Has the MBA had its day?

2004

Is an MBA any use in the real world, asks Stefan Stern in the Telegraph, or is it a qualification that has had its day?

The backlash against the MBA is being led, ironically perhaps, by a business school professor, Henry Mintzberg, who teaches at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. This summer he published his latest book, "Managers not MBAs", which contains a sustained attack on the macho US business school MBA - "the wrong qualification being taught to the wrong people at the wrong time".

But as Stern points out, whereas US, graduates tend to head straight for business school after completing their first degree, in the UK and Europe, MBAs are undertaken by much older candidates who have actually run things and taken decisions.

Mike Jones, formerly head of the Association of MBAs and now leading the Foundation for Management Education, has seen the ebb and flow of the MBA market for over 30 years. "Has the MBA had its day?" he asks. "There has definitely been a swing away from it." But Mr Jones feels there is still an urgent need for management education.

"You need to distinguish between the full-time MBA - a one-year course for younger managers, and the so-called Executive MBA, which is a part-time two-year course for experienced managers in their mid-30s," he says. "It's no use sending experienced people on the same course as the youngsters. Really we need to distinguish between the two, perhaps even give them different names.

The Telegraph | Can MBA graduates deliver in the real world?