A Theory of Fraudness

March 4, 2008

You can approximate how fraud an MBA’s job is by looking at which Microsoft Office1 product he2 uses the most.

Excel indicates the least fraudity, because the MBA here is working with real data and numbers, and is close to the truth of a particular situation. These are the consultants who do actual number-crunching, market research junta, and quants (though of course quants will be using cooler stuff than Excel).

Word is more fraud, because it abstracts real information (numbers) into words, but is not quite as fraud. And given that there’s a lot of tacit knowledge floating about in organisations that it not easily converted to numbers, there are chances that the MBA is actually communicating real information when working in Word. As a commercial banker of repute, I am in this position.

PowerPoint is the pinnacle of fraudity. The MBA who works mostly in PowerPoint is doing nothing but converting real information into easily digested bullet points that lose all nuance. These MBAs are usually found in things like internal consulting and sales strategy. They convert the Excel sheets made by people doing real work into PowerPoint presentations made to clueless senior managers who refuse to analyze the data themselves.

1: There are other office suites besides Microsoft Office, but these are MBAs in the corporate world we’re talking about here. We can safely assume that the IT department has bought MS Office.
2: It could be he/ she, but again, this is the real world we’re talking about and in practice male MBAs outnumber female MBAs five to one (and that’s at IIMB). The female MBAs who do exist are of course equal to the males when it comes to putting fraud.