Comments on: The tattooed MBA http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/ A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: Nick http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/comment-page-1/#comment-5933 Tue, 25 Aug 2009 18:38:52 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/#comment-5933 This is for Dave regarding his statement above.

Even though Bear Stearns had to be bailed out by JPM does not mean that it wasn’t a good shop. Excuse me if I’m wrong but the majority of businesses started in the US don’t even make it a year and Bear was around since 1923. I don’t know about you but I think an 85 year run is a pretty good one. There are only a select few large companies out there today that could boast of a longer existence.

Just figured I would point out pure ignorance.

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By: Chris Maresca http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/comment-page-1/#comment-5880 Mon, 24 Aug 2009 09:23:00 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/#comment-5880 I think Felix is right. I’ve been a consultant for the better part of 15 years and have spent the last 8 helping hundreds of companies (from F100 to startups) with business strategy. And I don’t have an MBA. 9 times out of 10, MBA’s just do the standard thing they were taught, things that I am brought in to fix and do better.

Yes, an MBA means you’ve been selected, but you’ve been selected in exactly the same way as every other MBA and you will learn roughly the same things. Not exactly a recipe for creative problem solving, although MBAs are very good at jumping through hoops and applying standard, prescriptive solutions.

Personally, the only value I see in an MBA is the contacts you make when doing it. The downside of not having one is that you need to be effective at what you do since you don’t have the rubber stamp of an MBA.

If you are an executive looking to solve business problems, you need to seriously ask yourself if you are just looking for the same tired solutions sets or something that will put you ahead of everyone else. In the former case, hire an MBA, in the latter, hire anyone but an MBA….

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By: Jon H http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/comment-page-1/#comment-5783 Fri, 21 Aug 2009 15:17:46 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/#comment-5783 Possibly related: the Federal employees found to have advanced degrees from diploma mills.

http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04771t.pdf

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By: Davros http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/comment-page-1/#comment-5778 Fri, 21 Aug 2009 12:34:44 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/#comment-5778 I think Felix is just saying mixing up the DNA of Wall St every now and then is not such a bad thing. Just look at where all those shiny MBAs got us. Companies could maybe be a little more adventurous in their hiring, it’s very easy to go to the top college and scoop up the top 5% and you’ll probably get pretty good employees in the same way you can buy all your clothes in GAP. That said although it takes more effort you could spend your time poking around vintage stores and get something very cool and everyone will go ‘that cool’. In summary, if you keep doing what you’ve always done you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.

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By: gs http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/comment-page-1/#comment-5776 Fri, 21 Aug 2009 09:57:04 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/#comment-5776 When I was a kid around 1970, only old people had tattoos, usually acquired in some foreign port in their youth. Funny if it goes full circle, with tattoos becoming “the old people” mark a few decades from now.

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By: GP http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/comment-page-1/#comment-5775 Fri, 21 Aug 2009 08:55:21 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/#comment-5775 I worked at Bear Stearns, and cannot ever recall seeing a single visible tattoo.

I also grew up on what could (very vaguely) be called “the streets” and pretty much everyone I knew of an low-to-average intelligence went to at least a year of some form of post-secondary education.

Maybe it’s a generational thing, but your view seems to reflect a nostalgia for some place or time that exists largely in your head.

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By: flipsideflorida http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/comment-page-1/#comment-5765 Fri, 21 Aug 2009 02:38:21 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/#comment-5765 I absolutely hate long-windedness.

So is the moral of the story that if, and only if, you’d like to wear a tatoo you should even consider getting one in the first place?

And if you’re five or six steps ahead of any rival, how can one possibly be exploited by them or their tatoos?

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By: Dave http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/comment-page-1/#comment-5759 Thu, 20 Aug 2009 23:55:13 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/#comment-5759 “In the US, shops like Bear Stearns and Salomon Brothers often took great pride in being staffed with hungry guys from the streets, people with the opinion that it’s making money which matters, not being respectable.”

Felix is certainly going against the prevailing wisdom in stating that a new Bear Stearns needs to be created, and let’s not forget that the old Salomon Brothers became the core of Citigroup’s investment bank.

On a broader note, however, I’d go so far as to state that it was this “opinion that it’s making money which matters, not being respectable” that, with some twists and turns over the years, is responsible for two of the key problems that led to the crisis – too much proprietary trading and a lack of respect for the client. Being “respectable” in the days of “old” Wall Street sometimes manifested itself in negative ways – for example, “respectability” might require employing only WASPS from the right families – but also in some positive ways – a focus on agent and advisory activities (equity and debt underwriting, M&A work, and executing trades for clients) rather than riskier principal investing and a concern with the quality of the securities that a firm underwrote, since it was not “respectable” (nor good for long-term business) to peddle crap to the institutions and individuals to whom you’d want to sell offerings in the future. I realize that I’ve oversimplified to some degree, but there’s a core of important truth within this generalization.

I would not underestimate the degree to which the desire to remain “respectable” – a sense of professional ethics that may not be codified – can help prevent abuses in finance, or any profession. Felix, wouldn’t you say that a desire to be “respectable” is a key factor for journalists – or at least good ones – in making sure that a story is accurate and well-written?

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By: jonathan http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/comment-page-1/#comment-5756 Thu, 20 Aug 2009 22:05:06 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/#comment-5756 It may be a sign of overcaution. It may be sign of real caution. We don’t know. It may that attitudes toward tattoos will become progressively more accepting but it may be that tattooing will fade as a social phenomenon and then what do you have?

But my point – from an economics perspective – is that choices have consequences. A choice to tattoo one’s self in highly visual ways is a choice that a person – assume at least 18 – makes. It has repercussions, much as the decision to not do homework or drop out of school or to take extra classes, etc. affects your future positively or negatively. In that regard, you choose to tattoo yourself in a visible way which is not the same as being born dark-skinned or with a Jewish sounding name or having an Irish brogue in 19thC Boston.

So whatever the merits of any individual, you’re ignoring the basic economic truth that actions have consequences. The message being received by people who don’t know the specifics of a person’s actual life history is that this person was stupid enough to tattoo him or herself in such a highly visible manner. Maybe youthful rebellion and/or a bad family life drove the decision and the person has now grown up. Maybe the person intended then to mark him or herself as separate from the “straight” society of 9-5 regular jobs and now has grown or changed or accepted reality. Maybe the person was/is on off hours part of an artistic or other subgroup in which visible tattoos are normal but needs to be in a straight job for money. I don’t know and don’t care. But the basic economic point remains that visible tattoos are known by everyone to make getting a good job more difficult – the more highly visible, the harder it is – so it is bluntly a bad decision to get them. There is no reason not to ask, “What the heck was that person thinking?” And there are perfectly good reasons not to hire a person that you naturally and correctly wonder that about.

wasn’t the intent and the person has since grown

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By: dvictr http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/comment-page-1/#comment-5754 Thu, 20 Aug 2009 21:11:49 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/the-tattooed-mba/#comment-5754 the natural human body is much more classy than one graffitied.. i would hope that highly trained/educated professionals appreciate finer art.

nothing wrong with a small tattoo here or there.. but a full arm sleeve signals to me that the person is a has been and their best days behind them

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