The premier MBA

> Sun­way Uni­ver­sity part­ners Lan­caster Uni­ver­sity for the pro­gramme

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ - BY YEE JIE MIN

I Nmany pro­fes­sional fields, in­di­vid­u­als un­der­stand their ar­eas of ex­per­tise but what they don't un­der­stand is the nuts and bolts to run an of­fice, how things work, how to put to­gether a mar­ket­ing plan, the essence of strat­egy and how to do a proper anal­y­sis.

And when it comes to man­age­ment, they don't un­der­stand how to mo­ti­vate peo­ple and how to com­mu­ni­cate – and these are el­e­ments you not only need to un­der­stand, but bring to­gether when it comes to busi­ness.

"The whole in­tent of a Master of Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion (MBA) is to make you a well-rounded gen­er­al­ist, one who can be plugged into a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent po­si­tions and be well po­si­tioned to ad­vance in what­ever the mis­sion may be be­cause you un­der­stand the fun­da­men­tals," said Sun­way Uni­ver­sity Busi­ness School Dean, Prof Steve Wil­liams.

"An MBA is meant for peo­ple who do not have a busi­ness back­ground. It gives you what you need in or­der to start your own busi­ness or run a busi­ness re­gard­less of the back­ground," he added.

There are three things that make the MBA highly de­sir­able. First is the part­ner­ship with Lan­caster Uni­ver­sity, UK where grad­u­ates re­ceive two cer­tifi­cates; one from Sun­way and one from Lan­caster. Sec­ond, is lo­ca­tion as Sun­way is some­what eas­ier to get to than if it was lo­cated in Kuala Lumpur, and stu­dents will have no trou­ble with park­ing. Third, is it is a part­time pro­gramme which works around the sched­ules of those who are cur­rently em­ployed.

"Ours is a premier MBA in Malaysia, but that doesn't mean it can't be made bet­ter. One of the things we are do­ing is work­ing in part­ner­ship with Lan­caster to re­vise our cur­ricu­lum based on what we have heard from our stu­dents, the mar­ket and so forth," Wil­liams said.

The cur­rent MBA takes 47 credit hours and they are able to re­con­fig­ure it in con­junc­tion with Lan­caster who are also chang­ing their MBA. The credit hours will be de­creased to 40 hours which is the min­i­mum al­lowed in Malaysia.

"We also lis­tened to our stu­dents and they said the cur­rent MBA has a dis­ser­ta­tion com­po­nent which is some­what daunt­ing for many re­turn­ing stu­dents who haven't been to uni­ver­sity for awhile. It will be re­vised to prac­tice ori­en­tated where it will be a busi­ness project.

"Not only can they work in teams as op­posed to in­di­vid­u­als, they can work on a re­search project that may ben­e­fit their cur­rent busi­ness and there­fore, learn the skills re­lated to that. They get a more prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tion that is more valu­able, more so than a dis­ser­ta­tion which is pri­mar­ily the­o­ret­i­cal," Wil­liams said.

Some in­di­vid­u­als would also like to spe­cialise, and they will have the op­tion to do three ar­eas within a spe­cial­i­sa­tion. For ex­am­ple, if the in­di­vid­ual has a par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in fi­nance, he or she might take mar­ket­ing, en­trepreneur­ship and con­struc­tion project man­age­ment. There will be a host of dif­fer­ent ar­eas for stu­dents to get a spe­cial­i­sa­tion which tai­lors their post­grad­u­ate ex­pe­ri­ence to their needs.

"An­other thing is the in­ter­na­tional com­po­nent. Lan­caster has a num­ber of part­ner­ships in In­dia, Ghana and re­cently, China. Our part­ner­ship is the strong­est by far and we plan to have a con­cen­trated in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence where stu­dents from the dif­fer­ent part­ner­ships can go for an ex­tended pe­riod.

"Not only will it be in­ter­na­tional be­ing at a for­eign des­ti­na­tion, but the com­po­si­tion of all the dif­fer­ent stu­dents; all com­ing to­gether in an in­ter­na­tional set­ting," Wil­liams said.

He added that they will be util­is­ing blended learn­ing to some ex­tent. Their stu­dents want to have the ex­per­tise from face-to-face, but they would also like some con­ve­nience as they are work­ing adults. For ex­am­ple, mak­ing some elec­tives avail­able on­line and hav­ing some el­e­ments be de­liv­ered on­line. With this ap­proach, they are also able to tap into the in­ter­na­tional part­ners.

"We are op­ti­misti­cally tar­get­ing for this to be avail­able by Au­gust 2017, but more likely by Jan­uary 2018. The good news is the wheels are turn­ing. We have ad­justed the MBA to make it what we think is a bet­ter prod­uct to meet the needs of both in­dus­try and stu­dents. Our stu­dents are ex­cited about it and I an­tic­i­pate it to con­tinue to be the premier MBA in Malaysia," Wil­liams said.

"We have ad­justed the MBA to make it what we think is a bet­ter prod­uct to meet the needs of both in­dus­try and stu­dents," Wil­liams said.

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