Just yesterday the Harvard Business Review presented an article by a London Business School professor suggesting that companies don’t always need a purpose beyond profit. I had to take a walk on the beach to get my blood pressure back to normal.
He starts off by lamenting that his school tries to instill in its students the desire to improve the human condition, but fails.
At London Business School, we often try to explain the purpose of our existence by showing pictures of our students who are working on environmental issues in rural India or improving sanitation in a township in South Africa. We also always highlight the wonderful work of our Professor of Economics, Elias Papaioannou, on clearing landmines in Mozambique. However, the reality of things is that most of our students go to work in management consulting, tech, or investment banking — even hedge funds.
I would suggest this in itself is a fundamental failure to teach the value, and non-financial rewards, of a worthy purpose beyond simply making money. He then launches into how he believes the pursuit of profit has helped our world.
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