With the world entering an economic downturn, a contraction in employment in The Bahamas and severe pressure to innovate, the Bahamian labour force needs specialised knowledge and skills in the public and private sectors to drive business resilience and sustainability.
These sectors will have to evolve and capitalise on niche areas to outpace competitors in the global market. With a mission that directly impacts national development, University of The Bahamas (UB) is ramping up how it equips the country’s human capital to energise that resilience. UB is rolling out a series of four Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees intended to produce highly competent leaders who are able to steer transformation. They include an MBA in Accounting, an MBA with tracks in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Financial Decision Making and Leadership, an MBA in Events Management, and an MBA in Hospitality Management. The two latter are in collaboration with Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Florida International University.
The University was intentional about developing distinctive graduate programmes to bolster productivity, leadership and innovation. For instance, each degree programme has an off-island intensive component in which students will learn from accomplished and distinguished industry executives, leaders and faculty in real-world operations. This kind of experiential learning is pivotal as economies around the world will need to rebound, pivot and become more buoyant. UB President Dr. Rodney D. Smith notes that providing a rigorous academic curriculum is essential in order to contribute to the growth and development of the individual and the nation. “Given that these graduate programmes are among some of the first being introduced for a post-COVIT-19 world, graduate students can expect to be some of the first innovators in creating some aspects of the new norm. Being admitted as a candidate for these master’s degree programmes, will open doors to opportunities at both national and global levels,” he notes.
The MBA degrees are scheduled to be offered beginning Fall 2020. COVID-19 has refocused attention on how to deliver the programmes safely and effectively. Since 16th March, UB – like higher education institutions around the globe – has transitioned to online operations for its classes, campuses and centres. The mode of course delivery will incorporate more technology and online education. “These programmes were developed prior to this pandemic. Fortunately for us at the University, a decision had been made prior to this global crisis to embrace technology and utilise face-to-face instruction and the virtual environment,” notes Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Maria Oriakhi.
“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University will be using a blended modality in the delivery of instructions for the upcoming cohorts. This blended approach will enable students to embrace 21st century technology in the academic environment.” Dean of Graduate Studies and Research Dr. Vikneswaran Nair shares that in a rapidly changing world employers, employees and consumers are pushing the boundaries of businesses to be more innovative, responsible and sustainable. It means that institutions that deliver higher learning will also have to be more agile. “There is a growing need for business leaders who are committed to developing people who will guide the purpose-driven organizations of the future. The UB MBA programme will serve this need,” says Dr. Nair.
“A master’s degree graduate tells prospective employers that you have adequate cross-functional business knowledge with diverse international and industry perspective. This is essential for any personnel who want to climb higher up the corporate ladder. The debates and discussions in the classroom or remotely amongst the student who already are in the business, will allow one to learn from each other’s experiences and perspectives. The experiential learning is critical to producing top graduates.” And these top graduates, according to the University, will benefit both the country and the world at large.