Hello… is this thing On?

Ah, the question. The answer is self-evident but we will continue to provide it.

The master’s of business administration, a gateway credential throughout corporate America, is especially coveted on Wall Street; in recent years, top business schools have routinely sent more than 40 percent of their graduates into the world of finance.

But with the economy in disarray and so many financial firms in free fall, analysts, and even educators themselves, are wondering if the way business students are taught may have contributed to the most serious economic crisis in decades.

“It is so obvious that something big has failed,” said Ángel Cabrera, dean of the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Ariz. “We can look the other way, but come on. The C.E.O.’s of those companies, those are people we used to brag about. We cannot say, ‘Well, it wasn’t our fault’ when there is such a systemic, widespread failure of leadership.”

With apologies to the Thunderbird School of Global Management, all of the time, energy and soul expended separating you from your money has taken a toll, with interest compounded annually somewhere in the range of 8-10%, when the margin for error was minuscule. We/they didn’t have that much time, energy or soul to spare and now it looks a bit pathetic to say we need to tweak the edges of how we were doing things and somehow tack back toward some mythical center. Systemic means systemic and there is no polite way to systematically factor out people and planet as liabilities in pursuit of higher profits. So fond are we of the quote that sums up our civilization with two words and a contraction, “It’s just business.”

What’s left when that’s all that’s left? In an inconvenient bit of symmetry, no polite route will right this no-future course. Change your ways or have them changed for you. Smartest guys in the room, indeed.