Harvard Business School attracts women by 'peeking'

Harvard Business School is starting a new program to attract women with the very ironic and unintentionally suggestive name of Peek.

It’s been more than 50 years since Harvard Business School started admitting women, yet the elite institution is still figuring out how to best attract and support them. Its latest effort: a recruiting program targeting women's colleges -- places that are not traditional feeding grounds for the male-majority business school.

The program, announced earlier this month, is called Peek. It offers rising juniors, seniors and recent graduates from women’s colleges the opportunity to read and discuss four HBS case studies in class taught by top HBS faculty members, along with chances to meet students and alumnae. About 50 to 70 prospective students will pay $500 for their stay in June.

A program designed to attract women is called Peek?  Do you think they ran this by a professor who knows anything about branding or marketing?

In any event, reverse sexism is alive and well at Harvard Business School.  Why should this "peek" be made available only to women?  Can you imagine the uproar if only men could "peek"?  Why in this day and age is reverse sexism so acceptable?

Women make up 41 percent of Harvard Business School's class of 2016 -- the most the school has ever had.

That's almost parity.  Why must we assume that HBS must be precisely 50% female?  There are more female college students than male ones, and I don't see anyone trying to increase the number of men going to college.

And then there's the matter of the cost:

Despite the Peek program's good intentions, the $500 fee bothered some alumni from the business school and others, said John A. Byrne, the editor of business school news site PoetsandQuants.com. "The fact that HBS, a school with the largest endowment of any in the world, would charge women for the privilege of coming to campus rubbed a lot of people the wrong way," said Byrne, a former executive editor of BusinessWeek.

Leopold said the $500 fee was a “fair price” for room and board at the business school for a weekend, and didn’t actually cover the full costs of the program. Financial aid and fellowships will also be available, she said.

The marginal cost of this program is almost zero.  The professors are not being paid anything additional.  The rooms they will be sleeping in do not have to be built; they are already there and available.  HBS has an endowment of over 3 billion dollars.  Harvard could run a "peekshow" for women 24/7 and still have plenty of money left over.

Maybe this isn't about helping women.  Maybe Harvard is secretly sexist in trying to con women out of their money!

But there are still problems.

Last year, in a surprising move, [Dean] Nohria apologized for the school’s sexist past at an event honoring women alumni in San Francisco. He acknowledged that his school’s treatment of women left them feeling “disrespected, left out and unloved by the school," according to a report from Byrne, who attended the event.

I have no idea if that is really true, or if this is just liberals bending over backwards as they always do.

The dean promised to overhaul the school’s iconic case studies so that at least 20 percent of the protagonists in the business texts would be women -- up from a paltry 9 percent. 

That's it?  That's why women don't apply to business school, because there are too many names of men in the case studies?  What about minorities?  Are there enough of those represented as well?  I think HBS case studies should be written as follows:

"Ahmed Husseini, the president of Thrust, a new ride-sharing service, has to cut costs and fire someone on his staff, so he held a meeting to discuss it.  Pat, his customer service manager, was out recovering from a botched sex change operation, but the attendees were Miguel, his Inclusion Consultant; Jamal, the VP for Diversity; Loretta, the Senior VP for Women Riders; Susan, his customer service manager who just happened to have Tourette's; and Tom, his heterosexual white male VP of Operations.  Discuss how Tom's letter of termination should be worded."

Here's an unconventional thought: women are not represented in equal numbers at Harvard Business School because they are not applying in equal numbers, and they are not applying in equal numbers because fewer women are interested in business than men are.  People who believe they are not applying because not enough women are mentioned in case studies are deluding themselves, and feeling that women need a "special peek" into business school to make them more interested than men who don't peek is frankly paternalistic and tiresome.

This article was produced by NewsMachete.com, the conservative news site.