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It's A Funny Business

What If Business School Reflected Reality?

by Dee Power And Brian Hill

September was back to school month, and many of us both saw our kids off to school and remembered what it was like when that was us heading off to classes. It's enough to make one think: "What if business school reflected reality?" As topical in sweeping as they are for most any other small business-based industry, below are some courses that the authors believe should be considered mandatory for anyone preparing to run their own business.

Management 501 – The Theory and Practice of Obnoxious People.

Learn the personality types to watch out for when you take a new job – The Blowhard, the Backstabber, the Lech and the Liar. Study effective coping strategies that, for the most part, do not involve bloodshed.

Macroeconomics 2004 – Taking Credit for An Improving Economy.

Analyze the advanced techniques by incumbents to make certain the national economy peaks in time for the November elections. How fiscal and monetary policy are used to moderate the business cycle. And learn how pigs fly.

Accounting 501 – Tax Camp For Freshman.

Students visit lovely Camp Ficafuta where they have an immersive two-week experience in learning how to fill out the 250 or so tax forms now required of all small businesses.

Management 123 – Coping With the Clueless.

Learn to work cooperatively with mentally challenges colleagues. How to conduct an entire conversation with one syllable words. Recognize the signs of eyes glazing over in a meeting. How to communicate with hand signals when necessary. Finding out that you don't need orange hair and floppy shoes to be a Bozo.

Marketing Lab 101 – The Theory and Practice of Being Rejected in Sales.

Eager young sales trainees are plunged into the world of cold calling. The lab meets from 2:00-4:00 each Thursday, or until half the class in tears. Students are required to bring Prozac and at least one change of underwear. This is well known as the toughest elective class available.

Management 8:45: Fundamentals of Overtime.

Dr. S. Legree. Students learn how to apologize to their spouse for missing dinner four nights in a row. How to concentrate on their computer while the night crew is running the vacuum (instead of the vacuum sweepers, which are in the parking lot because the parts didn't come in from the supplier). How to determine which convenience stores are safe to shop at after midnight, let alone sweep as a one-person operator.

Business Law 101 – Lawyers are People, Too.

Aspiring entrepreneurs learn the subtle differences between a $200 an hour lawyer and a $500 one. Why female attorneys don't wear make-up. The meaning of the secret handshake your lawyer gives the opposing one before a meeting. Why your lawyer's office is always nicer than yours.

Real Estate 501 – Obtaining a Bank Loan to Start Your Business.

This is taught by the real estate department because if you don't put up your house as collateral, you ain't getting no loan, period.

Finance 666 – How to Approach a Venture Capitalist.

Business owner wannabees learn the art of receiving out large numbers of form letter rejections from friends and family they've hit up for a business loan. Includes methods of recycling old, unread business plans into festive holiday packing material. Choosing an answering machine complex enough that makes it seem like your home-based business is actually in a business park somewhere.

Finance 50210 – The Art of Appearing Rich on a Limited Budget.

How to lease a Lexus one evening at a time. Shopping the Stafford College at J.C. Penney. Painting platinum enamel over your starter American Express Card. Transferring balances from card to card so suppliers think you actually have cash flow.

Finance 459 – Fantasy Financial Forecasting.

Baby budgeters learn the similarities between a planning session and a Mad Hatter's Tea Party. How choosing a fancy spreadsheet software program with ability to insert your logo can add credibility to even the most ridiculous numbers. Why the hockey stick approach nearly always works. And, last but not least, why investors all consider startup business plans to be works of fiction.

About the Authors: Dee Power and Brian Hill are the authors of several business books and the novel "Over Time" Money, Love and Football: All the Important Things in Life, ISBN: 0974075418. Subscribe to their newsletter. Send an email to ccnewsletterand#64; with subscribe as the subject. Their website is

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