Why don’t UK employers value MBAs?

MBAs are critical to getting ahead in business. Perhaps not in the UK. The question posed by our client was a) why not and b) what can they do about it?

What we discovered surprised us – there is such a big perceptual and knowledge gap between UK employers and the business schools that we got them together in a workshop to push the research project further and develop a road map for tackling the problems we identified, which is now being further developed.

We interviewed HR directors and recruiters in FTSE 100 companies, in tech start-ups and in the Civil Service. We quickly identified that an MBA qualification is rarely explicitly asked for – even when hiring for FTSE 100 management teams. That’s not to say that these organisations don’t want highly qualified leadership candidates, they do. They don’t recognise the MBA degree as a shorthand for these skills. Many of the recruiters we spoke to did not know what a modern MBA delivered and so don’t prioritise (or compensate!) a Masters in business.

So we are in a Catch 22: an MBA is not necessarily a must-have so people are less likely to invest in getting one. Will Brexit change the way we think about this? Good question.