Several years ago I read Peter Robinson's book about his experience in Stanford's MBA program. [It seemed very similar to what I encountered in law school.]
In short, the environment described by Robinson was high-pressured and highly unpleasant. I've posted on this subject before but the questions continue to arise and I'm baffled. What sort of organization abuses its primary customers? What sort of people pay through the nose to be abused? Is there any evidence whatsoever that a grueling experience in graduate school produces a better graduate?
This isn't like the military where the ability to handle significant stress can be crucially important. There is a rationale for the challenge and stress of boot camps.
Perhaps you have a theory on the subject. I can understand the students far more than I can understand the faculty. The students, after all, are after the status and advantages that come with the degree. It is hardly to their credit that they put up with the weirdness, but they have a motive. I believe some of them regard the experience as some sort of intellectual version of Outward Bound.
What, however, explains the conduct of the faculty in such places? Are they trying to keep the students tired and on the defensive? And what sort of graduate do they believe is produced by such environments?
[Note: I recognize that not all graduate programs are hellish. I knew some law profs who were thoroughly decent and kind. The above post relates to institutions where the general culture is abusive. Btw: Read Robinson's book. It's very interesting.]