The Devil's Advocate Responds to an Mba Student's Claim that Research Harms Learning

Journal of Marketing, Vol. 59, pp. 101-106, July 1995

10 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2005 Last revised: 1 Jan 2012

See all articles by J. Scott Armstrong

J. Scott Armstrong

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department


Snapshots from Hell describes the turmoil experienced by some MBA students. Their feelings and reactions are compatible with what might be expected from prior research findings. Peter Robinson represents a growing segment of MBA students. Although I enjoyed Robinson's book, I found that it offered a chilling view of the future. Leading business schools are not designed to serve everyone, nor are they designed to ensure the happiness of all students. The prospect of serving a student body consisting of Robinsons conjures up thoughts of committees of uninformed and disinterested students taking time from their busy schedules to dictate what the professors should teach and how they should behave in the classroom. Whether students are interested in certification or learning, they can all benefit from research. Research enhances the prestige of their institution, and this apparently leads to higher earnings for the graduates. It also produces gains in learning, which are achieved at no loss in student satisfaction. Meanwhile, faculty research will also benefit others, which is its most important function. The key issue is not who is the consumer, but who is the producer. A system in which professors are viewed as producers cannot succeed. It will produce confrontation and turmoil, especially if learning is relevant. A system in which students are viewed as producers would enhance the efficiency of the learning and aid in the pursuit of knowledge by the faculty.

Keywords: research and learning, MBA education

Suggested Citation

Armstrong, J. Scott, The Devil's Advocate Responds to an Mba Student's Claim that Research Harms Learning. Journal of Marketing, Vol. 59, pp. 101-106, July 1995, Available at SSRN:

J. Scott Armstrong (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department ( email )

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