Loose MBA requirements can mean loss of learning
The plethora of MBA courses on offer these days is good news to many. They provide choices that meet the needs of people at different stages of their careers or lives.
But have you seen ads that exempt the usual requirement of a bachelor's degree?
I was astounded when I saw such an advert on the internet the other day. It was for an MBA in a leadership and sustainability programme, offered outside Hong Kong.
The website does list as an admission requirement 'an appropriate professional qualification and eight to 10 years of suitable business-related experience and a letter of recommendation verifying that the applicant has the necessary ability and motivation to complete the programme within the allotted time span' in the absence of a degree, or 'a substantial period of suitable business experience, a letter of recommendation verifying that the applicant has the necessary ability and motivation to complete the programme within the allotted time span and successful completion of module MNGT7901 (Organisational Behaviour) or equivalent.'
Such general requirements can be subject to any sort of interpretation or discretion. It may be encouraging to business people who, for one reason or another, skipped a university education. But loose requirements are always something applicants should be careful with. They raise questions about the degree of vetting of the curriculum and of the institution's commitment to providing quality training. Some competitive programmes even ask for a strong bachelor's degree.
The advert also brought to mind a question a legal professional once asked me on whether any MBA courses could be completed without much effort.
As much as an MBA is a coveted qualification for many, aspiring professionals should be wary of falling into the trap of finding an easy route to get it. At least, the MBA course I mentioned requires non-English-speaking students to have a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or a minimum TOEFL score of 600. Getting an IELTS of 6.5 is not beyond many university students but at least a benchmark is set.
The setting of reasonable if not stringent benchmarks is necessary to ensure students of the right calibre are attracted. Imagine being in the company of those with their eyes on gaining a degree with the least input in the shortest time? Would entrepreneurs driven by the pursuit of quick gains make successful business leaders?
Linda Yeung is the Post's Education Editor, a veteran journalist who studied in Hong Kong and abroad