An assignment criticized as sexist was given to MBA students at the prestigious Rotman School of Management with the approval of the course’s professor, the school says.
The Toronto Star reported Monday that an assignment for a first-year MBA course on capital markets was pulled last week after it was criticized for its portrayal of a clueless female business student seemingly out of a 1950s Archie comic.
The assignment in Professor Kent Womack’s class was written by a teaching assistant but was approved by the professor, Rotman spokesman Ken McGuffin told the Post Monday. He would not provide details on the teaching assistant.
Professor Womack did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The assignment features a female business student named “Elle Forest” who is offered a job with her “favourite company of all time,” jeweller Tiffany & Co., and cannot decide on what compensation package to take. She takes the dilemma to her “Yale-educated boyfriend, Chip” (the most 1950s name on record), who gives her advice, which Elle apparently can barely handle with her eyes open.
“Oh, right. Sorry. I was dreaming of that pair of Louboutins,” she tells Chip, referring to the designer shoes, a theme that comes up several times in the assignment. (She later falls asleep “dreaming of those little blue boxes and beautiful shoes.”)
A student who spoke to the Star on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, said Womack apologized for the assignment but also warned students about speaking to the media.
“The (topic) Wednesday was: this is offensive; this isn’t cool. On Thursday the question was: how does this affect the Rotman brand?” the student said.
The school called the assignment an “ill-advised satire of a pop-culture character” and says it won’t be used again.
First-year MBA students at Rotman pay more than $45,000 in tuition and fees for their initial year in the program.