We prepare leaders of completely a new breed

The competitiveness of a country depends largely on the quality of business education and economic capacity-building cannot be achieved without a highly qualified managerial personnel. Today in Kazakhstan business education processes play a key role, which is due primarily to the increasing number of emerging professions and different spheres of activity, and as a consequence, the need for modern, popular on the domestic labor market specialists of a new breed remains high. For information on how to learn to react quickly and flexibly to changes of business processes in the country, on what criteria it is necessary to pay attention in obtaining additional education, how to keep pace with the time and become proficient in effective management, in an interview to our magazine speaks Jamal Ayapova, director of the Business school of JSC KAZGUU University.

– Zhamal Madakhmetovna, let us start our conversation with the main question – why is getting a business degree become so important now?

The majority of people think that obtaining basic education and finding suitable job are enough to build a successful career. But it is not so. There are many areas in which you need to constantly acquire new knowledge in order to remain qualified and sought-after expert in the labor market. Due to the increasing trend towards globalization and the introduction of international standards, the Kazakhstani business has to respond flexibly and change continuously. That is why there is a need for business education. Through various international courses and training programs, people get the knowledge necessary for effective business. Especially programs are popular that offer not abstract knowledge but practical techniques and skills tailored to specific areas of activity and laws of the country in which to work. Considering this trend the Business School of KAZGUU constantly improves the learning process so that students quickly acquire valuable skills and innovative tools of good governance and immediately apply them in practice.

– What educational programs does the Business School offer to its students?

–  Four programs – MBA, Executive MBA, Mini-MBA, and DBA. I will tell about each course separately. МВА stands for Master of Business Administration. The main goal of МВА is to prepare middle and senior management specialists for various sectors of the Kazakhstani economy. The program aims to develop leadership skills and creativity, and the ability to use modern methods for solving practical problems, to manage resources creatively, to think strategically, and to effectively manage in a rapidly changing and highly competitive global market. A feature of the MBA program is its focus on the direct exchange of managerial experience not only between students and lecturers, and between students themselves enrolled in the MBA program. Attending this program involves active listener participation, interactivity, lessons with analysis of case studies from actual practice, the organization of presentations, the distinctive feature of which is their relevance and practical implementation, the possible use in future professional activities. Thus, students not only increase the level of knowledge, but many of them successfully implement their own projects and cases while developing entrepreneurship and own business.   

In preparation of MBA professionals classes are conducted by the best foreign lecturers. They are well-known professionals in their field, working in a real business, in leadership positions, prominent scientists and public figures from different developed countries. Thus, our students had the opportunity to directly communicate with Tetsuo Fukuyama, the head of the Japanese consulting firm, a leading expert of the International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which specializes in the production and quality management, strategic management and IT-technologies. After graduation students receive a state diploma. We offer full-time evening and modular forms of studies. Also, in the framework of the program free internship abroad are provided for students. Currently, courses are provided in areas as management in education, management in health care, logistics / tourism management and other programs.   

In the past few years an alternative to the classic program Full-time MBA became the Executive MBA (EMBA) – a program for training top managers who have extended managerial experience. It is designed for top managers of high rank, who have no possibility to suspend business for a year or two, and the EMBA is a chance to get a quality business education while continuing to work. Almost all programs of this format are designed to give students the opportunity to combine their studies with their professional activities. As in the MBA program at the Executive MBA they study the basic aspects of management – accounting, finance, marketing and strategy.

The main difference between these programs is that the MBA focuses on further career development of students whereas the EMBA is aimed at improving the performance of current activities.

Next, the program mini-MBA is an intensive course focused on professional retraining in the field of management, which for many is an important step before getting an MBA (Master of Business Administration).

Attending the course mini-MBA is important for those who plan to seek career growth, to get a job in the domestic or western company, to set up one’s own business or improve an existing one. It gives an opportunity to receive advice, comments and evaluation on business decisions from lecturers-practitioners and business experts. Mini-MBA program helps to quickly get the maximum amount of knowledge on the most functional areas of business activity.

The program consists of seven modules, including: corporate, financial, strategic, operational, international, innovative management and legal environment of business. Upon successful completion of the program listeners will be issued a certificate KAZGUU Business School, which later will allow them to enter the MBA program with offset of passed modules. Duration of the program: 6-7 months.

Finally, the fourth program DBA «Doctor of Business Administration» is the highest and elite professional degree in international business education and is designed for senior managers who have extensive practical business management experience, and who have not only higher education, but also the degree or MBA or Executive MBA (managers-practitioners with a PhD in economics or management are enrolled to the program as an exception). DBA students are senior managers with extensive practical management experience who are interested in deep exploration and development of advanced concepts and management models, as well as in the generalization and systematization of their own experience in order to develop new applied knowledge demanded in business. The main difference between DBA program and postgraduate or doctoral, master’s and PhD, which are intended for scientific workers and teachers, is its focus on a completely different life and career goals of students. In particular, those who would like to pursue a career in the field of practical work as top managers or consultants, but would be interested in understanding and describing experiences and acquiring new knowledge. Upon successful completion of the program DBA certification and defense of the control work or project the graduates of the program shall be awarded the degree Doctor of Business Administration and issued a state diploma. The purpose of the program is to prepare leaders who can create tools and technologies for the development of business structures corresponding to the level of new business models, who form markets of “tomorrow” or lead the company to leading industry position. Duration of study: 3years.  

