There are more than 30 schools in the Emirates that offer degrees in business management.
Naturally, competition is high among the institutions to stay profitable. The SP Jain School of Global Management, which has campuses in Dubai and Singapore, aims to open a third in Sydney, Australia, in November.
The campus hopes to enrol students in its Global MBA programme in December. Here, Professor Mark Crosby, the dean of the Global MBA programme, talks about why it is feasible to have global campuses.
How did the Sydney campus come about?
A lot of business schools have exchange programmes and our philosophy is really to let students explore global business environment. The exposure to Australian business culture will add a western experience apart from our Dubai and Singapore campuses, which expose them to Middle East and South East Asian business cultures.
The Sydney campus idea came about two years ago, before I joined. A first choice would have been a campus in the United States or Europe. But in the US it is much more difficult logistically to get faculty and students.
In Australia, we got accreditation and it is a desirable location.
What is the difference between your MBA programmes in Dubai and other business schools?
It is a global exposure for our students and they have to study in other campuses full time as part of the Global MBA programme. Also, our students get strong exposure in applied decision-making in companies. We have 60 to 70 companies that visit Dubai and Singapore campuses each year ... to take part in student projects.
What is the logic behind such global MBA programmes?
About 25 to 30 years ago, students would have done their MBAs in one geographic location and could have spent their career there, too. But today, that is unlikely. MBA graduates have to work in different locations and they really need to understand how their suppliers, customers, or both, work and where they are coming from.
Having such global campuses must be expensive for business schools.
It is definitely more expensive. You not only have to pay for actual physical campuses and libraries but also get desirable people. Our faculty move around a lot.
How competitive is the business of business schools?
A lot of schools are moving to Dubai and Singapore but it is comparatively easier to get students from Singapore and abroad [into the Singapore campus] than in Dubai. There are not a lot of local students in Dubai. [But] it is a pretty open and fairly easy place [for schools] to go to. A lot of business schools have set up in Dubai and some are not doing so well. Many are thinking of how to get students to make it viable.
Where does most of your revenue come from?
Student fees, almost entirely.
* Sananda Sahoo