UK Business School Graduates Carry Unrealistic Job Expectations: MBA News |

UK Business School Graduates Carry Unrealistic Job Expectations: MBA News

By Tim Dhoul

Updated May 11, 2015 Updated May 11, 2015

A new report into UK business schools, produced in partnership between the country’s Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and the Association of Business Schools (ABS), has revealed that an overwhelmingly majority of employers find graduates have unrealistic job expectations and doubt whether they are business-ready.

“80% of UK employers believe business graduates have unrealistic job expectations and are poorly prepared for the workplace,” says the Chartered Management Institute report. Although it looks at all levels of business education in the UK, it continues: “This criticism still applies when graduates are at MBA level,” before concluding that, “employers want business schools to do more to help their graduates to develop a business-ready mindset.”

To halt the unrealistic job expectations and further the principles of leadership excellence, the Chartered Management Institute report recommends that greater attention is paid to experiential learning at all levels of business education – for example, in the form of consulting project-work commonly found at leading UK business schools.

‘21st Century Leaders: Building Practice into the Curriculum to Boost Employability’ is the product of twin surveys carried out by the CMI and ABS. The Chartered Management Institute, a professional body that works to raise standards in management and leadership excellence, surveyed more than 1,000 UK employers. Meanwhile, the ABS drew on the responses of 38 UK business schools in a graduate employability survey. 

Leadership excellence demands stronger links between schools and employers

Another key finding of the report, highlighted by the Times Higher Education, exposes a weakness in the links between employers and schools when revealing that only 17% of respondents looked to UK business schools to hire new managers.

MBAs are largely spared from being too closely scrutinized, with the report highlighting that employers place, “much greater value on candidates having an MBA or master’s when hiring for senior management.”

However, there is clearly room for improvement for UK business schools when it comes to developing leadership excellence. The report calls for greater levels of accessibility and collaboration from the education providers to ensure that programs maximize industry relevance, dispose of unrealistic job expectations and produce the aforementioned business-ready graduates.

There is also a particular appeal for UK business schools to reach out more to SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), after it was found that these employers would be happy to provide students with internship places if they were approached, or knew who to contact.

One bright note in the report was reserved for executive education, after almost 50% of employer respondents said they did look to UK business schools to provide training for existing staff as they looked to develop leadership excellence in-house. You can read more about executive education and the concept of lifelong learning here.

This article was originally published in June 2014 . It was last updated in May 2015

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