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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 19. 3rd August 1972

[Business grads are ready and able, but is business willing? cont.]

page 25

O'Malley: I wouldn't call it quite that. I don't take on an economist unless I know what he can do.

Personnel men can't be expected to take on a business administrator be fore they know what it really means and what he can do. It's not until our generation of graduates proves tha. Business Administration qualifications are relevant, in say five or six years time, that we will have established a sound or pretty soft basis for the future.

Holland: Being such a new area, this is probably inevitable. I doubt whether publicity or liason from the university would have achieved much more.

O'Malley: I think that the universities could do more to follow the work patterns of their graduates. This is a must.

Boswell: Victoria University is in the middle of survey at the moment to trace where their graduates are going. But nothing's come of it yet.

Watson: After 2½ years of Business Administration thought a vacation job downtown instead of psychiatric nursing would be a good idea. So I worked for three months for an oil company — not doing anything important but getting a feel of the work — and they were most receptive and offered me a job at the end of this year.

Dewe: Undoubtedly some people with Business Administration qualifications attract job offers because they are able to talk to people on different levels.

O'Malley: One of the principal problems from the employer's point-of-view is that you can't predict so easily what a Business Administration graduate can do. This tends to create a sense of insecurity. A Business Administration qualification isn't easily fitted into an already established mould.

Dewe: There's always going to be that sort of feeling. I've got to watch that guy or he might endanger my career.

O'Malley: And, of course, there's a lot of talk from America about $15,000 a year whiz-kids replacing older managers. It really frightens some people. But recently there's been quite a reaction to this, and it's being realised that middleaged managers aren't so redundant after all, because those whiz-kids hadn't built up the store of experience on which reasonable decisions can be made.

Holland: I'd like to know, too, if good managers lose their jobs or just those who were tottering anyway.

Haines: Present middle and top management are accountants with accounting professional qualifications who are generally the "looking for the lost shilling" types and are therefore harder to convince about something new-fangled like Business Administration.

O'Malley: People with an accountancy background see accounting as more relevant than Business Administration.

Haines: In my experience Business Administration has had a very real and practical application. When I finished my Business Administration major I was in a marketing situation, but since then I've moved, without previous experience, to a production job. And I've found the course both applicable and invaluable. I hadn't paid much attention to the production side of Business Administration, but I've found what I learned of both general and detailed use.

Holland: I must say I'd be happier to apply for a much wider range of jobs now that I've majored in Business Administration.

N.B.R.: What about further study? Does an honours degree in Business Administration mean a person is missing out on too much practical experience? And if he's already employed by a company, does it just look like he's a perpetual student and unable to settle down?

Holland: Industry must start to allow this. I'd very much like to go back for a crack at Honours later, but it might be a good idea to do it later after I had more practical experience to relate to.

Boswell: It's best to go downtown after getting your B.C.A. Then you can see what really interests you and go back to University and develop this train of thought. It's better than carrying on in a vacuum.

Watson: Actually, the Honours programme follows this line. It encourages active participation downtown. And it lets you put across some fresh ideas to companies without being tied up by their internal way of doing things.

O'Malley: More enlightened companies are realising they've got to give staff further training at their expense. After all, they've created aspirations and expectations and their employees have pretty restricting committments. So they've got to give stiff time off on full pay, and nothing less. It's absolutely essential for companies to have new information coming in like this.

Boswell: But how does that compare with the big, international companies operating here? They bring specialists in, run internal training courses so you'll turn out the way they want.

O'Malley: Internal training's essential while you're being assimilated into the culture of a company. But after you've been there 5-10 years and are holding a responsible position, it's just in-breeding.

Boswell: The international companies don't even encourage outside training at the managerial level. They develop people for their own ends, and they're scared that other opportunities will come up if a person is let outside.

N.B.R.: There are a number of courses being offered outside universities in the broad area of business administration. How useful are they?

O'Malley: The SME courses, for example, have been convened to save companies a lot of money. The Chateau marketing course brings in excellent people, but I challenge anyone to assimilate a year's academic work in one month and use it profitably. How can you take people with strong and well-formed attitudes, destory them and build new attitudes in a month? This is the problem with all the "instant" courses. It's impossible unless the people were trained academically within the last five years.

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