Education Letter: MBA needs degree of learning

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The Independent Online
MBA ASPIRANTS beware! In "High-fliers sign up here" (Education, 3 December), Philip Schofield gives the important, and very true, message that people without a degree can successfully complete MBA programmes. Unfortunately, many people considering doing an MBA have a serious underestimate of the kind of prior learning which is necessary to succeed at MBA level. The MBA is a Masters course - postgraduate by definition, not by promotion - and therefore requires that individuals are capable of thinking and analysing at a sophisticated level. This is possible for non-graduates.

Indeed, undertaking a Diploma in Management Studies is one excellent way of preparing for the MBA. But sheer experience on its own is not enough. Anyone reading the article should realise that they would need to demonstrate, not only that they had experience, but that they can learn at the appropriate intellectual level.

This is why it is very misleading to say that: "There is nothing in an MBA course which requires any prior degree-level learning."

OK, there is no prior subject matter which someone needs to have covered, but there is a level of intellectual analysis which is essential. So, if you want to take an MBA and you haven't got a degree, you need more than the experience - you need to show what you have learnt from it.


Co-ordinator of External Awards and former MBA Course Leader

Department of Management and Professional Development

London Guildhall University