Sunday, September 10, 2006

Media and B-Schools

I’m currently doing Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA Program and am loving every minute of it. My profs are great, the classmates are the best and I’m finding the whole process both challenging and rewarding (although I now have no time to do things like blogging, exercising, sleeping reading for recreation, interacting with other human beings).

We’re only in our second semester so there are still a lot of classes to come, but best I can tell there won’t be a whole lot of discussion on the impact of the media and on-line media on business.

In my mind, on-line sources like blogs, bulletin boards, vlogs, and user-generated content sites constitute part of the on-line media. So when I refer to on-line media as a shorthand, I’m referring to these outlets as well as the more traditional media outlets such as NYTimes.com, for example.

OK, with that out of the way…

We used to say that we live in a media-dominated society, but I do not think that is still true. We live in an entirely media saturated society where opinions (and occasionally facts) invade every aspect of our waking lives. This to me is a PR challenge for companies but I still think, despite all the information and PR consultants out there, companies are ill-prepared to deal with this challenge and, more to the point of this posting, B-schools are ill-prepared to explain the impact of these new forms of media to students.

The impact of the media does not fall neatly into a B-school program. It is not economics, accounting or finance (obviously) but (more importantly) nor is it marketing. There are elements of media studies that are relevant to marketing (i.e., getting a news story about a new product) but there does not seem to be a broader look at how the evolving media culture impacts the way a firm is viewed by both internal and external constituents.

A decision a manager makes, be that decision one of finance, HR or marketing, now has the very real potential to be discussed and commented upon openly on-line. Are there schools that study the impact of the media on a business? This to me seems like a critical issue and one managers need to have some knowledge of.

2 comments:

KJ said...

It would seem to me that the media is moving far quicker than any curriculum could possibly keep up with. By the time is "published" and being taught it will be out of date. The best schools can do is prepare people to be aware of and at best predict what the "to the second" media can do.

Ron said...

Agreed... I guess I'd like to see more of the "prepare people" stuff so people know how to react when changes in the media occure. I don't see that happening at the moment.