In 2004, Dr. Henry Mintzberg of the McGill University MBA program
authored a book that critiqued the MBA training not only at McGill, but,
worldwide. He stated that he believed that the traditional MBA business
education distorted managerial practice, which extended to real
management itself, that he called no less eponymy than a “mismanagement
crisis”. Further, he felt such MBA training had “dysfunctional
consequences in society.”

About that time, Bill Caswell, a coach of CEOs globally, wrote two papers
addressing his shared concerns on the ‘mismanagement’ issue. A few MBA
graduates who passed through Bill’s hands by either receiving his coaching or by
participating in various seminars delivered by CCCC, also critiqued their own
MBA training, sometimes rather harshly. The students’ comments included
phrases such as: “Your seminar answered questions that none of my (MBA)
profs could answer – and very simply too.” “Finally, a course that puts my MBA
in perspective.”

Almost a decade later, in 2013, CCCC put the totality of its seminars, articles,
lectures and books to the test by presenting “The Practical MBA” program.

The course was designed with busy executives in mind, removing some of the
impractical traditional educational requirements around issues of timing,
homework, exams, limited class size, videos to catch missed lectures, etc.

What would such a program entail for the students – all hopelessly busy
managers? Were they willing to risk their very precious time and not a small
amount of money to obtain an education with no recognition anywhere beyond
this classroom? If nothing else, did that not speak of the desperation of the
Mintzberg’s ‘management crisis’ – the practical vs. the impractical?

Delivered to nine seasoned executives in Ottawa, London ON and Brooks AB,
the sessions aligned themselves with the themes of the 12 CCCC management
books (The Respect Revolution). During the three months of sessions,
commonality was found among the businesses as diverse as electronics
manufacturing, steel distribution, healthcare, stairwell assembly, funeral care and
management consulting itself.

How would it work out? Who could tell in advance?

The result, fortunately, was a unanimously enthusiastic endorsement at the
conclusion of the course by all 9 participants. A tight bond was characterized at
the small graduation ceremony at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa by the
obvious closeness among the students and the teaching body. Proud family
members traveled from across Canada to celebrate this ‘inconsequential’
achievement. Its success was further exemplified by the meaningful
pronouncements by each student from the podium upon receiving their awards1.

1 Details available upon request from CCCC.

As well, a voluntary statement, initiated by the students, defining their view of
the PMBA, resulted in each completing the phrase: “the PMBA is….” with
colorful, yet meaningful descriptions1.

The Practical MBA could be judged to be relevant in content by these comments
from the participants:

“Compared with my MBA, the PMBA is an in-the-trenches core of
strategies and tactics for real businesses in real time.”

“I, like my fellow classmates, graduates of his Practical MBA program,
realize that we are no longer able to remain mired in the complex and
thus never responsible for solutions. Fortunately, we now know how to
think “simply”… what used to be complex is now simple for us.”

“A practical, and perhaps the only program to re-inject vision into my

“This is a process by which you will find yourself going “No way!”, then,
“Oh yeah?” and finally, “You’re right!”

Success was reinforced one step more by, within one week of graduation, the
next course being 1/3 booked by word-of-mouth of the participants. Further
endorsement was shown by planned reunion dates established among the
students themselves to continually celebrate the specialness they felt from these
intense 3 months together. Some students even formed business partnerships.
Could such management training and sharing meet some of the needs of other
executives? Who knows? What would be your own view or your own level of