George W. Bush is America’s first MBA President. This may explain a lot as evidenced by his 1975 Harvard Business School exam paper reproduced below.
Q1. Your corporate headquarters in New York have been sabotaged by a foreign rogue trader. You invade his home territory in hot pursuit but are unsuccessful in tracking him down. What is your preferred option and why?
A1. Rogue traders are notoriously difficult to track down. It is often better to think outside the box. For example, I might seize the opportunity to finish off any unrelated competitors in the region who may have caused trouble for my family’s business in the past. If such a competitor has a desirable resource base, it may be advantageous to fabricate an excuse for a hostile takeover.
Q2. You assume the position of CEO of a thriving business entity with a current accounts surplus of $200 billion. However, there is a moderate economic downturn. What steps would you take to preserve capital and ensure the profitability of your enterprise?
A2. The quickest path to renewed profitability is through generous tax cuts and benefits for the wealthiest shareholders. By implementing such measures and significantly increasing expenditures on hostile takeovers (see answer to Q1.), corporate growth will be sufficiently stimulated to ensure long term profitability. Some minor deficit spending may be necessary although it will eventually be offset by increased tax revenues and generous political donations.
Q3. ABC Corporation is a successful American company that wishes to expand into foreign markets. As ABC’s head of marketing, you are charged with scouting out opportunities in the Middle East and Asia. What would you do to familiarize yourself with these potential markets and what political contacts would you make to facilitate ABC’s entry into these new markets?
A3. My Dad knows a lot about foreign countries and stuff. I think I’d just ask some of his friends to help me out.
Q4. XYZ Corporation has been selling gizmos under its brand name Neo-Conservative for many years. Sales were fairly strong for a number of years but have recently dropped off. What steps would you take to increase XYZ’s market share for its Neo-Conservative brand?
A4. XYZ should offer significant discounts to its wealthiest customers. It should also seek to align its product with growth concepts like “God” and “The American Dream.” Marketing is the process of convincing people that they need to buy your product even if it is ultimately harmful to their best interests. If you can make people believe that owning a Neo-Conservative gizmo will help them become a God-fearing, patriotic, wealthy American, you’re half way there.
Q5. You are the CEO of the largest enterprise in the history of the world. The job requires not only familiarity with business practices but also an in-depth knowledge of complicated domestic and foreign policy issues. How would you prepare yourself for the tasks ahead?
A5. See answer to Q3.
Q6. Your failing oil company has been acquired by HIJ Energy Corporation. You receive shares in HIJ and become a consultant and a director. Just prior to HIJ announcing a huge loss in earnings, you sell most of your shares for a 200% profit. Do you have to file any documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission and, if so, how long do you have?
A6. I’m sorry but I missed the lecture on that topic. I believe I was either completing my Texas Air National Guard service or working on somebody’s election campaign.