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Making Global MBAs

The Culture of Business and the Business of Culture (California Series in Public Anthropology #47)

Andrew Orta


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Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (10/1/2019)


A generation of aspiring business managers has been taught to see a world of difference as a world of opportunity. In Making Global MBAs, Andrew Orta examines the culture of contemporary business education, and the ways MBA programs participate in the production of global capitalism through the education of the business subjects who will be managing it.
Based on extensive field research in several leading US business schools, this groundbreaking ethnography exposes what the culture of MBA training says about contemporary understandings of capitalism in the context of globalization. Orta details the rituals of MBA life and the ways MBA curricula cultivate both habits of fast-paced technical competence and “softer” qualities and talents thought to be essential to unlocking the value of international cultural difference while managing its risks. Making Global MBAs provides an essential critique of neoliberal thinking for students and professionals in a wide variety of fields.

Praise For Making Global MBAs: The Culture of Business and the Business of Culture (California Series in Public Anthropology #47)

"Orta does a service in offering this contextual overview of the MBA as a construct that has provided the essential building blocks and managerial class to help create and advance global business and culture. In essence, Orta posits that global business managers are schooled to employ a cultural lens that helps them transform local variables into global business opportunities. These opportunities create a global business culture that interacts with local culture and coexists with the neoliberal political culture that both manages risk and unlocks opportunities. In terms of both education and implementation, this is a sweeping vision that sees the MBA as underpinning the current era of globalization and business development. . . . Recommended."


"Orta brings a particular expertise to the analysis of cultures, honed in earlier ethnographic studies of relations between Catholic missionaries and the indigenous Aymara communities of the Bolivian highlands. He notably delves into the growth in “international business” teaching on MBA courses, transmitted through case studies and short-term study assignments abroad."

— Financial Times

"A fascinating cultural portrait of future middle and senior managers as key players in global business. . . . The book will be a valuable reference to anthropologists interested in education and business culture."

— Anthropology Book Forum

University of California Press, 9780520325401, 256pp.

Publication Date: October 1, 2019

About the Author

Andrew Orta is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Catechizing Culture: Missionaries, Aymara, and the “New Evangelization.”