06 October 2009


Suppose a world-renowned, but cash-strapped university, while facing prospects of further cuts down the road, suddenly discovered a cool unencumbered $3M in the folds of its budget. Well, what is such a glorious university, overlooking one of the most beautiful bays in the world, supposed to do with it? Use it to retain its stellar faculty? Or perhaps recruit more deserving students from diverse backgrounds? Or even recognize the contributions of unsung service staff? The possibilities are endless, from improving the students' learning experience to better benefits for non-ladder faculty.

Naturally, none of the above. It's all about priorities. Three million is just what is need to hire a fancy out-of-state management consulting firm to get advice on ... more cuts!

Remarkably, this is the same consulting firm who advised in favor of the historic UCSF/Stanford merger. which had later had to be undone at a cost of $176M. Even more remarkably, such an unnamed university is host to a top-ranked business school, whose faculty would have been happy to advise on budget cuts for a fee well below $3M.

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