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New MBA course: Outsourcing
MIT offers class in pros and cons of sending U.S. jobs overseas.
March 11, 2004: 2:43 PM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - In another sign of the attention focused on the outsourcing of U.S. jobs, one of the nation's top business schools has started a course on the controversial subject.

The seminar course at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management is fully booked and has become very popular, according to Sloan spokesman Paul Denning.

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The debate on outsourcing, or sending jobs that were once located in the U.S. to countries with cheaper labor costs, has become an increasingly hot topic as the 2004 presidential election approaches.

"The course does not advocate outsourcing, as the future managers in this course could be outsourced themselves," said Dr. Amar Gupta, who teaches the MIT course. "It discusses the pros and cons of outsourcing so managers can make more informed decisions."


Advocates of outsourcing state it's beneficial to the economy in the long run because it makes companies more competitive and encourages overseas firms to bring jobs to the U.S.

Indeed, one topic Gupta said has emerged in the class concerns the notion of increased efficiency for companies that have a 24-hour work schedule.

"With the high speed of PC development, some technology companies, such as Intel, may look to offshore outsourcing as a means to bring technology to market faster," he said.

And he said the challenge of this "24-hour knowledge factory" is "How do we understand what has been done overseas while we were asleep?"

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John F. Kerry

Meanwhile, outsourcing opponents say it removes jobs from the U.S. and is to blame for the lack of job creation.

"Managers have loyalties to the corporation, to shareholders, to employees and to their country," Gupta noted. The priority of these responsibilities often depends on what is going outside the company, he added.

The syllabus lists a number of guest speakers, including an executive from consulting firm Accenture, Indian technology firm Infosys. Others scheduled include former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, a representative from the office of Sen. John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, and speakers from the Communications Workers of America union.  Top of page

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