Marketers with MBAs: Bridging the Thinking-Doing Divide


The marketing community worldwide clearly acknowledges a disconnect between marketing education and marketing practice. Ross Brennan, guest editor for a recent special issue of Marketing Intelligence & Planning, “The Academic/Practitioner Divide: Myth or Reality,” (Vol. 22, No. 5, 2004), observed this when he reported that “nobody chose to submit a paper supporting the ‘myth’ side of the argument” (Brennan, 2004, p. 492). In that issue, McCole (2004) boldly asserts that the “academic/practitioner ‘gap’ has now developed into a chasm” (p. 531), while in another article Tapp (2004) points to “a sizeable gap between the worldviews of academics and practitioners” (p. 579). A 2001 special edition of the British Journal of Management was devoted entirely to examining the existence of a relevance gap. In the edition, Starkey and Madan assert that U.S. business needs are changing and that: …unless business schools respond to the challenges of developing knowledge relevant to this changing customer base they run the risk of obsolescence, to be replaced by new providers, perhaps management consulting firms or the burgeoning corporate university ‘movement’, that are perceived, by some clients, as better able to fill the relevance gap (as cited in Tapp, 2004, p. 580).