Business graduates need to play key role in rebuilding economy

National development has to be the focus of any distinctive Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program offered by University of The Bahamas (UB), Executive Director of the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) Tanya McCartney asserts.

McCartney is a 2012 graduate of the institution’s MBA in Leadership program.

“Specialist areas for the MBA must align with the opportunities for growth and national development. We need to develop a cadre of leaders who can take our country forward, who can actually ‘do’ and not simply opine,” she said.

UB has reviewed, upgraded and is preparing to relaunch the MBA program from which McCartney and her cohort graduated, which has tracks in entrepreneurship and innovation, financial decision making and leadership. Three other MBA degree programs will be offered beginning in the new academic year – an MBA in accounting, and MBA in events management and an MBA in hospitality management. The latter two are in collaboration with the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University.

The graduate degree programs are timely and relevant. On the heels of devastating Hurricane Dorian in September 2019 and now the COVID-19 pandemic, The Bahamas is facing a crippling economic downturn and a contraction in employment. Adept business graduates, prepared to help jump-start the economy and steer an upsurge, will be in high demand.

“Graduate students admitted as candidates to these new programs will find themselves immersed in conversations around sustainability and innovation that no other MBA graduate in the world would have done,” said UB President Dr. Rodney D. Smith.

“In this new era, following a global pandemic, everything from sustainable tourism innovations, to digital currency exchanges, to the very purchase of goods within a redefined society, will become the focus of these professional men and women.”

UB’s graduate programs have been developed with the sustainable development of The Bahamas in mind and are grounded in the academic rigor for which the institution is known.

Dean of Business, Hospitality and Tourism Studies Remelda Moxey said the strength of the MBA programs will be evident in the impact of graduates on the public and private sectors. The programs were not developed in a vacuum, but rather through industry collaboration.

“We have listened to our graduates and industry personnel, both public and private sector and used the information they provided to inform our current programs,” notes Moxey.

“It was imperative that industry personnel from both the public and private sectors informed the process relative to the development of the MBA. UB did not want a ‘cookie cutter’ MBA. Hence they were called upon and assisted with identifying the areas of business in which they thought there was a dearth in the country.

“We have some of the most highly qualified and technically competent professors with experiential knowledge and academic learning, who are able to bridge the academics and experience and deliver it seamlessly. These blended programs are designed for the working professional who would pursue nine credits per semester, one class on Tuesday evenings and two courses every other weekend for seven weeks each.”

Adding courses like business data analytics and information enterprise systems and retaining the off-island intensive for experiential learning was key. While students in the cohorts will learn from professors and industry executives, they will also learn from each other.

“As my MBA focused on leadership, the most memorable experience was having to collaborate with members of the cohort on projects which revealed the experiences that help to frame the type of leaders that we become. The defining experience was traveling to Boston to complete our capstone project. The exposure was enriching,” said McCartney, a barrister who has also served in senior positions in tourism and financial services.

Business graduates of the institution, including those in undergraduate degree programs, have assumed myriad leadership roles in the public and private sectors, while others have successfully completed terminal degrees and professional certifications. Academic administrators are confident that graduates of the forthcoming MBA programs will guide the kind of transformation that The Bahamas desperately needs.

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