There’s a Fed Ex commercial you may have seen that’s now taken up residence on YouTube. In the ad, a manager brings a trainee to the company’s mailroom to help see an urgent shipping matter through. Snubbing his nose at the work, the young businessman rationalizes that there must be some mistake because he has an MBA and therefore doesn’t “do shipping.” The manager responds: “Oh, you have an MBA? In that case, I’ll have to show you how to do it!”
The commercial exaggerates a view the business world has had with management schools and their protégés for years – that of young, over-confidant MBAs excelling in the academy with their book smarts only to miss the mark when it comes to the real-life demands of the marketplace.