Letter: MBA powerbrokers

January 26, 2001

Philip Augar argues that if business schools developed specialised MBAs for the financial services sector that taught softer as well as technical skills the economy would benefit ("Cash in on MBA talent", THES, January 5).

At least 16 schools already offer specialised MBAs in the area of financial services/banking. In addition, many elective courses in MBA programmes at larger schools focus on financial services.

About 10,200 MBAs graduate each year in the United Kingdom, but specialist MBAs are often available only via full-time study. Given that 4,300 graduate from full-time programmes and only 1,200 are British, Augar may have a valid point.

About 80 per cent of the 5,000-plus graduates from part-time courses receive some form of company sponsorship. This puts sponsoring organisations in a position of influence. Yet few are proactive in seeking dialogue with business schools to optimise the benefit that they receive from their sponsorship.

Perhaps the financial services industry, for example, feels that in a global market the supply of MBAs is sufficient for their needs and that a dialogue is not necessary.

After all, they can also recruit excellent graduates from the often larger, high-quality non-UK schools. A quick fix to this problem is not immediately obvious.

Peter Calladine
Educational services manager
Association of MBAs

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