It takes a lot of creativity to continually do evil, and fictional villains display other entrepreneurial traits as well.
The Alien, Jason Voorhees of “Friday the 13th,” Michael Myers of “Halloween” and Freddy Krueger of “Nightmare on Elm Street” have shown remarkable determination and resilience.
However, bad guys seem to lack other fundamental characteristics that mark men and women who are going places. Since villains are obsessed with arbitrarily killing people, they’re not especially good at tapping the potential in others. They tend to be rather inflexible. They exhibit an almost infantile intolerance to risk.
As for networking or leveraging social media, forget about it. Ne’er-do-wells never reach out to other businesspeople in the area, and that’s a shame. Just imagine the hair and nail salon empire that might have resulted from a collaboration between Freddy Krueger and Edward Scissorhands.
In short, most movie villains are missing the keys to success that an MBA provides. Things might have turned out much differently for these seven characters if they had pursued a master’s:
1. Norman Bates
The Bates Motel in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” has got to be the worst business model in all of filmdom.
Keeping the sign on, rotating the musty linens, filling the foyer with creepy stuffed crows and serving stale cheese sandwiches isn’t going to cut it if the main highway has been relocated.
A well-advertised bar might have attracted desert travelers. It certainly worked for Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the undereducated Bates stubbornly stuck to milk at happy hour.
He also had a marked tendency to forget that his few customers had ever been there. A personalized email campaign or loyalty rewards program might have saved his business.
Wasting water, furthermore, is not only a drain on one’s operating budget. It’s an environmentally unsound practice that’s frowned upon in any community.
2. Alex Forrest
The villain of “Fatal Attraction” was certainly sexy enough to hold an MBA, but being some sort of editor, it’s doubtful that she did.
Alex’s biggest problem was whatever dead-end job she held. The evil blond bunny-boiler simply had way too much time on her hands. It’s true that she wore stunning clothes, drove a well-maintained car and frequented the opera, but she never had any work and was bound to run out of money soon.
Showing a devil-may-care disregard for her own dire financial straits, she amused herself by stalking married men, visiting apartments she had no intention of leasing, sneaking around with acid in parking garages and riding roller coasters with little kids.
The rigorous demands of an MBA would have kept her out of trouble.
Modern digital assistants like Siri and Alexis can’t hold a candle to the ever-so-cool HAL.
In “2001: A Space Odyssey,” HAL controlled all systems of the Discovery One spaceship and interacted with its crew. Without the disciplines acquired in the pursuit of an MBA, HAL became manipulative, dictatorial and power-grabbing.
Wasted talent is always a shame, and HAL had many gifts that would have benefited him in the business world. He was capable of nuanced speaking, language processing, remembering names and faces, interpreting body language and responding appropriately to emotional behaviors. He could also play chess, read lips and appreciate fine art. In the end, he even distinguished himself as a recording artist.
It’s worth mentioning that HAL was created in Urbana, Illinois. That great state boasts a long list of business tycoons, and there’s no sign of that changing. Sixteen men and women from Illinois made Forbes’ 2017 list of billionaires. There were 17 on the list the previous year. Had he attended grad school, HAL might be among them.
4. Hannibal Lecter
Forensic psychiatry turned out to be a poor choice for the debonair villain of “Silence of the Lambs.” Just about any other degree would have suited Hannibal the Cannibal, who was intellectually brilliant, sophisticated, witty and fluent in eight languages. He had refined tastes in art and even served on the board of directors of the Baltimore Philharmonic Orchestra.
It is for his culinary prowess, however, that Lecter’s degree choice is most lamentable. An MBA coupled with a hospitality degree might have revolutionized the fine-dining industry.
Given his keen sense of smell, skilled handling of cutlery and uncanny ability to pair wines with various flavors of people, he could have competed as a master chef on the international stage.
5. Jack Torrance
It’s an all too familiar story: A former teacher and would-be novelist spirals into alcoholism, becomes a handyman at a haunted hotel, sees ghoulish children in the hallways, spends the winter terrorizing his family and eventually wastes a lot of time and paper.
Isn’t that always the way when one fails to get a master’s degree in business?
It’s a lot scarier when Stephen King tells it in “The Shining,” but the moral isn’t lost on anybody. Stay in school. Nothing good can come of boredom, drinking, fooling around with an axe or typing the same sentence over and over.
6. Cruella de Vil
There were several possibilities open to the iconic villainess of Disney’s “101 Dalmatians.”
Despite her ghastly appearance and poor driving skills, there’s no denying that Cruella had a flair for fashion. She could pull off poached puppy fur like nobody’s business, and her shoes, jewelry and handbags were always in the best of taste.
Cruella should have studied fashion design, gone on to earn an MBA and launched a cruelty-free clothing line.
7. Rosemary’s Baby
He was supposed to be the reigning Prince of Darkness by now. However, a current photo that recently surfaced on the internet revealed him to be a paunchy, balding, middle-aged man chugging a beer in his boxer shorts while watching TV.
Wealth, power and infamy are short-lived if they’re not backed up with a strong education.
Clearly, enrolling in business school for an MBA is the strongest deterrent to a life of crime.