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Penelope Trunk Saw An Article About Someone Who Started A Successful Hedge Fund Without Having Gone To B-School And Voila: This Week's Column

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Brazen Careerist and smartest woman in the world Penelope Trunk has a new piece of advice for you: screw business school. Now, we know you’re thinking, “Because Ms. Trunk is the same woman who once instructed the ladies to “dress like hookers, solicit co-workers, expect harassment, and stay cool” and people in general to switch rapidly from job to job, make it clear to prospective employers that they require a lot of time off, and live with mom and dad, doesn’t her latest pearl of wisdom mean I should run to B-school immediately?” Our snap judgment is “yes,” but let’s put that off for a sec and see where Penelope, Girl Genius is coming from. Her reasons for not going to business school are as follows:
1. Only the top business schools have high value.
This is true. And since you’re reading a Penelope Trunk original, girl’s got a pretty good idea of your level of intelligence. Wharton-material it is not. Probably not even Drexel University LeBow’s School of Business, either.
2. Business schools are compromised by a lack of female applicants.
Wait a second—is Penelope Trunk, the woman who is singlehandedly tearing down the strides made by the feminist movement with tips like “don’t report sexual harassment” and “let’s blow off that assignment to gets manis and pedis and talk about The Hills and what a jerkface that Spencer is girls, omg it’ll be totes awesome just like it is being a functioning human being without a brain!” about to suggest that you should take a stand against MBA programs because they don’t have enough women? Nah, she’s just making the circuitous argument that because some women want to be able to have children before they go barren and are therefore not working for as many years before going to business school as in the past (when it was “baby or b-school, you can only pick one”), and places like HBS are making concessions to those with such pipe dreams, the quality of education is being diluted. That’s right Harvard et. al.—shape up. Until then, no more Penelope Trunk endorsement for you.
3. Business school is like buying a high-priced recruiter.
That sounds like a lot less work, so why don’t you just do that?
4. Hotshots don't go to business school anymore.
Tim Sykes didn’t go to b-school. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t even graduate from college. Mine is not a tenuous argument!
5. People go to business school for the wrong reasons.
Penelope says that “If you're not a star performer before b-school, you probably won't be one after you graduate. And if you just want to make a lot of money, the odds of you of doing that are only as good as the odds of you getting into a top school -- currently about 1 in 10,” which circles us back to reason No. 1 not to go to b-school, which is that you can’t get in. Makes sense, if dumb yourself down enough to think about it like that. (NB: Penelope would like you to know that going to business school to find a husband is never wrong, totes obvi.)
Recommendation: go to business school today. Now. Right this second.
Earlier T-A (Trunk Advice): Junk in the Trunk of the Week – College Advice
More Junk in the Trunk
B-school Confidential: MBAs May Be Obsolete [Yahoo! Finance]
Bye-Bye B-School [NYT]


B-School Problems

Apart from finding a job that will justify the hefty price tag of the MBA, the greatest challenge of the modern business school student is financing now the lifestyle that we think we deserve post-MBA. With the average MBA student taking on some $120,000+ in loans over two years, the common strategy entails paying less for the b-school basics (lunch, books, and beer) so that we can afford the real reasons we quit our day jobs: wining and dining at Alinea, re-enacting scenes from Aspen Extreme at a ski resort where beer flows like wine, and lazing on the beaches of Fiji, Brazil, and South Africa on school-organized treks designed to help us make friends before classes begin (aww!). It’s a hard-knock life, to be sure, but thankfully after surviving a year with no income, we’ve learned a trick or two that we’d like to share, on how to spend more than we’re worth. Tip #1: Share everything.