I started reading management literature as a medical student almost 15 years ago. It’s interesting to look back and see how much of that advice I took as categorically true, relying on the opinion of experts who claimed to know more than a thing or two about management. I fixed my eyes on MBA (somehow I even came across Henley Management College before it became HBS) more than 10 years ago and now I am nearly completing it. As my course has reached an end, I have become more acutely aware of management theory on paper and practice around me.
I also have a growing sense of unease about management theory and practice I learned. There is a lot of good and useful stuff out there with many writers and teachers I respect yet something is missing. I feel what triggers that is my sense of formal management education and theory appear to miss a few important points. And maybe this is not even the job of business schools to give ‘life education’, but I find it is often taken as life education since many people in some way build their lives and shape the lives of others on those theories, dogmas and make-beliefs.
What I learned from management literature and what formal management education equipped me with are how to:
- sustain corporations but not communities,
- create profits but not purpose,
- develop teamwork but not relationships,
- gain information but not wisdom,
- build confidence but not character,
- pursue performance but not productive environments,
- send messages but not meaning.
After two years of doing an MBA I can say it was worth pursuing, but I can also say that MBA only plays a part of management education and is not the management education. Now I need a post-MBA education, perhaps not formal but formative.