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Postgraduate Education: the MCA

Painting: 'Too much information'Present-day education turns you into a specialist. Postgraduate education ensures you narrow your interests even further. But managing one's own life and managing organisations - of all kinds - requires a broad knowledge of all the factors that shape the future. Our aim is to create a new, supplementary kind of education that can make you a generalist also, not just a specialist.

We have called it the MCA, to show it goes one step further than the MA and the MBA. The syllabus introduces you to the ways of thinking of people in the different branches of science, business, the humanities and the arts, how they approach problems, and what unresolved problems they face, in every civilisation. You will not become an engineer or a lawyer or a doctor, but you will meet eminent practitioners of these and many other occupations from whom you will acquire at least an introduction to how the world is viewed and being treated in different places.

We have tested the syllabus in Oxford and Paris, and have had many enquiries from individuals interested in such a course. Now we need funds to get it going. Philanthropists endowing universities tend to establish conventional professorships, reinforcing the existing patten. Who is brave enough to try something different?

The MBA, which has become the supreme qualification entitling one to tell others what to do, focuses on a very limited idea of what humans can achieve. Theodore Zeldin's experience of teaching MBA students revealed that many are happy with this, because their aim is to get well-paid jobs quickly, to repay the substantial expense of getting the degree. But some students, particularly those who have experienced the realities of business, want more than that: they want to use more of their talents, and to discover more of life. Executives in their mid-forties are increasingly asking whether working twelve hours a day so as to climb the corporate ladder is worth it. But where can they go to expand their horizons? The MCA aims to help them, as well as younger people who do not know how to choose between the careers on offer.