Posted by By Wale Ajao on
THREE years after the Business School of Netherlands started Action Learning MBA in Nigeria, the co-ordinator, Kwana Duku.....
THREE years after the Business School of Netherlands started Action Learning MBA in Nigeria, the co-ordinator, Kwana Duku, granted interview to the press to assess progress made so far.
What is the progress made so far since the Business School of Netherlands started Action Learning Master of Business Administration, MBA in Nigeria three years ago?
Since 2003, we have had five sets of MBA. We are enrolling the sixth set this month. We have had over 300 students in the short courses. So, I think we have made reasonable progress since we started about three years ago.
Students performance on and off the programme?
The performance has been very good. Action Learning is about putting their knowledge into actual practice. So, we monitor them as they perform in their places of work. One of them had to do organisational analysis and because he did it so well, he was recognised and promoted. One of them is now heading the West African region of the organisation that employed her. I will gladly tell you that there is none on the programme or who had gone through it and is out of job. Action Learning MBA has impacted positively on the graduands and their productivity has been improving steadily. Each and everyone of them has been doing well.
How is the level of awareness about the programme now?
I will still say that, even now, people will still come in and say what exactly do you mean by Action Learning MBA? In as much as it is reasonably well known, there is still a large group who wants to know more about Action Learning MBA. So, a lot of the students still want to know more about it. So, when they come, we explain to them that Action Learning MBA is direct learning applicable to what they do. The kind of enrolment we are getting for this set, that is the sixth set, is amazing, we havenít had that number. More students than ever before have enrolled, so one can say the awareness has been growing. This shows that the Action Learning methodology is getting better known and appreciated. This is because it offers a lot of things practising manager are looking for because it contains facts that are globally relevant and which are also applicable to their own environment.
In terms of the nature of our environment here, especially looking at the small and medium size enterprises (SMES), how relevant is the Action Learning MBA?
Oh, very very relevant. The programme has many benefits, especially for SMES. It is meant to, as I said earlier, address practical problems and profer solutions. One of the things about the SMES is the some of them collapse because of lack of required skills. Two, a lot of them do not have what it takes to run their businesses. Now, for us running the Action Learning MBA, we give them the knowledge of how to do better what they have been doing. This is important, especially now in Nigeria when a lot of government owned establishment are being privatised. A lot of expertise is required to bring more people to play roles at various levels of investment process. Also, right now, we are talking about 33,000 people leaving the workforce of the Nigeria civil service. These people need to be empowered to go into productive ventures using their previous experience and since most of them will go into SMES, the Action Learning MBA is particularly relevant and useful for them. They need a lot of skills. We donít want people to take their pensions and waste them. We want them to be able to start new businesses and the Action Learning MBA has been designed to assist them in doing this. So, there is a lot of attention given to the SMES in the programme.
I remember the issue of cost came up at the inaugural press briefing, three years ago. Obviously, from what you have said, the cost has not been a barrier for those who want to enrol. So, I want to know how you have addressed the issue of the cost of the programme?
Yes, of course, we had people who raised the issue of cost. But even then, what we were charging was not the highest in terms of cost of tuition for the programme. From the beginning, our price has been very competitive. Also, we made payment easy. For example, this time there is 5% discount for new intakes. We have 10% discount for those taking the short courses and other programmes. We also have the pay as you go. This is what people understand nowadays because they will only pay as they go along in the programme. So, we made payment attached to the core courses so you pay as you get along in the programme.
In terms of instructional materials, how adequate are existing materials and facilities in Nigeria? Do you also get support from outside?
Well, most of the support we get is mainly from the internet. We are connected to the on-line library of the Harvard Business School. Thatís where most of our students conduct their research. Now, for textbooks, one of the things the Business School of Netherlands (BSN) does is that we search for books that address current trends in the market. For example, when Ota one started, I think their textbook was N2,400. Now, we have the 2006 version of that book containing latest developments. Also we make use of other libraries in the country. We donít tell them this is the only option you, cannot use any other relevant, current and useful material. The only thing BSN does is that it advises the students to avoid obsolete information and course materials. There is a lot of dynamism in the business and academic world today so there is a need to be up to date. BSN is, therefore, concerned about the nature of materials being deployed. So, there is emphasis on the relevance and currency of the materials.
Let me take you back to the cost, will you tell me what is the cost of the Action Learning MBA now?
It is N1,600,000.00 (one million six hundred thousand naira. Of course, if you pay once it will be less.
How is the school managed now?
Well, basically, the management of BSN Nigeria follows the pattern of BSN international. BSN Nigeria is made of the partnership between BSN International and the ALF. The board of directors is assisted by myself and Morenike sitting next to you. Direct administration is handled by me.
Where is the school located?
Here in ALF, Ota. It is not going to move soon.
How are lectures conducted?
When we have a workshop, the students come here. The lectures take place here. When they come here, they meet with the tutors and later go into their small groups which is facilitated by an advisor, usually a top management person and that is how interaction goes on.
Do you have means of regular contact with the students?
Yes. We are always in touch with our students.
Are the core tutors foreigners?
Yes they are. Except for one who happens to be a Nigerian who had been with the University of Botswana and is now with a university in the UK. So, he is about the only one. We are still hopeful of a more Nigerians coming to join the international faculty. We are doing our home work to search for suitable Nigerians. Very soon, we will have more Nigerians to join the international pool of academics but the only thing is that they should be able and will be expected to facilitate courses in other parts of the world. We are looking at people with the relevant experience, not just academicians. People ask me this because we are looking for people who are managers of business so that the students can learn from those who are already succeeding in their various businesses. We want people who have a thriving business in the area they are facilitating.
There is nothing wrong with involving the academics. We are not opposed to that. What I am saying is that make use of those with practical experience along with the academics. This is due to the nature of the BSN-Action Learning MBA which enables the students to learn from practical experience. This is because the programme addresses practical issues like succession plan, staff development, etc. We want to give our students a wholistic picture.
What is your overall assessment of the programme?
I think the programme has been teaching the students to understand that they need to leave a legacy of credible service.
These terms and conditions contain rules about posting comments. By submitting a comment, you are declaring that you agree with these rules:
Failure to comply with these rules may result in being banned from further commenting.
These terms and conditions are subject to change at any time and without notice.