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Founder, President and Chairman of Skyline University College (SUC), Kamal Puri, doesn’t have illusions about the executive education debate. He just marked 25 years of educating the UAE’s human capital, and he can give you both the pros and cons of pursuing an MBA in the context of entrepreneurship. Puri says that while formal education for executives isn’t a must, invaluable “characteristics of determination and resilience, as well as positively coping with failure, and a passion for lifelong learning are key SUC directives,” and that they are indeed part of the rigors of a MBA- an opinion echoed by many entrepreneurs who have undertaken executive learning programs.
SUC recently received approval to add to their BBA and MBA programs by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR). Launched in the fall term of 2014, new courses included business-friendly majors in marketing and retail management and public administration at the BBA level, and a tactical emphasis on e-governance at the MBA level. In the fall semester of 2013, SUC launched a strategic management and leadership MBA, and they’ve also adopted the highly lauded gamification angle of entrepreneurial education with their on-campus Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab, “fully equipped with business games and simulation exercises for development of entrepreneurship skills among the students.” Skyline is also looking at a DBA [Doctorate of Business Administration] program and plans for “expanding vertically in the field of management as well as planning to expand horizontally in the areas of computer science, law and humanities.” In tandem with the growth and growing needs of the UAE’s emerging economy, SUC took into account the need for specialized areas like logistics and supply chain management, and the broader overall need for management and leadership learning streams.
By The Numbers:
1990 The year SUC was established
40 The size of the first SUC class
6000 The number of SUC alumni as of January 2015
40 The size in acres of the SUC campus in Sharjah, UAE
In Brief: SUC Founder, President and Chairman Kamal Puri
What types of responsibilities fall on institutions like SUC when educating human capital?
“Education institutions always have responsibility towards the community. Skyline carried its responsibility seriously, by transferring a model and scientific knowledge from experts, academicians and practitioners from different fields. We believe in developing human capital for sustainable development and economic growth of UAE. SUC in-classroom does not just give information and knowledge, but also teaches students to create, evaluate, analyze, apply, understand and remember. We not only impart education, but we also educate our students with taking initiative, risk management, business plan development. Committed to stakeholders, board of governors, faculty, students and the community as whole, SUC is always responsible for providing human capital on regional, national as well as global basis. Manpower is the most important factor for the growth of any organization, therefore Skyline imparts skills, knowledge, creativity, and value based education to build qualified manpower for the future.
Should people consider pursuing MBA when they know their career path will lead them to entrepreneurship?
“This is a debatable issue: think of successful people like Bill Gates, who never went to study a MBA in a university. But then, a MBA helps us to make a platform to start a business. I personally believe that one does not need to get a MBA degree if he or she needs to be technically sound or intends to run or start business related to technical fields. In this case, you can join a university which conducts technical courses, and then hire MBA graduates for your business. However, in the 21st century -in order to meet global competition- it’s necessary to undergo a MBA program where the right set of capabilities are developed to build up the entrepreneur in you. It will give you an upper hand in any business setup, and by undergoing a MBA or business education, your three important capabilities -which are needed for any business- are brushed up. First, enterprise capabilities, this deals with the organization and makes one an expert in handling uncertainty; create or implement new ways of doing business, risk and reward assessment, thinking positively to amendments and changes, and create and implement new ideas. Second, your personal capabilities, like fostering the habit of innovating creatively, risk-taking and managing ability, determination, independence and responsibility to make things happen. Third, aspects like language management, economics, finance, marketing, retail, sales, HR, and quality management come via executive education.”