Henry Mintzberg (2004, p. 9), in his plea for business experience to precede management education, said, “trying to teach management to someone who has never managed is like trying to teach psychology to someone who has never met another human being. ” Submit a paper to discuss whether this is a reasonable description.?? Reference: Mintzberg, H. (2004), Managers Not MBAs: A Hard Look at the Soft Practice of Managing and Management Development, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Many times we can read in the business literature that the leader or the manager is someone who can be constructed during the learning process.
Making of the manager is a subject of numerous articles giving the faith to the people who want to take on management as their main job. But is it really so? In most cases the process of constructing the manager starts at the business schools. The theories are discussed, case studies are resolved with optimum scenarios but it does not mean that the graduates are the ready managers. Mintzberg is giving the examples of the reasons why people want to achieve MBA – there is almost no mention of the management.
In most cases MBA is a meaning of getting out of management than getting into it. It is a way of getting high positions or starting up own businesses but not the way to manage better or be the manager . In my opinion the management is all about accepting the responsibility but in business schools there is not much mention about it . In many cases the MBA is a way to accept high position with a high salary but not the responsibility as the last financial crises proved . Managing is so closely related to life , to the context of the job and the company .
It constitutes a separate , ever changing universe which can be in most cases hard to describe not to mention taught . For the management students it is difficult to imagine the real context of the issues , the real people with their real characters , complicated interpersonal connections and finally complexity of the business operation itself . The real skills and real knowledge of how to use the skills are formulated on the job. Henry Mintzberg in “Managers not MBAs” shows the example of the “guest manager “ who is hard to imagine by the people who are managers on the job.
Such “guest manager” is not able to manage anything and his ability to do so will be developed ( if he is lucky ) based on the experienced gained during his work course . MBA graduates are at the beginning stage some kind of “guest managers “ who will acquire the necessary knowledge and skills on the job . So Mintzberg’s question is : is it worth to teach them in such a way that in any case they have to spend significant period of time for learning in practice . In theory they can survive but they have no chance faced with real life situations.
Mintzberg’s questions about the model of making the managers of people who never managed are quite controversial and pending . In my understanding he claims business schools produce consultants and analytics but not managers . There are so many examples of graduates who cannot really manage and managers trained on the job without the academic background who can tackle the issues effectively and with excellent results . Therefore the work experience which is called off by Mintzberg should constitute the basis for the development and training given by the business schools .
So should the biz schools be closed and reformed to some post graduate courses only ? In my opinion definitely not , biz schools create the basis for excellent employees not only in managerial area but in some other high valued positions . MBA’s have good the strong knowledge base for further development which in my opinion is much easier with such background, Ability of connecting the everyday business issues with a broad perspective of modern economy and understanding of such issues is a great advantage to the graduates .