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2013年考研阅读精选:江河直下的商科教育

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The race to the bottom

江河直下的商科教育

『商科是美国高校中最轻松的专业,因此,越来越多的人选择进入商学院学习。但由于学校对该专业缺乏科学规范的管理,致使学生们无所事事,教学质量低下,甚至危及该专业的就业前景。』

IN MY day people who wanted an easy1 time at university studied geography or land management. Now, in the United States at least, the soft-option2 of choice is business studies. Business students of various sorts are the most numerous group on American campuses, accounting for 20%, or more than 325,000, of all bachelor degrees. They are also, according to a long article in The Chronicle of Higher Education3, by far4 the idlest5 and most ignorant6.

Business majors spend less time preparing for class than do students in any other broad field: less than 11 hours a week in the case of 7 more than half of them. Not coincidentally8, they also register9 the smallest gains in test scores in their first two years in college. One student, with a respectable 10 3.3 grade-point average, describes his typical day: "I just play sports, maybe go to the gym. Eat. Probably drink a little bit. Just kind of goof around11 all day."

What accounts for1 this educational wasteland2? To some extent it is a matter of self-selection. Many people choose business studies precisely3because they don't have a lot going on upstairs4. And they prefer to spend their time networking5 and looking for jobs rather than, say, grappling with6 Schumpeter's7 ideas about business cycles. But universities also bear some of the blame8. Many universities have treated business studies as a cash cow9: there is lots of demand, business students do not require expensive laboratories, and business academics can supplement their incomes with outside consultancy10. Business studies is also a mish-mash11of subjects, many of them soft and ill-defined12, like leadership and business ethics. It is notable that students who focus on “hard” subjects, such as finance, put in much more work than those who study “leadership” and the like.

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Students also complain about the quality of teaching. Why pay attention in class when all the instructor is doing is regurgitating13 chunks of14 a textbook? And why bother stretching yourself intellectually when the university does not seem to know what you are supposed to be studying (is business studies a branch of economics or psychology, international relations or history?)15

Whatever the explanation, the dismal16 state of business education is beginning to register17 in popular culture, and presumably reduce the job prospects of the people who study it. In “Futurama” 18, Gunther decides to give up studying science, which is too demanding19, and reconcile himself to20 a future as a moderately successful monkey who wears a suit to work. He enrolls in business school. (417 words)

1 easy /5i:zI/ adj.舒适的;安心的;安逸的

2 soft-option n. 容易的选择

3 The Chronicle of Higher Education: 《美国高等教育纪事周报》

4 by far:显然;到达极为明显的程度。如:She is the best by far/She is by far the best. (她显然是最好的。)

5 idle /5aIdl/ adj.(指人)无所事事的;懒散的;懒惰的

6 ignorant /5IgnErEnt/ adj. 没有学识的;无知的

7 in the case of sth:至于;就„„而言。如:The amount of fruit in fruit juices must be 6% in the case of berries and 10% in the case of other fruits. (果汁中水果的数量必须是浆果6%,其他水果10%。)

8 coincidentally/kEU9InsI5dentlI/ adv. 同时发生地;恰巧地

9 register /5redVIstE(r)/ v. 取得(结果);得(分)

10 respectable/rI5spektEbl/ adj. 达到一定标准或规模的;不丢脸的

11 goof around:四处闲逛;消磨时间,如:I was goofing around and broke my arm.(我在四处闲荡时摔折了胳膊。)

12 account for: 是„„的原因;导致;引起

13 wasteland: 荒芜之地;废墟。文中wasteland是指商科学习沉闷单调毫无成就的状况。

14 precisely /prI5saIslI/ adv. 正是;精确地(用作加强语气)

15 don’t have a lot go on upstairs:此处的upstairs意为“大脑”,该句在文中可解释为“脑袋空空,不愿费劲思考与学习”。

16 network /5net9w\:k/ v. 与人在网上交流

17 grapple with (sb/sth):努力设法解决,如:Other towns are still grappling with the problem.(其他城镇还在努力解决这个问题。)

18 Schumpeter: 熊彼得(1883-1950),全名为Schumpeter Joseph Alois,捷克斯洛伐克裔美国经济学家,以其资本主义发展理论著名。

19 bear the blame:承担责任,bear在此处意为“承担;承担”,blame意为“(事故、问题或者坏情况的)责任”。

20 cash cow:现金牛;摇钱树

21 consultancy /kEn5sQltEnsI/ n. 顾问工作;咨询工作

22 mish-mash /5mIFmAF/ n. 混杂;大杂烩

23 ill-defined: 不清楚的;含混的;不明确的

24 regurgitate /rI5g\:dVIteIt/ v. (喻)刻板地重复;依样复述

14 chunks of sth:某物的大部分

15 在学校本身都没有弄清楚你们正在学习的东西时(商科到底是属于经济学、心理学,还是属于国际关系学或者历史学),你何苦费劲动那么多脑子?其中“stretch oneself intellectually”意为“努力学习,开拓思维;用知识武装头脑”

16 dismal /5dIzmEl/ adj.压抑的;沉闷的

17 register /5redVIstE(r)/ v. 显示;表现

18 Futurama: 是一部美国喜剧漫画及动画片,中文译为《飞出个未来》。后文中的Gunther是该片中的一个人物。

19 demanding /dI5mB:ndIN/ adj. (任务)难度大的,要求高的

20 reconcile sb/oneself to sth:(使某人)接受;使顺从于;使甘心于


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