MBA Degree: Harvard MBA Scoundrels

For many wannabe investment bankers, the key to unlocking Wall Street’s treasure chest was traditionally getting a Harvard MBA.

So this shouldn’t come as a surprise:  Harvard tops the list of business school that have produced the most Wall Street scoundrels in our current financial mess.

Here are the top three winners:

  1. Harvard
  2. New York University
  3. Cornell University

Do business schools turn future investment bankers into sharks or do they attract a certain kind of capitalist? A study conducted by a Harvard professor of his school’s MBA students suggests the latter.

Scott Snook studied 50 students from before they enrolled until they graduated in 2006. Using psychological tests and interviews, he found that one-third were still, in respects, stuck in adolescence, and had trouble empathizing.

Snook found another third inclined to define right or wrong in terms of what everybody else is doing. That might explain why even well-educated executives have fallen prey to the subprime- mortgage debacle, he said.

“They can’t really step back and take a critical view,” he said. “They’re totally defined by others and by the outcomes of what they’re doing.”

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also write a college blog for CBSMoneyWatch.

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