The following email just crossed my desk:
- Hi all,
I am currently an MBA Student, and for my internship, I am to implement a BCP for a consumer products company that currently does not have one. I have been given little/no instructions and have no prior experience. There are a few examples of what the company wants and has done in Germany, but it gives little insight into the entire planning and thought process.
I am looking for some advice on where to start. Is there some documentation out there that would help me get a better idea? I am in my first week and feel like I may be in over my head a bit. Thanks in advance for all of your input, help, and support.
I responded that since he is totally unqualified for the task, he should not be doing it. I did provide some generic resources, and I did come down fairly hard on the school that has the MBA program. I noted that the best thing he could do, as an MBA candidate, was to know when to hire a professional.
In return I received another email that REALLY got my attention.
- I understand that I am in over my head and that this subject is something that needs experience and expertise. However, I don't think it prudent for me to go to upper management and tell them that they have made a mistake, even if they have (and I may have as well), and to go out and hire a professional. I am looking to make the best of this situation, and am looking for any advice in how to do that. I am not necessarily looking for negative reinforcement. Please let me know if you have any other advice aside from "Hire a Professional."
His lack of planning expertise is bad enough, but his absolute lack of business ETHICS really made me pay attention. He wrote: I don't think it prudent for me to go to upper management and tell them that they have made a mistake, even if they have (and I may have as well), and to go out and hire a professional.
So here we have an MBA candidate who is told by his school that he's on an "internship" without any mentor or supervision (remember, "I have been given little/no instructions and have no prior experience").
He lacks the ethics to either beard his instructor , who it seems also lacks any sense of ethical conduct, or the company to which he has been sent ("I don't think it prudent for me to go to upper management and tell them that they have made a mistake"). A "King's Clothes" mentality that bodes ill for business and for MBA programs.
I suggested that his - and his school's - lack of honestly put him, the instructor, and the school "individually and severally" in jeopardy of a suit if any plan he creates fails due to his professional deficiencies. No I am not a lawyer and I don't play one on tv, but I DID seek a lawyer's opinion (albeit after the fact).
If it comes to that - legal action - there will be a great deal of finger pointing, with the defense being that the employer accepted the sub-tyro's plan (if indeed it DOES accept the MBA candidate's effort).
Whether it "comes to that" or not, this whole exercise gives legitimate practitioners a black eye and damages what little professional image we are struggling to acquire.
I am frustrated and, frankly, angry.
At the MBA candidate who shows total lack of ethics.
At the school that would throw this lad to the wolves and that would jeopardize an organization (albeit one that apparently is trying to get something on the cheap)
I'm also angry at the school and its personnel for, if the letter writer is correct, calling this exercise an "internship."
Hopefully this MBA candidate will discover that risk management is not for him. I doubt he will ever understand that part of a professional practitioner's job IS telling the King that he's naked.
It's a bad day for risk management.
It's a bad day for business (ethics).
Its a bad day for decent MBA programs.
John Glenn, MBCI
Enterprise Risk management practitioner
Hollywood - Fort Lauderdale Florida
JohnGlennMBCI at gmail dot com