Carl Icahn, noted Wall Street giant and successful investor, spoke at the Drexel University LeBow College of Business commencement ceremony on June 14, 2008.
It couldn’t be more appropriate that his speech focused on what he saw as the main management problem plaguing American business today, and what he felt the new graduates could do about it.
And everything he said is still plenty important today, 5 years later.
In his address, Icahn traced American business’ lack of a competitive edge to a flawed corporate culture. The measure of success these days, he said, is to climb the corporate ladder and to maintain the status quo, not to rock the boat and innovate.
Basically, he said, finding a new way of doing things that might better benefit the company is irrelevant when all that matters is your paycheck and your position in the corporate pecking order.
Essentially, Icahn said that there are two types of businesspeople: those that go with the management flow and those that innovate and challenge. He urged students to be the innovators and to “stand up against the trend.”
Otherwise, Icahn said, “Sooner or later we’re going to be run by morons. We are not far from that now.”
Go check out the video, see what you think and comment below.