Listen Up, Kiddies: If you’d been smart enough to follow the Gabriel Bitran story on this blog…

... (scroll down; read the whole page) you’d be SO not surprised at the Jeffrey Epstein story! Boys’ clubs will be boys’ clubs – they’ll ignore bad boys forever cuz they kinda like them.

Teva.
 Once upon a time there was a business
Where we used to raise a price or two
Remember how we settled suits for peanuts
And dreamed up all the dirty deals we'd do
Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
Inflation schemes, price fixing, bribery
We'd gut the lives we'd choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were rich and sure to have our way
 Now generic prices are in tatters
For distribution too we'll have to pay
Our current debt load's
twenty seven billion
Ruefully we smile and weep and say
Yes I remember well
We were corrupt as hell
And now our smiles have all turned into frowns.
But then you take my hand and tell me Here's the plan
We're gonna take our cash and double-down

“B-schools offer [ethics courses] as electives, which is always just window dressing. Ethics has never gained any traction at business schools. I doubt that you would see evidence of them teaching about how income inequality is created.”

A blog like this one, which features a much-used category titled Beware the B-School Boys, welcomes a bunch of new books with titles like Nothing Succeeds like Failure: The Sad History of American Business Schools and Leadership BS. Also a bunch of new opinion pieces with titles like We Should Bulldoze the Business School. Very nice.

*****************

UPDATE: Right on cue. A perfectly timed news item on the subject just broke, and it’s being widely covered for all the wrong reasons. Everyone’s hyperventilating about a photogenic go-getter abundantly and shamelessly lying her way into a high-profile job in the current… troubled federal government. Said she went to schools she didn’t go to. Bought her degree from a diploma mill. (Read this page while you can.)

But as you know if you read this blog in its infant days, diploma mills (see that UD category) are a permanent structural reality of all countries. It’s a quirk of the United States that when people here find out you bought your college or graduate degree they actually get upset and do something about it. Most countries don’t care. This is why you want to wait til you get back to the States for that surgery.

So the fact that Mina Chang is a diploma mill grad who claims on her cv to have graduated from Harvard is a ho-hum revelation. Generous chunks of the military, fire departments, and public education are all milled up. Why those locations in particular? Because if you demand an advanced degree for job advancement, people will, er, advance them.

No: The real story lies here:

According to her educational history on LinkedIn, Chang writes that she took part in an “Executive Nonprofit Leadership” program at Southern Methodist University in Texas.

The Non Profit Leadership Certificate Program is a six-day program with a $900 fee.

That’s right, kiddies: Leadership BS at nine hundred (with travel, etc. let’s make it an even thousand) for SIX DAYS. Can you imagine the amazing leadership bs you’re getting for that moolah? Reminds ol’ UD of this 2011 six day New Zealand bs leadership seminar (run by a diploma mill grad – beginning to see the synergy?) that cost around $13,000 dollars in American currency. Or, closer to home, there’s this (quoting meself in a 2010 post about leadership bs seminars paid for by the federal government):

The Center for Creative Leadership doesn’t just have a great name.  It’s located on ONE LEADERSHIP PLACE, Greensboro, North Carolina.  Its street is a leader. This alone perhaps warrants a certain premium for leadership trainees who, even as their rented cars pull up to CCL headquarters, can sense that the very ground upon which they motor is imbued with leadership.

A five-day leadership course at the CCL will cost you between $6200 and $10,600.

And that’s not all, folks! Here’s another example of your tax dollars at work, again from a 2010 post:

[Let’s see what] the Kennedy School is charging these days for their Senior Executive whatever — all of it paid by the government.  The school has just raised the tuition.  It now costs almost $20,000 for four weeks… The costs for this and similar four-week courses offered by other outfits the Office of Personnel Management uses are 460% higher than all costs for one month at an average private American university.

As Michael Kinsley once wrote, the scandal isn’t what’s illegal; the scandal is what’s legal. That a hyper-ambitious young person would survey Trump University World and come to certain conclusions is no scandal. That the federal government enables, and schools like Harvard exploit, the leadership racket is, if you ask UD, scandalous.

******************

Oh, whoops. Forgot the big shocking news item about Chang and that leadership program. Shockingly, she didn’t really attend it. Shockingly, she listed it on her resume but actually did not attend.

UD finds this admirable. I ain’t saying I’d hire the woman! But she definitely shows good sense here.

