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MBA Students – A Scourge

As is the purpose of this blog, we try to help readers see a completely different point of view.  In this post, I will continue this tradition and propose that the current problems of the USA are due to a vile group that hitherto has escaped all blame and remains in the shadows.  It functions almost as a secret society yet is completely out in the open.  They influence many aspects of our daily lives yet we scarcely notice.

Recently, it has become an American custom to blame the government for any and all ills, specifically the President.

Hurricane Katrina, BP Oil spill, the Economy, the weather, having a bad hair day, we are all tuning in to our biased news of choice and learning that all of these things are the fault of the current President.

However, I would like to propose that although the government certainly has a large role to play, there is a greater threat than any Democrat or Republican.

That is THE MBA STUDENT!

(* And by MBA Student, I mean those who hold an MBA degree)

It is high time we put the spotlight on the man behind the mask and call them out!  The face they show you is a kind one, it wishes to help, make your lives better.

This may have been true and worked well until the mid 1990s’ but the apex has been reached and we have even passed the threshold of diminishing returns.  What they do now is mostly harmful with very few bright spots if any.

We all need to use services and buy items to a certain extent.  But who is in control of all of these services?  What are companies and who controls them?  MBA students!

They would have you believe that what they are doing is beneficial to you but let us get one thing straight.

The goal of the MBA is to continually increase profits.

That’s it!  The trick is to make you think you need something and that it works to your advantage.  Again, we all need products and services but the point is to squeeze out more money from you through clever tricks in the transactions or product itself.

Let us examine this from the trivial continuing on to the nefarious.

1.  The buying experience

Upon my return from Asia to the USA I was quite shocked at the high pitched level in which salesmen tried to get me to part with my money.  I had not yet pinpointed the culprits yet and focused only on the stores.

Please read my post:  The Coconut Example – Services in America

In this post I compare the experience of buying a coconut in Vietnam and what would happen if we released a cadre of MBA students on the coconut selling operation.  I’ll give you a brief description here.

In Vietnam:  You go to buy a coconut.  You say you want a coconut.  The price is 15,000VND (90 cents).  You give the vendor 15,000VND.  He gives you a coconut.  You leave.

In the USA (with a slight bit of exaggeration):

1.  You go to buy a coconut
2.  You enter the store and hear fashionable pop music being played to get you excited about buying coconuts.
3. There are advertisements with famous people, half naked, drinking coconuts which gets you even more excited.
4. You pick one out and go to pay.
5.  The salesclerk asks “How are you today?” does not wait for the response and asks if you would like to pay with your Coco charge card.
6.  You do not have one, so the clerk says you could save 15% on your coconut purchase today.
7.  You decline
8.  The clerk asks if you are sure you do not want to save 15% on your coconut purchase?
9.  You are sure
10.  The clerk asks if she can have your e-mail address and telephone number
11. You decline.
12.  The clerk asks if you would like to purchase the extended coconut warranty plan just in case the coconut is bad.
13.  You decline
14.  The clerk asks you if you would like to fill out a short survey about your coconut buying experience.
15.  You decline
16. The clerk asks if you would like to pair the coconut with the very delicious coconut cake which is part of the new “Coconut Paring.”
17. You decline
18.  You walk out of the store, unwrap the box the coconut came in and realize there is some assembly required.

19.  You go to the hardware store so you can drill a hole in your coconut
20.  Repeat steps 1 – 17 only this time the item is a drill.
21.  You drill a hole into the coconut and take a sip and it tastes surprisingly sweet and a bit weird.
22.  On the back of the label you see the following written

  • NATURAL COCONUT FLAVORS, with Real Coconut Juice
  • ALL NATURAL INGREDIENTS
  • NO ARTIFICIAL PRESERVATIVES
  • 100% NATURAL
  • REAL COCONUT
  • NO PRESERVATIVES
  • NO ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS

Then, in very small print you see this:

Enriched wheat flour, High fructose corn syrup, Ammonium sulfate, Sodium stearoyl lactylate, Brown sugar, Mono and diglycerides, Partially hydrogenated soybean oil, pasteurized, Acesulfame-K, Artificial colors, Aspartame, BHA, BHT, Brominated vegetable oil, BVO, Caffeine, Free glutamates, glutamic acid, hydroyzed protein, Nitrates, Saccharin, Sulfites and Neotame.

Now how did this happen?  All you wanted was a coconut!  You successfully escaped them trying to triple the price but in the end what you got was not coconut juice but a chemical concoction of poison which has just shortened your life by about 5 minutes.

Who is to blame for all of this nonsense?

Yep, THE MBA STUDENT!

Why?

