This week’s letters

MBAs give false expectations

May I add to the MBA debate (Features, 25 June)? Comments that the research
behind the article was flawed because it was limited to 20 institutions are

From my own research for my MA, I would suggest some key areas of concern
about MBA courses.

I have seen many MBA graduates embark on their course believing that it will
qualify them for a strategic-level management job. In reality, they find they
have neither the experience nor the skills necessary to operate at that level.

The wisdom of universities recruiting MBA students who do not have relevant
experience and skills has to be questioned. And universities with courses
accredited by the Association of MBAs are just as culpable.

It is bad enough when MBA graduates have to deal with dashed hopes and
expectations when the employer has paid for the course. It is even worse when
students have funded themselves.

Another concern is that employers do not know how to use their MBA graduates
– this is particularly true when they have risen through the ranks. They start
their courses with high expectations only to find out that they are still
losing out to young first-degree graduates straight out of university. It does
not seem to matter that they have good management skills and experience while
the young graduates do not.

No doubt those organisations spending £10m a year on funding MBA students –
who then leave a year later – are the same ones bemoaning the shortage of

Dorothy Wilson
Career Consult

Make more use of top HR talent

In the late 1970s, I completed a DMS while living in South Africa. In the
late 1980s, I completed my MBA when working as an HR director in the UK.

Both the DMS and the MBA were chosen for the same reason – I wanted to
understand business and the contribution each function can make. I carefully
chose my business school – to enable me to study while working – and my
dissertation on management and organisational development.

It was an action-centred MBA programme and now many universities and
business schools run them. I cannot stress enough that HR managers have to
carefully select the course and provider.

After more than 20 years in HR as a manager and independent consultant, I
believe that many line managers do not make full use of HR. In too many organisations
HR continues to be used for the tasks that line managers shy away from, and not
much else.

If this happens the blame may be shared between the HR manager, who has not
been able to make the necessary impact, and the CEO, who has failed to demonstrate
their commitment to people and development.

Michael Mead
Head of HR, Ray Marine

Permission to leave now, sir?

Many of you may not have seen the draft forms included with the Government’s
consultation paper Work and Parents: Competitiveness and Choice.

What really grabbed my attention was the form that needs to be signed for
parental leave – which has three declarations – each of which lead to some
interesting questions of definition.

These are as follows:

– ‘I am in an enduring family relationship with the mother.’ Does this mean:
‘my wardrobe is there this week’, ‘I have a key to the house’, or ‘she won’t
let me out without a chaperone’?

– ‘I will be responsible for the child’s upbringing.’ Does this mean: ‘until
he or she is weaned’, ‘until he or she goes to school’, ‘until he or she
finishes school’, or ‘for life’?

– "I will be taking time off to support the child’s mother or care for
the child’. Does this mean: ‘the child will be dropped-off at the child-minder
while the mother and I have a wonderful time’?

When you consider all the possible meanings, is the declaration going to be
worth the paper on which it is signed?

Michael Hibbs
Head of employment law, Shakespeares

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