In addition, 62.9% of executives don’t have a degree in management or business administration, and more than half of those who do hold a management degree only completed bachelor studies.
The survey was commissioned by the PROSO management portal and conducted by the Panels research institute, which also looked into the effect of degrees in management and business administration in an organization.
As for the effectiveness of a business administration degree on the course of an executive's career, only 5.8% say their management degree has proved useful in their work, and about one-third of those with a management degree believe it has helped them solve real managerial challenges to a great extent.
Some 65.2% of the respondents say the tools they received during their studies helped them to a medium or minor extent or didn't help them at all.
Business degree: Not practical enough
The aforementioned figures and the success of management studies for bachelor and master's degrees, especially in colleges, raise the following question: Why do many students choose to study business administration?
"The colleges are directed at practical studies," explains Ruth Biderman, CEO of the PROSO portal which was behind the study. "But when an executive deals with a managerial issue at the decisive moment, the study shows us that 85.1% turn to intuition, trial and error. Why? Apart from the investment of time and money in studying a degree, wouldn't it have been natural to search for the answers in the studies material? Apparently not.
Is a management degree practical? (Photo: Shuttestock)
"The degrees fail to teach executives the managerial nuances in the real world. They teach them how to control and supervise, but don't prepare them for dealing with emotionally charged conversations, criticism, feedback, parting with an employee, etc."
Is there any connection to the quality of teaching?
"Do university lecturers come from the management field or from the academia? To what extent did that lecturer manage in the past? We must understand that each executive's way of management has three main axes: Self-management, employee management and task management. Practically all academic studies focus on the task axis. Management begins when you are required to deal with all axes on all fronts."
So you're saying a degree in business administration is unnecessary?
"The colleges have strongly shifted to the issue of practical tools. But managers are finding it difficult to translate what they've studied and bring it to their desk. They are looking for more exercise. 'When I studied I didn’t know how to attribute, now that I have to, maybe I'll browse through the material.' So we are asking ourselves what tools will help managers.
"And look at the huge amount of those who don't have a degree. This is an opportunity to note that it's very important to get a degree. It provides tools for thought, widening of horizons, places the manager in a group of peers, provides a higher starting point."
Managers rely on intuition, not education
The most significant finding in the survey, which included 302 managers aged 24 to 50, was that an absolute majority (85.1%) of executives relay mainly on intuition, trial and error or past experience. Therefore, only 22% think a degree is highly practical. Fifty-eight percent gave the practical level a grade of 6 or lower.
In order to help business administration graduates and the community of executives in general, the PROSO portal was developed for practical training of managers through 33 videos of study units and exercise tools.
"Studying is important but the degrees are unsuitable for practical management. Managers need the relevant tools," adds Biderman.
"My main question is why are universities opening programs for executives. If the degree was strong, there would be no need to create a product eating away at this product. The academia is constantly looking for products to provide a practical response. Eventually there is no real response and managers are looking for it elsewhere."