– Zhamal Madakhmetovna, not so long ago in the walls of KAZGUU University was held a national seminar on the development of innovation management in the school system. As far as known, the new learning format is being introduced to the heads of the educational sphere. Tell us more about this project of the Business School?

– Taking into account the message of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, where President Nursultan Nazarbayev noted that “… the prospects of the country can be judged by the state of the education system” and “… everything that serves the educational system is the future of our country”, Business School of KAZGUU launched separate EMBA program for directors of schools and colleges. Its aim is to provide quality education needed to develop leadership and management skills in the field of secondary education, also internship is provided within the program. In the course of the seminar leading experts discussed topical issues of the school system, shared the experience of the work to improve the educational process in schools and high schools of the republic. We organize meetings with school principals for the second year in a row. In practice, most of the heads of school organizations act as managers, business executives, but eventually there is the need to develop such qualities as leadership, human resource management, and change management.

– Zhamal Madakhmetovna, as you know, a priority for KAZGUU and in particular, for the Business School, is an active development of international cooperation with foreign colleagues. Could you inform the readers about this front of your work?

Yes, since 2011 Business School became a full member of the Association for Management Development in Central and Eastern Europe CEEMAN. It is an international association established in 1993 to improve the quality of management in Europe. Currently, members of the Association are representatives of countries far beyond the region of Central and Eastern Europe. CEEMAN Membership is an additional professional information platform for us to discuss current issues in higher education, and effective ways to address them. Cooperation with the Association enables us to act as a platform in international system of business schools, including the prospects for partnership, exchange of experience in teaching, staff development programs, training programs and innovation with the world’s leading business schools.  

In addition, from April 2014, we are the exclusive representatives of Swiss University UBIS in Central Asia, with which we have signed a memorandum of cooperation. The Universities support and strengthen business relationship for two years, the result of which was the first graduates of the joint two-diploma program. Within the framework of mutual partnership UBIS provides us with experts from the head staff of the World Trade Organization and the International Labour Organization to undergo training courses in “Management in the development of the WTO.”   

An important factor while studying at the Business School is the possibility of taking foreign internship in Geneva and London. The internship program is funded entirely by the university, as a rule, it is very intense, includes workshops, presentations, as well as visits to several major Swiss companies and organizations. So, in February of this year, the internship participants visited the headquarters of the World Trade Organization, where for them was organized a presentation of the accession of Kazakhstan to the WTO.

– What do you think is unique about the methods and the entire system of education and training of qualified personnel, implemented in the course of the years of the Business School development?

Of course, the most important criterion, which leads our listeners to stop their choice on our school – is quality and affordable education, which we guarantee. The school has a state license for MBA, DBA. Another advantage that our students have is the opportunity to receive two diploma certificates; one of them is of European model. We provide an individual approach to each student, and convenient formats and class schedules. Also, creating a favorable climate within the school plays an important role; it is possible thanks to a highly qualified teaching staff and individual learning methodology. If to talk about domestic speakers, then among them is Samat Panov, MBA, director, co-founder of the educational LLP Marketing Partners, Dinara Urastaeva, Vice-President of JSC SB RBS (Kazakhstan), PhD in Economics and others. Among the foreign speakers can be noted Nabeul Verch, representative of Queen Mary University from the UK, Leona Erstada, director of the US law firm «Leon & Riemer», Dr. Jan Kuiman, professor at Leiden University and Webster University, MA in Economics and Business, University of Amsterdam, Dr. Ahmad Faisal, Dr. DBA of Cambridge University, professor of philosophy, Alexander Pulte, Asia dean at the University of Business and International Studies (UBIS).

Our main goal is to teach entrepreneurs and managers to reflect a dot. And as evidenced by the results, including ongoing projects of our graduates, we have been able to achieve these goals. So, as an example I can say about our graduate Shazhanbaeva Gulmira, a successful business woman, school pride. Currently she is the managing partner of law firm “Samgau consulting”. In addition, Gulmira has own project – the opening of premium restaurant «The Sultans». The project about restaurant business management was presented by Gulmira during the final exam on the course Marketing Management. Thus, knowledge and business management tools, skills of effective development strategies and other tools in the field of management, received in the walls of Business School helped the graduate in building a successful business career.

I can add the majority of our graduates hold posts of senior managers in such major companies as JSC EP KazMunayGas, National Welfare Fund Samruk-Kazyna , JSC KazAgroFinance, MTC Astanatelekom , JSC NC KTZh and others. I can say with confidence that today the Business School of KAZGUU prepares leadership professionals of completely a new breed relevant to national and international standards.