Universal Business School: Set up by leaders of multi-billion dollar firms and endorsed by 60 CEOs
The Indian B-School sector is one dominated by the Indian Institutes of Management. The list of the top 10 B-Schools hardly ever sees newer names away from the regular ones that have been there for years. How do other B-schools who offer quality as well as leadership at par with these top 10 B-schools survive in the Indian higher education industry?
“We got over this hurdle by partnering with a 150 year old British University with 80000 Alumni, so that our students would get the tried and tested quality of a Top 10 modern UK University in Cardiff Metropolitan University which was accredited by Quality Assurance Agency, UK and we leveraged the credibility of the Founders and our Board along with the vast teaching experience at leading B-schools like Stanford, Anderson, INSEAD, IIMs, JBIMS and SPJIMR,” said Gurdip Singh Anand, Chairman, Universal Business School, in an interview with Education Biz.
Universal Business School has been set up by CEOs, who have headed multi-billion dollar multinational companies in over 100 countries, and served as faculty at Jamnalal Bajaj, Mumbai for over 30 years. It is endorsed by 60 leading CEOs and has been awarded 'The Best Upcoming B-School in India' by ASSOCHAM & HRD Ministry, Government of India.
Here are excerpts from the interview where Anand tells us about UBS and also shares insights about India’s B-School sector.
How is UBS unique?
UBS is the only B-School in India built by CEOs of multi-billion dollar global businesses and endorsed by 60 CEOs, whereby the curriculum is 80 per cent practical delivered by faculty who have led businesses of Rs. 1000 crores or worked across 2 continents.
What is your opinion on quality of education in India?
There are two aspects which are worrying. One where B-schools continue to open multiple campuses across the country, this has an adverse impact on the quality of these new campuses and drains the resources of the parent campus, in effect diminishing the overall quality. There is only one Harvard and one Oxford University as in higher education, the faculty is extremely specialised and experienced, and so by making them ply on multiple campuses, there is one loser - Quality. The other factor is the opening of B-Schools that are not AICTE approved, which allows them to operate through rented premises, where there is no skin in the game.
Highlight the major challenges faced by you. How did you tackle them?
Our major challenge was that in education, everyone looks at history, and as a new B-school one cannot manufacture history. We got over this hurdle by partnering with a 150-year-old British University with 80,000 Alumni, so that our students would get the tried and tested quality of a Top 10 modern UK University in Cardiff Metropolitan University which was accredited by Quality Assurance Agency, UK, and we leveraged the credibility of the Founders and our Board along with the vast teaching experience at leading B-schools like Stanford, Anderson, INSEAD, IIMs, JBIMS and SPJIMR.
How has your journey been so far?
It has been an incredible journey with a CAGR of 70 per cent over the past 5 years having established exceptional alliances with reputed International Universities in UK and Europe and the ability to deliver a Dual Continent, Dual Degree MBA in India for the first time with International accreditation.
What is your future road map? Highlight expansions plan, if any.
We are planning to have more specialised courses designed specifically for Industry, like our Rubber Management & Technology MBA which is targeted at the Tyre Industry in collaboration with IRMRA. We are adding more global collaborations with unique curriculums.
Why are so many B-schools closing every year and are not able to sustain?
B-schools are judged by the quality of placements and those that are unable to do a good job in skilling their students find no takers from the industry and then it is a downward spiral. Unhappy and disenchanted students spread the word and that is the death-knell. You need to be passionate about providing a truly transformational experience for students to achieve a truly sustainable model.
Share some details about your collaborations with other educational institutes in India and abroad.
We have a collaboration with Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK, under the foreign collaboration route of AICTE, whereby, we impart the global curriculum in India and our students can complete their program in the UK. We have another collaboration with University of Economics, where 50 per cent of the class is Europeans. They come to India for the first semester and study International Business & Economics with Indian students and then in the 2nd Semester, Indian students accompany their European counterparts to complete the program in Varna, Bulgaria. This is becoming a unique Dual Continent Dual Degree program with a multi-cultural class.
Do you think the Government policies in India are restricting its growth and expansion?
Yes, I do believe that the government should make it a level playing field and encourage more foreign collaborations. There is a restriction on the foreign collaborations which is regressive as we need to be more outward focused. Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi is taking the Indian story to the world, it is the right time for the HRD Ministry to open up this sector for foreign universities to come to India. Like China and the Gulf, we should give a red carpet treatment, so as to encourage them to come to India and bring their best practices with them.
Many preschools and coaching institutes have expanded successfully via franchises. What is your opinion on franchising?
The coaching institutes have done a commendable job in adopting the franchising model like TIME and Career Launcher and have created an extremely scale-able and successful model. Franchised Preschools have also done a great job in ensuring quality education is delivered. I believe businesses which have standardised business models can be exploited through the franchise model.
How do you see the future of B-school industry in India? Where do you see UBS in the next 5 years?
I believe there will be a 3 tier structure emerging over the next 5 years. We will have the IIMs, then a bunch of 50 quality private institutions who will achieve International repute and then the mass providers of MBA where you have more than a 600 plus students and multiple campuses, they are what I call the MBA manufacturing assembly. Single Centre institutions with less than 250 students will not survive as they will not be able to provide the quality and compete with the Top 50, nor will they have the scale to survive.
At Universal Business School, we are happy that on several International criteria, UBS is comparable to ISB and SPJIMR, two of the most reputed B-schools in India. Our focus will be to co-create with Industry and International Universities relevant and cutting edge programs and to become a powerhouse of the most talented industry-based faculty in the country. We will do this by attracting the best Indian and International Faculty and focus on publishing Research and creating the next generation of pedagogic delivery.