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ARCHIVE: ORGANIZATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS

“B” Grades in Management, Business, and Finance Education: Respectable, but Not Good Enough

Daniel Munro, Senior Research Associate, Organizational Effectiveness and Learning
October 26, 2009

Canadian business and government leaders give graduates of management, business, and finance (MBF) programs straight “B”s for the skills they possess—but this is a step below the level of excellence they seek in graduates and potential recruits.

The Report Card on Management, Business, and Finance Education in Canada: Are Graduates Ready for Business? gathered the views of more than 50 Canadian leaders in business, government, and non-profit organizations regarding MBF graduates’ skills and readiness to succeed.

In addition to assigning MBF graduates straight “B”s for their skills and readiness to succeed, the leaders feel that, with few exceptions, MBF graduates perform as well, or better, than their peers in non-MBF programs.

Areas for Improvement

However, the leaders who were surveyed and interviewed for the study are looking for graduates with stronger entrepreneurial skills, a greater appetite for innovation, and the management know-how to lead innovation and commercialization of products and services.

Leaders feel that, with few exceptions, MBF graduates perform as well, or better, than their peers in non-MBF programs.

According to the leaders, graduates need to improve:

  • communications skills—80 per cent of leaders agree or strongly agree that improvements are needed;
  • leadership potential—80 per cent agree or strongly agree;
  • analytical and problem-solving skills—57 per cent agree or strongly agree; and
  • entrepreneurial potential—57 per cent agree or strongly agree.

Toward a National Dialogue

While respectable, a “B” is not enough to ensure that Canada will have the managerial talent needed to build and sustain its competitive advantage. Given the critical role of managerial talent in fostering an innovative and competitive economy, a dialogue on how to improve MBF education is an important starting point.

The report was prepared to stimulate discussion at the National Forum on Management—a meeting of management and business school faculty, students, business and government leaders, and other stakeholders from September 29 to October 2, 2009, at HEC Montréal.


Daniel Munro Daniel Munro
Senior Research Associate
Organizational Effectiveness and Learning
Publication
Report Card on Management, Business, and Finance Education in Canada: Are Graduates Ready for Business?

Related Research
How Canada Performs: Education and Skills

Related Network
Quality Network for Universities

Related Video
Michael Bloom’s presentation: Are Graduates Ready for Business? The Role of Management Education in Preparing Managers to Build Canada’s Competitive Advantage (scroll to October 1, 2009)