The Education or Diploma?

In a not-too-enlightening review in the NYTBook Review today, there is a provocative question at the end:

In ”Harvard Rules,” Bradley describes the case of Joe Green, an undergraduate disillusioned by his experience as a student representative on the committee evaluating the Core Curriculum. ”Green kept thinking about a question one of his professors had put to him: ‘If you could either go here and get no diploma, or not go here and get the diploma, what would you do?‘ ” Bradley writes. ”It bothered Green that he couldn’t easily answer the question.” It should bother the president of Harvard, too. The answer, in the end, is the difference between a great university and a brand name.

3 comments on “The Education or Diploma?
  • Another part of this article I found disturbing was that the committee to revamp the curriculum recommended that Harvard “develop distinctive course materials for use in, and potentially beyond, Harvard college.” It’s scary to imagine one university creating a new sector of the education market, though I suppose this phenomenon wouldn’t be unlike The College Board’s current monopoly on standardized testing. Money can’t buy happiness, but every day, there is something new (like downloadable Harvard lectures, perhaps?) to purchase.

    However, even with all the bad press about Harvard, it’s hard to imagine that the school could achieve its position without deserving it. Maybe there’s still some (or a lot of) good/merit left there. I hope so.

  • Too late, Elena. Harvard Business School already does a brisk business in teaching materials.

    Thanks to its age, pre-eminence, and devotion to the case study method, HBS is the world’s leading vendor of teaching cases. HBS cases are purchased and used at other business schools around the globe, including its top rivals.

    For better or worse, HBS has a disproportionate influence on most of the world’s MBAs.

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