Why is Alice in Wonderland the most-cited work of literature in an MBA program?
In maybe 30% of my classes, professors love referencing some entirely nondescript, strategic-sounding metaphor like the Red Queen’s “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place” to make the utterly un-profound point that you’ve always got to move in business or risk standing still.
In re-reading it last weekend, there are much better metaphors for educational institutions. Perhaps the best comes at the very beginning — when the story does not even appear to have begun.
A tiny white rabbit leads Alice blindly down a bottomless hole in the earth, projecting a sense of urgency (“Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!”) as she mutters along. Alice follows the tiny rabbit all the way down, falling such a distance she nearly falls asleep mid-air. When she finally hits ground, she wanders about an unfamiliar hallway with limitless doors, finding all of them locked.
At the story’s end, she wakes up from her dream, lying peacefully in her sister’s arms — exactly where she started.
Who defines your path, really?