Because the MBA student figured out that it was much cheaper to artificially create something that tastes a little bit like coconut juice than actually try to sell you an actual coconut.  Coconuts take time to be grown and have to be in season.  Coconuts also go bad relatively quickly.  Then, in order to garner even more money from the sale, they tack on all that other crap such as credit cards, warranties and so on to get you to part with more of your money during the purchase.

It might be easy to blame the low paid sales clerk, the chemist, the shareholders but in actuality it was an MBA student who figured out that more money could be made by making us all go through this hell.

Why do we do this?

Because it has become a norm.  We are all institutionalized as I demonstrate in my post “Institutionalized!”

2. Language

As one who enjoys languages, I hate to see how the MBA students are slowly killing the English language.  The bulk of it remains trapped in the internal business world but more than enough has slipped out into general usage.   Not only are they using clever tricks at the point of sale, but their actual language has entered into our lexicon with the point being to get you to spend more money!!  Perhaps this was unintentional, but that’s the way diseases spread, unintentional contact with anyone who might be around.

Here is my top ten:

1. Save money = This means spend more of it.
2. Comes for free =   No it doesn’t, it is built into the cost of what you are buying.
3.  Empowering = Empower you to spend more money.
4. Win win – Yes, the MBA wins twice.
5. The Big Picture =   ….. I don’t know what this means
6.  Turnkey solution =  This means absolutely nothing, I looked it up, it’s just something to say when you have nothing else to say.
7. Challenges = Problems, challenges just sounds more positive.
8. Game Plan = It is all just a game.  The game is to see how much money they can get out of you.
9.  Game Changer = You weren’t spending enough, time to change the game.
10. End of the Day = (example) The customer shouldn’t be able to resist all our attacks, at the end of the day we should have squeezed a few more dollars out.

3.  The Economy

Anyone heard of the financial crisis?

Well, finance is located in the College of Business and what did they do?  They sat around trying to figure out how to trick people into spending more money.  How did they do this?

a. Credit Cards

- Don’t pay now, don’t pay even later!  Just keep paying the interest and leave the principal

b. Re-mortgage –  This is kind of like credit cards.  We give you cash for a stake in your house and then charge you a high interest rate on the cash we’ve just given you.  So now, you are deeper in debt than before.

c. Reselling of Debts –  Just combine the first two plus about a 10000 other forms of debt, put it into a package and resell it to another who in turn can resell it to another and so on.

There are a thousand other examples and it gets complex but my point here is that you have thousands of MBA students who simply sit around every single day and figure out how to drive profits up and unleash these plans upon the public.

Some people say, we’ll the folks in debt should have known better.  Maybe they should but if I use myself as a benchmark, I too sometimes become confused.

I have a business degree, am a sales person and have had experience in other countries.  Let me tell you that trying to resist this onslaught is tough work!  As I mention often, when I came back to the USA it felt as though our motto should be, “Welcome to America, NOW GO BUY SOMETHING!”

The fact of the matter is that you DO HAVE TO BUY THINGS to survive.  So even though I’m playing the game correctly, I have to be pretty shrewed to try and hold onto my money.  Even if I just buy the basics for survival I have to be careful.  Here are some examples.

a.  Food

- Go to Safeway, they charge a very high price.  The MBA students have consolidated and pushed out many other food options so that it just seems normal to go to Safeway for your needs.  Safeway charges a very high price on food “retail price” unless you join their club.  If you join the club then you get a discount on your items.

It was an MBA who figured out that they should just raise the prices on everything, smarter shoppers will join the club but many will not thus increasing profits.  Further, some regular shoppers will forget their card and thus be forced to pay higher prices.

The shrewd shopper will never forget his/her card, or realize that you can also use your phone number for the discounts.  People who are even smarter will shop at Costco (this is a bright spot for MBA students)  but you have to buy in bulk.  Now you have bought more than you need but if you are disciplined and have enough storage it will work out for you.  In this case, I could call it a “win-win.”

b. Clothing

- Not much to say here except when you go to buy clothes.  Look back at the coconut example and you have to go through the same process.  Shrewd people again should shop at Ross Stores or Costco but there you cannot always get what you want.  So you return to the department store and they put you through the same drill again.

c. Housing

- You will need insurance which is fair enough.  But be mindful that the insurance companies want to sell you the highest rate.  You have to be smart enough to really dig in and stick it to the companies which many will not do.  They won’t offer you their best price at the beginning and will also try to tack on further services.

3.  Government

Things have become very bad now with the Supreme Court decision “Citizens United.”  This says that corporations now have no limit to spending when trying to influence elections (Political broadcasts).

The reason this is bad is that they can now support a politician (not sure how directly) and influence the outcome.  The politician is now indebted to the corporation and will try to pass laws in favor of that corporation.

Corporations also have an army of lobbyists.  These are firms that try to influence government officials.

In other countries this is called “Corruption.”

