Idiots with MBA degrees

I could devote a whole blog to idiots in suits, also known as MBAs, but it would take away from the generally optimistic world view I have and try to share on this blog.

However, I just couldn’t resist this one, from Time magazine: Belgium’s looming beer crisis.

Just a teaser… Clearly 14th. century monks were more capable of running a business than today’s idiots in suits:

“InBev can trace its brewing roots back to 1366 … It has expanded rapidly following a series of rapacious mergers and acquisitions in recent years, most notably its takeover of Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch in 2008 — after which InBev became AB InBev. But that move also saddled the company with huge debts, which it is still struggling to pay off. …”

And if you can stomach reading through to the end, here’s what the people who gave you the financial crisis, Government Motors and $400 Amazon stock plan for Belgian beer:

“AB InBev is thinking on a bigger scale and wants to go for volume rather than quality,” he says. In other words, AB InBev is focusing on a grand strategy, which means that what happens in Belgium now is small beer.”

Belgium is of course my home country, so this one hits close to home. There’s also a Latin American connection in that AB Inbev is largely controlled by Brazilian investment bankers, stemming from one of the mergers that made the company what it is today.

Excuse the French, but if some people can screw up a wet dream, I guess even screwing up Belgian beer is possible for idiots in suits.

Go read the full article at Time.

4 thoughts on “Idiots with MBA degrees

  1. I worked for AB for 2 years and, despite the company’s relatively flavorless portfolio compared to European tastes, many of the AB middle managers I knew despised InBev management before being bought out because they were closing historic breweries.

    However, I believe AB, the world’s largest brewer less than ten years ago, was eventually bought out by this consortium of small brands precisely because they valued tradition over economics. In my time there, I saw beers steal significant sales from competitors for tiny price discounts (elastic demand). In an industry moving toward commoditization, costs matter most.

  2. I understand that the average middle manager working in a multi-national has a life and a family, and their priorities are to maintain a nice career path. The only way to accomplish that is to walk the company line, play the corporate culture, whether you like it or not. This is why Dilbert cartoons have survived for so long.

    So my dislike for MBAs isn’t on a personal level, but more with our corporate culture in its entirety.

    For example, you say “…in an industry moving toward commoditization…” That’s a perfect example of how business interests sometimes run counter to society’s. I’d rather find a good Belgian beer every once in a while than find average Belgian beer on every grocery store shelf. The “Stella” that you can buy everywhere now doesn’t taste anything like the original.

    And how’s Columbian beer by the way?

  3. Flavor and quality will always win…unless you market to people who just want alchohol that sort of tastes like Beer.
    MBA…sadly every one I have seen in action had pissed away good old common sense, and were afraid of the telephone.
    They were capable of destroying perfectly healthy companies. Study the SMED Manufacting deal. Hayworth took over, and promptly drove it into the ground.
    MBA = Common Sense has “left the building”.

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