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'Playing on a Bad Basketball Team May Be the Ticket To an M.B.A.'

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Q: My son is a freshman and a competitive athlete at a top Division III university. But the school's basketball team has lost every game this season, and he wants to transfer out. He is interested in business and expects to get his M.B.A. He wants to know if it will negatively affect his chances for acceptance into a top business school if he transfers to a college with a less-competitive academic environment so he can play great basketball.
----Rosemarie Montagna, Northport, N.Y.
There are two types of people in the world. The first type play basketball at schools with great teams. The other type listen to their mothers. We’re guessing your son is the second type—or else his mother wouldn’t be writing to Career Journal to ask for advice—and this, Rosemarie, is a problem.
Many factors figure into success in business, including a young man’s ability to make controversial decisions and march confidently along a road paved by his own strengths. Your son may be good at basketball but he lacks the confidence to pursue the sport at the highest level without permission of his mother. We’re sorry, Rosie, but he’s not exactly going to be an inspiring figure in the board room. Do you think Mitt Romney asked his mother whether or not he could start up Bain Capital? Sadly, you probably do.
But the damage has been done. Your constant meddling has crippled your son. What can be done to rescue him from a life of sad sack drudgery in the second or third tier of corporate life in America? Well, you already know the answer to that question: business school. Business school will teach your son all sorts of important skills, including talking a good game about ethics while engaging in non-stop cheating. What’s more, many of the titans of American finance went to business school and have a psychological investment in believing that an MBA is a sign of greatness. Hiring your MBA’d son will make them feel better about themselves.
So by all means, we hope you will finish the job you started when your son was just a tyke. Take away his dreams. Tell him he has no hope at a Division I school. Keep him down at Division III and get him into a business school. When he lands that job as an associate at an investment bank and starts working 100—hour weeks, when he has developed an anti-social personality accentuated by a semi-functional drug habit, when his relationships with women consist mostly of pouring cocktails of overpriced bottle service vodka for girls with low-cut dresses and even lower self-esteem…well, he’ll always have his Mommy. And that’s all you really wanted anyway.
Good luck.
Playing on a Bad Basketball Team May Be the Ticket to an M.B.A. [WSJ]



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