Submission from the Association of MBAs
1. This submission is made on behalf of
the Association of MBAs (AMBA) which is a UK charity which was
established in 1967 and has the prime objective of promoting graduate
business education. The Association's accreditation service is
internationally recognised as the global standard for all MBA,
DBA and MBM programmes and, for instance, now accredits MBA programmes
at 142 business schools in 67 countries worldwide, including over
forty in the UK. AMBA also offers the only professional membership
association for MBA students and graduates.
2. Management has been identified by government
as key to the future prosperity of the United Kingdom, eg by its
endorsement of the report by the Council on Excellence in Management
and Leadership. Similarly the previous Education and Skills Committee's
report on Post-16 Skills highlighted how a stronger focus is needed
on developing management skills per sean area identified
as particularly weak in the UK and largely neglected to date in
policy (Volume 1, paragraph 8).
3. The recommendations in the Leitch Report
and the Government's Leitch implementation plan "World Class
Skills" called for a much greater focus on higher-level "economically
valuable skills". The Leitch Report recognised the high levels
of demand for management skills and the growing evidence base
demonstrating the strong links between the impact of management
skills and increased national competitiveness. The Leitch Report
suggested that up to 20% of that gap is now attributed to skills
provision and up to 15% to management practices.
4. At the Universities UK inaugural annual
lecture given by Richard Lambert, Director-General of the CBI,
on 11 December he observed that it is a natural career progression
for individuals to take management as a second degree at postgraduate
5. Management is indeed a well established
subject for study by specialists of many different sorts who wish
to advance their careers by taking up senior management responsibilities.
This is of considerable advantage not merely for the individuals
concerned but for the wider UK economy. Excellent management skills,
as facilitated by a quality MBA or other management education,
are crucial for enabling the optimal deployment of resources for
the greater economic benefit and welfare of the UK.
6. It is therefore in the public interest
case to help well qualified graduates to attain high level management
education as contributors to the UK's competitiveness. We should
be encouraging engineers, scientists, medical practitioners, educationalists
and others at a later stage in their careers as they move into
managerial roles to undertake management education, including
an MBA, after a specialist masters or PhD education. The proposed
change will have the opposite effect.
7. These policy proposals do not appear
to recognise that management is often a secondary discipline that
experienced employees will study on a part-time basis, at an equivalent
level to their initial specialist subject area, having been promoted
into a position where they take on new management responsibilities.
It is an established route of career progression for individuals
to take a management degree as a second degree, at both undergraduate
and postgraduate levels. In many cases employers are already providing
support in terms of granting time off for study leave rather than
by direct funding.
8. The proposals will have a disproportionate
impact on those hoping to undertake these part-time management
studies, which are the majority of MBA students. The HEFCE modeling
of the withdrawal of funding for ELQs by subject, mode and level
clearly demonstrates the impact on management qualifications.
Table 1 of this modeling shows that of the overall 52,504 students
to be negatively affected by the proposed changes, 9,776 (19%)
will be those studying business and administration. The more detailed
breakdown by level indicates that of the 9,776, the majority of
those affected will be those studying on a part-time basis (7,211
students). This is a disproportionate number compared to any other
9. Baroness Sharp stated in the House of
Lords: "It hits disproportionately precisely those institutionsuniversities
and FE collegeswhich have been doing most to widen participation
and encourage those who have traditionally not gone into higher
education to do so. It is not just Birkbeck and the Open University,
but the likes of the London South Bank University, Westminster,
Anglia Ruskin University, Barking College and Lewisham College."
10. The quantum of money involved for some
schools is such that it may have a serious effect not only on
the students directly affected but also on the total provision
by that school. It is of particular concern that many of the institutions
who have done the most to widen participation to those already
in the workplace in terms of part-time courses are likely to be
hit hardest by the ELQ funding reforms.