Bush as a Manager – The Iraq Case Study

I don't do a lot of politics, but this crosses over into management issues.

It's a conversation heard more and more around the halls of Harvard Business School these days: One of President George W. Bush's unique qualifications for office was his Harvard MBA. Yet the mess in postwar Iraq has revealed a lack of the careful planning that Harvard teaches its elite clientele.

And a related problem — the ballooning federal budget deficit — hints at much less financial discipline than B-school alums are supposed to have. "Because George is a graduate of the school, there's lots of casual discussion about what he learned, or didn't learn, while he was here," says David Yoffie, a Harvard Business School professor of international business administration.

Granted, leading a country is a bit more demanding than managing the Huggies diapers brand or running a BusinessWeek 50 company — the sort of jobs Harvard MBAs typically hold. That goes double for trying to simultaneously manage an effort as unpredictable as invading, then rebuilding, another country.

It's interesting to me that the Harvard profs are discussing this. My opinion on stuff like this is that despite all the news, we don't know what is really going on, so I don't pass judgement on the success (or lack of success) of the Administration's plan.