In the USA it is called “Lobbying.”

It is the exact same thing except there are a few rules in place for lobbyists in order to try and differentiate it from corruption but it is very very similar.

One recent example of political conflict that is really the fault of MBAs’ is that of the Healthcare question.  The Democrats want universal healthcare and the Republicans do not.  We fight and quibble over this but if we get to the source (MBA students) we can see the real problem.

The problem is that Healthcare in the USA is expensive.  Why is this?  If we went back to the beginning, we have an ailment, we see a doctor and he fixes it.  End of transaction.  But then the MBA students (and Lawyers – my other least favorite people) got involved.

The doctors now have to worry about malpractice lawsuits so must perform a variety of unnecessary tests to cover themselves.  If they make a mistake then then worry about being sued.  The insurance companies (MBA students run the insurance companies) charge the doctors huge premiums to be insured so they are not sued and lose everything they have.

Further, now doctors must join companies who run the entire operation and who is controlling the operation?  MBA students!  Their goal is to get the most profit.  So, you now enter a hospital sick, have a large variety of tests run on you which are not necessary and due to insurance they want you out of the hospital as quickly as possible!!

This leads to enormous costs for insurance, to ensure the maximum profit for the hospital and lessen the risk of lawsuits.  The issue is not whether we have Republicans or Democrats in charge or if we have national healthcare or not.  The root cause is MBA students and lawyers getting involved and both groups trying to make as much money as they can on sick people.  In healthcare or any other industry, the main problem is MBA students trying to squeeze out as much profit as possible.

Well, it looks like my posting stamina has been spent.  Sometimes I think I should fill out the post a bit more and add a bit more substance.  But no, I only can handle about 30 minutes to maybe an hour and revising bores me.  After all, this is just a blog and not the New York Times.    :)

So in conclusion, I believe it would be fair to take a bit of the pressure off the government ( no matter which party is in charge) and put it on the MBA students.  The Buck Stops with them so let’s demonstrate with a little hierarchy chain

1. MBA Student
2. Companies – controlled by MBA students
3. Services, goods and assets – We all must buy them
4. Purchasing services, goods and assets are now designed to get you to part with more money than you would wish and the MBA is more clever than the average citizen.  This leaves you in debt if you cannot understand what is going on or have no discipline.

1. MBA Student
2. Companies
3.  The Government

It is believed that the population decides who is in the government.  But who tells the people what to believe?

CORPORATIONS DO!

Examples

1. Fox News
2. Fox News (again)
3.  Other less effective broadcasting corporations
4. Any company large enough to be able to spend cash on political ads to affect the outcome.

Regular citizens do their best to understand the issues but the world changes very rapidly and is complex.  We turn to media to help us understand and that media has become very biased.  That media is/are corporations.

MBA’s power is increasing, they tell the people what to think to elect certain politicians who then in turn pass laws to help the company and whose main goal is to simply make more money.

This cycle is going to continue and things do not bode well for the USA.

The fault lies with the MBA students.

3 Comments

  1. Mariano Escobedo's Gravatar Mariano Escobedo
    November 25, 2010    

    Hey, Matt!!! Thank you for your contributions that I always find interesting and sometimes amusing (your article about ghosts, for instance). I have some brief comments that I hope will help to better understand the true nature of the society in which we live.1. The MBAs are only trained pawns in the chessboard, who help their masters to advance their agenda. However, they are the visible face of a more dangerous actor: the market fundamentalist. The one who believes that markets self-regulate and therefore should not be touched even with a flower's petal. Anyone who has ever taken at least one course in economics knows that some markets work and some others fail for different reasons. However, against common knwoledge, the market fundamentalist sustains that all markets work and, therefore, no market should be regulated at all because regulation "distorts" markets.2. These market fundamentalists are believers by convenience and some others by ignorance. They are everywhere around us, even in churches, classrooms, the government, and corporations, of course. They have the incentives to advance their agenda because they know that they can profit better from un-regulated markets. Even if their actions may harm society as a whole (current economic crisis and unemployment).3. Since economics is about incentives, as long as lobbing and de-regulation are still profitable for firm owners the MBAs will have a job to do to serve their masters. After all, being an MBA is not illegal.4. One solution is to regulate again some markets that need regulation and were de-regulated in the past (financial markets). Also, making lobbing more costly or prohibitive (which will reduce profits for firm owners) can help deter the market fundamentalist's agenda.

  2. The Global Citizen's Gravatar The Global Citizen
    December 5, 2010    

    Thanks Mariano!! Many good points there. If you ever feel like writing a post for the blog just let me know and I'll send you a login.

  3. Mariano Escobedo's Gravatar Mariano Escobedo
    December 6, 2010    

    You are welcome, Matt! Thanks. I will let you know.

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