The University at Buffalo (UB) School of Management in collaboration with the Chicago Institute of Business (CIB) has announced an online mini-MBA program for students in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
UB’s online mini-MBA is designed to provide a basic introduction to business and management practices. It fosters an understanding of the most important functions of business and management, and builds a foundation for making sound business judgments and decisions.
The new program will be targeted to the 22 Arab countries, Turkey, Kenya, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and will include the 17 modules that the School of Management currently provides in accounting and finance, marketing and communications, technology, human resources, economics and general management.
“The modules are mini courses, almost a tasting menu for an entire MBA,” described Courtney Walsh, assistant dean for executive education, University at Buffalo School of Management. “This is an opportunity for students (in MENA countries) to differentiate themselves, whether they want to start their own businesses or move up within governmental organizations. One of our focuses, and why we wanted to work with CIB, was the focus on quality and accessibility.
“When we originally conceived it, we were thinking of students who have a bachelor’s degree, but then we realized the level of the program was accessible to students more broadly.”
CIB will be providing enhancements to the existing modules, customized for each individual market, such as Islamic finance, Islamic jurisprudence and Egyptian labor law. Similarly, the UB School of Management has created specialized modules in global business and entrepreneurship that are important in certain MENA markets. An estimated 23 modules will be launched this year, with more likely to be developed in the future.
“For instance, modules will open with a video in Arabic, explaining the overall context of the module they’re about to go through,” Walsh explained. CIB is also creating a glossary of terms in English with a complete translation in Arabic that students can review.
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“This Online Mini-MBA program is the first of its kind offered by a U.S. university in the Middle East,” said Nehad El Gamal, CEO of CIB, who first proposed the idea to UB in 2011 in a news release from UB. A 2002 graduate of the UB Law School, El Gamal says the program will make a positive difference in the future economies of these countries.
“Business education is deeply needed in this region,” he said. “This program will offer flexibility and will benefit individuals who do not have access to this type of education.”
The online mini-MBA program is a non-credit-bearing program and, upon successful completion, participants will receive a certificate issued jointly by CIB and the UB School of Management. In addition, graduates of the program who enroll in UB’s full-time MBA program within three years will be given a $750 credit towards tuition.
“In the past 10 years, we’ve only seen a handful of students (from the MENA countries) come to the United States to our full-time program,” said Walsh. “If this provides an opportunity to introduce people to the UB School of Management, through a non-credit program, we’re happy to provide incentive for them to come join our accredited MBA program.”
The University at Buffalo is the largest state university in New York’s SUNY system, and the School of Management is accredited by AACSB.
“The University at Buffalo as a whole has one of the largest international student populations among schools in the United States,” said Walsh. “For us, to not consistently draw from that part of the world, we’d like to change that. We hope this program helps introduce our program to an audience that wouldn’t usually come to our university.”
–Alanna Stage, @AlannaTweets