It’s funny. You figure in certain subcultures almost everyone’s corrupt…

… and everyone sort of maneuvers a life around being corrupt… So that if you, say, get arrested for corruption, and even if you go to jail for a year or eight for corruption, okay. Occupational hazard, and maybe you’ve even anticipated and mentally adjusted to the possibility. You have a terrific attorney; you’ve acquainted yourself with the nicest lockups in your country, etc. You’re a man, after all, and men man up and face the music if they have to. UD has always, along these lines, been very fond of Enron’s Andrew Fastow, who, you know, did his time, and came out sardonic and stoical about it. He gives amusing lectures to business ethics classes.

But every now and then you encounter a figure of pathos, like Alan Garcia.Clearly not willing to play the game.

‘He served as a Director of Arresto BioSciences, Inc.’

Which is fitting, because he might be getting arrestoed.

‘The annual multi-billion-dollar exercise in nonsense known as the Leadership Industry.’

UD‘s only on the second paragraph, and already she’s cheering. Thanks, dmf, for the link.

For my own modest contribution to the Leadership thing, go here, here, and here.

Oh, and here.







Another Notch in Wharton’s Belt

We’ve chronicled for years on this blog the remarkable number of truly out-sized financial criminals who got their training at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Here’s another one – a Muslim who used some of his money to “to undo negative misperceptions of [Muslims] in [the] media.”

Well…







Monetizing Your Classroom in Melbourne

This blog has chronicled the ways some professors exploit the sitting ducks, the trapped rats, they encounter each week.

There’s the professor (now in jail) who on the first day of class had everyone write down their social security number and pass it forward to him. The professor who used her graduate students as slaves. The professors who forced their students to sell tickets to sports events for them. A professor who simply stood in front of his graduate students and told them to hand over $10,000 or else.

But the most venerable method of making hay out of your students is the buying-my-book-is-a-requirement thing. A perennial favorite, b-m-b-i-a-r takes many forms, the most recent on view in Australia, at RMIT University, where a bunch of guys in the business school made buying their extremely expensive e-book an inescapable expense for all:

College of Business students were told they had to purchase textbooks written by their lecturers to access the mandatory tests.

These textbooks were sold on a website which Fairfax Media has found is owned by an RMIT lecturer.

The site sells textbooks written by a number of RMIT Business lecturers.

… “Your grades are behind a paywall and your money went into the course coordinator’s pocket,” [one student] said.

Another student, Renata Majdandzic, said she only bought a textbook from the site so that she could sit her tests.

“I just wasted $60 on a book for nothing,” she said.

“I never even looked at these books but we have to pay for them just to do a test that should be included in the [university] fees”.







Wow. I know this blog has a Beware the B-School Boys category, but …

… wow.

Oakland University [business school] professor Joseph Schiele is charged with seven different counts including possession with intent to deliver, felony firearm and operating a drug house.

… [T]ips from Oakland University [in Rochester Michigan] students started to pile up in January 2016. Students were reporting something suspicious was going on at the professor’s home.

An array of drugs was on offer, including ketamine.

“Oh my goodness … ketamine? I was thinking like Adderall or weed, or something. That’s a big jump. Wow,” said student Nichole Hill.

The coverage includes a way scary mug shot. Professors typically do not look this scary.

This story is shocking on many levels, but the most shocking appears in the headline. A B-School professor is Giving Drugs to Students.

Not selling drugs to students?







Jeffrey Aronin: The Pride of Northern Illinois University

Who knows if he learned, as an undergrad and grad student at NIU, how to jack up the price of

his newly approved steroid — a cheap, generic offering sold in many countries around the world as deflazacort — [to] $89,000 a year after landing an approval to market it for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. According to a number of patient advocates, they’ve been buying the drug from overseas for about $1,000 a year.

NIU is so proud of him that they’ve given him the Medallion for Entrepreneurship and said a bunch of shit about what a great philanthropic warm-hearted person he is too.

Next year’s recipient: Martin Shkreli.







Beware the B-School Boys, Chapter 5,891.

Scoot in close, kiddies, while we remind ourselves why UD‘s Beware the B-School Boys category gets one of the most strenuous workouts on this blog. Here’s one Professor Horsky, who for more than twenty years both taught bright-eyed b-school boylets and girlets at the University of Rochester how to do business, and at the same time defrauded the United States government of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Horsky faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. As part of his plea deal, he paid a $100 million penalty. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 10.

I gave you all that fucking money so leave me the fuck out of jail!

