Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Jamie McCourt Could Teach Her Husband a Thing or Two

And not just on the topic of leadership; how about skillful management of public relations?

Today's Financial Times had a nice piece on how Dodger President Jamie McCourt created and teaches a UCLA Anderson School MBA course on the pursuit of leadership from a female perspective. While Frank focuses on getting his picture in press opportunities that are supposed to be focused on team additions (see dodgers.com galleries on Kuroda, Andruw, Torre), Jamie has focused on making some substantive and meaningful contributions to the community:

Ms McCourt says she designed the class to help young women understand and appreciate that their “voices matter”. “I feel like there are a lot of voices that need to be counted,” she says. “There’s a tendency [among women] to defer a lot and I wanted this class to be a reminder to women themselves that they can make a difference.”

Ms McCourt had long wanted to teach a graduate level course on leadership for women. A few years ago, she became serious about the idea: she read all the current literature, attended seminars and conferences, wrote a syllabus and brought it to Anderson’s dean. By the following winter, she was on the faculty.

The seminar-style course includes units on how female stereotypes have evolved, how women communicate in the office and examines ways in which US businesses might stem the female brain drain. It also includes units on female entrepreneurs, female sports executives and female politicians.

In addition, Ms McCourt brings in guest speakers in different fields and industries. Past speakers have included Gloria Steinem, the noted feminist writer, Sherry Lansing, former chairman and chief executive of Paramount, as well as film producers and local politicians.

“These guests talk about decision points in their lives, what propelled them, what held them back, and what they wished they’d done differently,” says Ms McCourt. “It becomes a very personal class. The rule of the day is: what’s said here, stays here.”

Kudos to Jamie and the Dodgers. Unlike Jamie (MBA from Sloan/MIT), it doesn't appear that Frank has an MBA...perhaps he can take notes (literally)?


Rob said...

1) Jamie McCourt strikes me as the embodiment of the idea that an MBA is a useless certificate. What, specifically, has she done to make the Dodgers better? I can't think of a thing.
2) Sure, she's an executive with the Dodgers (and IIRC the highest-positioned woman in baseball), but she married into that job. There are any number of people who will tell you that is unfair to bring up, but it is still a fact.

In short, I have absolutely no idea where she gets off telling others how to run a business of any kind, especially considering her track record.

Steve Sax said...


1) Consider the alternative, though. Even if you can't think of anything Jamie has done to make the Dodgers better (lipstick giveaways notwithstanding), at least she hasn't made the Dodgers worse (parking lot fiascos, front office revolving doors, coaching staff trap doors, nepotism, lack of accountability, etc.).

2) The staff of this fine blog includes no fewer than two MBAs (though none from UCLA/Anderson), so go easy....

Rob said...

1) What alternative? One of the assorted McCourt fils?
2) Please to note I'm not saying an MBA is intrinsically worthless, but Scott Adams (via his "Dilbert" comic strip) daily makes a case that there is indeed a large class of individuals for which it is true. I tend to think Jamie McCourt=PHB.

Steve Sax said...

Upon further review, Rob, you've convinced us. We're forsaking all our MBA degrees. No pointy hair around SoSG (in some cases, no hair at all...)