Postgraduate: Paving the way for entrepreneurial excellence
A UNIQUE school that was formed with the view that entrepreneurial activity is one of the pillars of a strong and vibrant economy, the Bank Rakyat School of Business and Entrepreneurship at UNIRAZAK is dedicated to providing quality education in entrepreneurial and business leadership in Malaysia.
Although big businesses are extremely vital for economic health and prosperity, a strong cadre of SMIs and SMEs are also essential to ensure a diverse economy and to provide the required support to big businesses and the community.
“The problem is that many aspiring entrepreneurs are not educated enough to know how to convert their ideas into working solutions and practical businesses,” says Assistant Professor Dr Siri Roland Xavier, Acting Dean of the Bank Rakyat School of Business and Entrepreneurship.
“This is why, with the support of Bank Rakyat Malaysia Berhad, UNIRAZAK established the Bank Rakyat School of Business & Entrepreneurship (BRSBE). We recognise that it is imperative for Malaysia‘s future entrepreneurs to equip themselves with the proper tools and expertise for them to survive and flourish in today‘s modern competitive economic climate,” he continues.
From the onset, students are instilled with a sense of responsibility and ownership for new high growth business ideas and the posing of such challenges directly calls for entrepreneurial leadership, be it in new ventures or social enterprises that benefit society.
“In this regard BRSBE prepares students via a broad spectrum of studies that include creativity and innovation, franchise management, business plan writing, international business, new venture management, and finance and accounting,” says Assistant Professor Roland.
These courses prepare graduates to analyse and solve real business problems. They are trained to identify the customers’ pain and provide a value added solution that is sustainable for the long run.
“Armed with this solid foundation and with the guidance of our faculty, students will take charge and manage the new ventures; constantly competing and differentiating whilst still in the school. This hones their leadership skills as the decisions they make are their own. They may make mistakes but it affords an opportunity for reflection and review supported by a keen faculty mentoring approach. The school thus provides entrepreneurial leadership experience in real-time with real scenarios,” Assistant Professor Roland explains.
“Currently all our programmes are home grown and globally adapted to meet all world-class accreditation requirements. Where twinning is concerned UNIRAZAK is looking to launch an Msc in Entrepreneurship with the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Educators (GCEE) co-ordinated directly by Babson College.”
He goes on to say that the programmes offered by BRSBE are by no means unique when compared within a global context, however, it is the delivery and expectations for performance that the school has set that makes the programmes stand out.
Assistant Professor Roland mentions the Bachelor of Business Management (Entrepreneurship) (Hons) as an example. “The programme partners with Babson College, which is the ranked as the number one school for entrepreneurship in the US and a key requirement for graduation is for students to register, start and run a business in the black, whilst in university, with a potential revenue of RM1 million over five years before they can graduate. And this effort is guided and mentored by an experienced faculty trained by Babson College,” he elaborates.
The school’s collaboration with Babson College is both deep and wide ranging. Collaborations are carried out across all specialisations in the field of entrepreneurship including social entrepreneurship, family business and women entrepreneurship.
“The depth of our collaboration is seen in the visiting professors that come over and share the latest thinking in the field directly with our students. Additionally our faculty is regularly sent to Babson for induction courses and as members of the Global Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education we have opportunities to invite specialists from Babson for key areas of programme design and research,” Assistant Professor Roland says.
BRSBE also offers a Bachelor of Accounting (Hons) programme, which is accredited by CPA Australia, and requires the passing of the professional level segments of CPA Australia’s CPA Programme in the final year.
“This programme qualifies the fresh graduate as an accounting and finance expert who is certified by an internationally recognised professional body within its programme. Additionally they would have been exposed and undergone venture start-ups, industry immersion via professional accounting bodies’ talks and conferences and expert business forums which are the mainstay of the universities co-curricular activities. As a result of this, our accounting graduates are capable of working and leading in the industry,” Assistant Professor Roland says.
Assistant Professor Roland continues that he and his team at BRSBE were pleasantly surprised at the interest shown by potential students as indicated by the applications for the school’s programmes especially in the fields of entrepreneurship, accounting and Islamic banking.
“I say it is surprising because we have set high standards for each of our programmes over and above just passing the exam papers. This is a good indication that students today are not complacent and will not settle for anything less than an outstanding performance. It appears they want success and they wanted it yesterday,” he enthuses.
Looking forward, BRSBE intends to further strengthen and widen the industry collaboration that it has begun thus far. The school also plans to bring on board more industry specialists and practitioners for every field of study that its programmes encapsulate.
Simultaneously, BRSBE plans to enhance its joint commercialisation contracts with the industry which will directly enhance the skills of its faculty and students and to improve existing teaching and learning skills that will impact its students.
“We also want our student teams who graduate to have a running and sustainable high growth business or social venture, have a patent registered in their names, and have published a paper or case study in journals besides just having a good degree as they are the ultimate testimony of our efforts,” he concludes.