Is Writing Well the Best Reward?

Last Updated Feb 20, 2008 8:29 PM EST

Our classes for the third session began last week. Over the next six weeks, I have a 15-page paper, essay exam, weekly econ chapter assessments, a couple essays, and a memo to look forward to. Last session, we had two papers, two essay exams, and those weekly econ assignments. Oh, and there's that two-page "reaction" paper we have to write after each Saturday class.

I've written more in the past four months than I have in the past four years -- papers and essay exams and memos. Of course, I'm OK with that. It's an inherent part of my chosen profession, and there are a lot more gray areas in an essay than a formula. I've always been a decent writer, and I know it's helped me in the grades department.

Then I remember that I'm in business school.

My husband, who works for a bank, is not nearly as happy with the writing-heavy setup. (And don't get him started on the amount of reading.) He's as comfortable with numbers as I am with words. With a finance degree, you'd also think he was a more stereotypical MBA student.

Now, even though I'm happy to use any advantage I can get, I can't help but wonder if he has a point. There is a lot of writing. And looking around at the business people I know in the "real world," they just don't seem to be doing the same amount of writing as our curriculum would have us believe necessary.

A couple months ago, I was whining about having to write a paper to one of my coworkers, and she told me that she had always heard English majors made the best MBA and law students. Given our curriculum, it definitely makes sense. (And all this time, I was worried because I had a journalism and English background!)

In our e-mailing and texting and IMing society, language is in a constant state of flux. I admit it: I'm the stereotypical "wordie," bemoaning the distilling of the written word into a mash-up of letters, numerals, and symbols.

But as much as I hate it, I also can't deny that language is fluid and constantly changing -- and adapting to those changes as well as understanding the users of the new changes is increasingly important.

So, while all these writing assignments are helping my GPA's bottom line, I don't know if they're helping anything else. What do you think?

Do you think an MBA program should emphasize writing this much, or is it missing the boat? What role does writing play in your current job? If you're in school, are writing assignments a help or a hindrance to your grade?