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When it comes to building muscle in business leadership, Henry Mintzberg believes no one else can do your push-ups for you. His personal mission is to transform business education by advocating managerial training for experienced executives instead of plunging newly minted undergraduates into MBAs.
The J.E. Cleghorn Chair at the Desautels Faculty of Management has bulked up the business shelves in stores, publishing 13 books and more than 100 articles. With his unapologetic works Managers Not MBAs and Strategy Bites Back, Mintzberg has been shaking up business thought since 1968.
While busy subverting current corporate thought, Mintzberg finds McGill’s deeply rooted scholarly tradition his anchor. “By tradition, I mean McGill has scholarly values. There are pressures on universities to be commercial, instead of what they should be. McGill has managed to sustain itself,” he says. “They do what’s important and people come here for scholarship.”
Mintzberg helped design the International Masters in Practicing Management, which has been running for more than a decade. It provides working executives with new ways of thinking, thanks to a series of international modules that encompass the culture and values of each host country. One executive at a major bank has sent some 16 of his managers through the program: “It changes people more than any other program I’ve seen – ever.”
The next iteration of the program is the International Masters for Health Leadership. “Health care is not failing,” observes Mintzberg. “It’s just our unwillingness to pay for what we want.”
Meanwhile, Mintzberg is casting his view even more globally. He’s working on
an e-newsletter called
Getting Past Smith and Marx, that will argue for what he calls a “very Canadian perspective” – for balance in societal, political and economic forces.