And no – in answer to your question… Not one person at Rochester for two decades ever experienced one scintilla of suspicion that one of their professors was a spectacular financial criminal. Not one person. They were totally blindsided by this.

“The University of Rochester and Simon Business School had no knowledge of the situation involving professor emeritus Daniel Horsky, and fully support the judicial process in this case going forward.”

Yeah. Wouldn’t want the IRS sniffing around, wondering why this person retains his emeritus status and all that. They’re still boasting about him! It is kind of strange.







Berkeley Hall of Famer Rodrigo Rato…

… picked up his business degree at the Haas School and then launched his glorious career of theft on a massive scale. Like Dominique Strauss-Kahn he put in his time as head of the IMF and as an important person at various banks, and he seems along the way to have pocketed whatever he could, however he could.

His latest unpleasantness, which yesterday featured unhappy Spaniards shouting son of a bitch at him as he entered yet another courtroom, involves stealing from credit cards, but there’s so much more.

Yet more reason Berkeley features him as a hall of famer: In 2012, Bloomberg ranked him as one of the world’s worst CEO’s.

Go Haas!







Geert Bekaert’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Semester.

The Leon Cooperman Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia University must be in a pretty foul mood.

Not only is he the object of a colleague’s high-profile sexual harassment lawsuit; his very title has become besmirched. Leon Cooperman has just been accused of insider trading.







From Bernie Madoff on Down, Universities Need the Benevolence of Nasty Billionaires…

…just as nasty billionaires, in a beautiful synergy, need the, uh, colonic properties of universities.

Bernie and his comrade in trade Ezra Merkin were madly generous, madly esteemed trustees of Yeshiva University. That pious institution made them look pure as the driven snow, preoccupied with things of the mind, things of the spirit; and Bernie and Ezra for obvious reasons valued this look highly.

Yeshiva continues to confer sweetness and light upon the likes of Ira Rennert and Zygi Wilf; and in this it resembles many other American universities, whose buildings and scholarships and professorships bear some seriously nasty names.

*******************

Here’s one. Much-esteemed University of Pennsylvania benefactor Howard Marks is an investor who writes judicious memos about how “markets make mistakes and the greatest market mistakes are driven by emotion – [like] too much greed…”

Marks himself owns but has never lived in a 22,000-square-foot Manhattan apartment which among many other things contains “30 rooms, six terraces, two dozen closets, two chefs kitchens, [and] two libraries.” It sits there on Park Avenue, completely empty, year after year. Like the California venture capitalist who got hold of a long-public beach only in order to post armed guards there to keep anyone from using it, Howard Marks has been driven by some emotion or other to dispense $52 million in order to spend years and years loudly, daily, breaking down the walls of two floors of dead space.

His downstairs neighbors have had enough and are suing. They point out that he’s been breaking building construction rules involving noise levels and hours of work per day for years, and ignoring their pleas that he stop. He has made their lives hell. Not only does he not give a shit; his lawyers are fighting the neighbors tooth and nail.

U Penn gets all excited and writes of Marks as if he’s a god because he gives a few hundred thousand to some of their writing programs, while their benefactor directs his real money to this twisted nihilistic project characterized by vacancy, aggression, and stunning waste.







Wharton’s Age of Innocence…

… is over! (Trumper Warning)

The halcyon days of graduates like Michael Milken, David S. Brown, Robert Salsbury, Ira B. Sokolow, Bruce Lee Newberg, Raj Rajaratnam, Courtney Dupree, Craig Toll, Anil Kumar, Thomas Hardin, Rajiv Goel, Steven Cohen, and many more have given way to the dark days of Wharton grad Donald Trump.

Silent until now about their honor roll of distinguished alumni (known to all as “The Wharton Mafia”), Wharton folk have lately decided to go public.

A letter disinvesting themselves from Trump has gone out from Wharton grads past and present. They begin with a questionable assertion:

At the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, students are taught to represent the highest levels of respect and integrity. We are taught to embrace humility and diversity.

There must be a serious teacher quality problem at Wharton, because it’s really not getting through.

The letter goes on to express “deep disappointment” in Trump’s hateful arrogant ways, so at odds with sweet humble Wharton… It’s important, its co-authors say, to “speak out against” Trump… But where’s the letter speaking out about decades and decades of The Wharton Mafia?

Say what you will about Trump, no one’s claiming he’s going to jail anytime soon, which is where much of The Wharton Mafia went.







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