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What UK graduate employers think they want and what university business schools think they provideThis paper evaluates the increasing focus on the development of students' competencies and skills for management, in university business schools. The debate suggests that deeper understandings, concerning the role of managers are being sacrificed at the hands of an instrumentalist/technicist agenda focusing on competencies and skills. The paper adds to the discussion by scrutinising and applying theory from the literatures of occupational practice, knowledge and learning. Data is presented from sixty four job advertisements stipulating the competencies and skills required of applicants and which illustrate the premium put upon personal practice knowledge. By taking a critical management perspective students can begin to understand the social context and power-based nature of management practice in the workplace. While universities may try to further fulfil the 'narrow', industry-led, competency focus, early indications suggest that universities may possess a good deal of freedom in designing pedagogies supportive of a critical agenda.