As a former dean of a United States business school it is disheartening to learn that British companies are starting down a path once trodden and now largely abandoned as ineffective and inefficient by their American counterparts: the corporate MBA.
You rightly point out the pitfalls of a narrowly-based programme (THES, March 21) that indoctrinates as much as it educates. In a world where employees are increasingly likely to work for several employers during their lifetimes, a broader education in the presence of colleagues from different places and backgrounds will better serve the interests of students, and ultimately the companies where they work.
A sounder approach involves cooperation between companies and business schools in the strengthening of MBA programmes. Broadly-based courses can be salted with specially designed elective modules that meet the needs of particular employers. Short courses designed for individual companies and in-house training can address more focused topics specific to a single firm. In this way, the broader educational perspectives and communications skills that are lauded so highly can be combined most usefully with the more focused requirements of a particular firm. The combination will be more effective and more efficient for universities and business.
Walter McCann President, The American International University in London