In theory it makes sense to send very senior officers on placements because they can see how things are done at eg. Google, Amazon or Vodaphone*. After all, there's a pretty steady drum beat of people on this site telling us that we need to copy industry more in a number of areas. That's only the theory though; unless they're empowered to actually change things then I agree that it's probably a waste of time that mostly just makes seniors feel that something is being done.I fail to see what value there is in placements for any Army Officer other than in support of a subsequent DE&S job
@Crash will be able to comment on exactly how the armed forces employ people fresh off an academic placement. I believe a similar manning process is currently being used for industry placements (ie. it's ignored completely at APC) although things are changing.
*when I saw the list of placements a couple of years ago, it was mostly to companies we've all heard of and all of these three are real examples.