March 8th 2005 MGMT 101

It’s that time of the semester again—time for all the MGMT 101 (Business Management 101) students to send out surveys asking all the Bucknell students their preferences on certain projects. Mostly these involve questionnaires about t-shirts that cost between $13 and $17. That’s one thing I don’t understand about the MGMT 101 students: why don’t they sell something cheap? If I had a MGMT 101 company, I’d sell something like keychains or Frisbees. Sure, the profit margins are undoubtedly a lot smaller than that of t-shirts, but I bet I could sell a lot more keychains or Frisbees. I mean, who wouldn’t buy a keychain for $1 or a Frisbee for $3 or $4? You’d probably buy one just to get the vendors to shut up! I think it would be a great experiment to see if a company selling keychains could outsell (in terms of gross profits) a company selling t-shirts.

But the biggest thing I don’t understand is why none of the MGMT 101 companies do what most American managers do: outsource. If I ran a MGMT 101 company, I’d use my company’s allotted funds to just subcontract all the work to someone else, and then I’d manage the project. That’s what managers do, right—subcontract and then manage. That’s what MGMT 101 students are going to do for the rest of their lives, so they might as well start learning to do it now. We’re America, damn it; we don’t actually do anything, we subcontract all our work out to Singapore, India, and China. These future business leaders need to start practicing that job soon. You don’t want to make them manager of a company and expect them to actually have to do the creative work, or the grunt work, right? Heck no! Teach them to outsource the creative portion to another company, and subcontract the labor to another one, too.

A perfect example of an opportunity to outsource labor is in a MGMT 101 company that contacted me to help build their survey website. I ended up showing them how to use ASP and SQL to insert data into a Microsoft Access database. That took a lot of time and energy, as I had to teach them, and they had to build the site from scratch. How much easier would it have been if they had subcontracted me to build the site and database for them? They could’ve listed me as an “independent contractor” and paid me meager wages with no benefits. What better way to get the job done? Instead they expended a lot of time and effort to do the job themselves. What a waste! That’s not how we do things in America.

Better yet, the more productive students (in terms of getting subcontractors to do their work) should spin the less productive students off into a subsidiary, then figure out ways to store their money in offshore accounts in order to avoid US taxes. That’s the future of business right there. Why make the students do something they’re never actually going to do as a manager in real life—namely, actual work? Teach them something useful, like outsourcing and tax evasion. That’s how they’ll get ahead in the business world.