Attracting students with educational power
Re: Ivey MBA advertising
To the Editor:
This past month a full page ad for the Ivey School of Business appeared in a Globe and Mail supplement. Dominating the text were the words, "The Ivey MBA. Power to take on the world." The advertisement features a large photo of three young executives bounding away from a helicopter, its blades still rotating. In the background are modern towers which themselves communicate strength and confidence.
The ad plays on the appeal of power using that word no less than four times in seven lines of text. It's a superb ad clearly implying that an Ivey MBA can give you "the career you want, the life you want, the power to make a difference."
I don't want to suggest that schools of business should not be established and that they should not equip students to manage businesses skillfully. I don't want to suggest the Ivey School of Business doesn't appeal to potential students for other reasons such as quality programs. I don't even want to suggest that graduate schools should not promote their wares by means of carefully crafted ads. What I do question is the appeal to power as an enticement to receive an education.
An appeal to power contains inherent dangers. It brings us along the road of further environmental domination and degradation. A desire for power leads to farsightedness in regard to small people groups and ancient cultures.
Those in pursuit of power tend to overrun them in the name of a far-off vision of modern progress. A desire for power strips one of a sensitivity to human rights, community concerns and the needs of the most powerless. The striving for power creates losers as well as winners among both persons and entire nations.
Several days ago, I attended the installation of a new chaplain to the university. During the ceremony the commitment to service was unmistakable. Those at the event listened as the speaker, recalling the life of Jesus Christ, said that even the son of God had come to the world, not to be served, but to serve.
I am sure that it is not just a few chaplains on campus who are committed to serving others. Those in the care-giving professions are also being trained to serve. But isn't it the case that all education is for the serving of others?
In other words, it isn't just the two groups I just mentioned but people in all vocations who are called to serve. This includes all those who are being trained in the various engineering and research departments, aspiring artists and writers as well as students of economics and business.
All education needs to be informed by an ethos of service so that each graduate is prepared to use their skill not merely for their own betterment, but for the betterment of all those around them, especially the less fortunate.
There isn't always time in the midst of study and teaching to spend time reflecting on the modern ethos of power and the ethos of service. A number of the members of the university community are currently engaged in planning such an opportunity. It is called the Veritas Forum-Western, set for Nov. 3-5, soon to be publicized and is an opportunity for all students and faculty to engage in discussion on these and related matters.