – this one is even used by undergrads who studied business there); the list goes on. Even schools whose name is in the name of their business school name have to use code (does anyone say they went to business school at Harvard? No – they went to “HBS”). My all time favorite is Stanford. No one goes to Stanford business school – they went to GSB (which is short for Graduate School of Business – said in a way to indicate that really, this is the only graduate school of business in the country worthy of having gone to, so why identify the actual school – everyone will understand). I think I’m going to start telling people who ask that I went to BSOTDCB (business school of the dot com bubble), and then look at them with a blank stare when they ask me what that stands for (and in “DUH. Don’t you already know?”).