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The flavourless flavour of business school

by David Easey March 29, 2016 14 comments
The flavourless flavour of business school

Why you should think twice before attending JMSB

I pass through the heavy glass doors and feel the immediate urge to shed my identity and kowtow to the corporate overlords. I start speaking in a strange vernacular where I use the words ‘cash flow,’ and ‘capital,’ as dark visions of materialism and greed fill my mind.

Photos by Marie-Pierre Savard.

Photos by Marie-Pierre Savard.

I observe my surroundings and see that everyone looks the same, adhering to a certain aesthetic. Their business uniform seems to be bought from Zara, as they reek of expensive perfumes and Gillette razors. Their phones constantly illuminate with LinkedIn notifications, while each student is constantly trying to think of something witty to write on the CASA-JMSB Facebook group (it’s essentially filled with memes).

This is my perception of John Molson School of Business, and after spending nearly two years at the prestigious institution, I can definitely say the environment was sterile, conformist and vapid.

I’ll never forget the day I received my acceptance letter to JMSB; it was comparable to when Harry discovered he was going to Hogwarts. Excitement filled my hollow soul as I naively imagined my new life as a business student.

Photos by Marie-Pierre Savard.

Photos by Marie-Pierre Savard.

I should admit that I never truly wanted to study business, and I agonized to choose between the arts and business for months leading up to my acceptance. I knew that I always wanted to study history, but my parents kept telling me I’d be a poor arts student with no prospects after graduation.

One of my first memories in JMSB was in a class called business communications (the course was a complete sham). I remember the professor was giving the class advice on how to make your peers look stupid in a group interview setting. Initially shocked at this apparent ruthlessness, I turned to the girl next to me and shared my disbelief, to which she harshly replied, “business is not some fairytale, David.”

I also remember all of my professors telling me that I had to wear formal business wear for all presentations—which proved to be extremely uncomfortable. As someone who’s used to wearing muted all-black ensembles with bedhead hair, I felt like I was constantly being told to relinquish my identity and conform to the standards of the school. I even showed up to one presentation dressed in my everyday clothes and lost marks because I didn’t “obey.”

Photos by Marie-Pierre Savard.

Photos by Marie-Pierre Savard.

To make matters worse, I despised all of my courses because they were so bland, and there was absolutely no opportunity to express any creativity whatsoever. Even when it came down to PowerPoint presentations, we weren’t allowed to push the boundaries without fearing academic consequences. My creativity suffered immensely during this period, as I suddenly felt like I wasn’t able to express myself properly. I began to experience a lot of anxiety due to this constant repression.

I’ll never forget the countless hours I spent memorizing volumes of statistics, accounting tables and business theories, just to regurgitate them on exams like a mindless robot. I was in pure hell.

I cannot deny that my grades suffered during this period, simply because I was stuck in an insipid environment that I grew to despise. I finally took the plunge after 18 months and switched to my true passion—the arts. Although I felt like I was giving up an opportunity to make money in the future, I knew I was better suited going down this path.

 

Business is not for everyone and it certainly wasn’t for me. I know I’m not alone in sharing these sentiments, so The Concordian conducted interviews with JMSB students to see what they thought. Check out the video below.

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