Creating a highly skilled e-commerce workforce has become the job of one of the country’s well known business schools.
--BY KRISHANA PRASAIN
The rapid changes in information and communication technology (ICT) and rising internet penetration mostly over the last two decades have brought e-commerce to the fore. A 2016 estimate of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) puts the size of the global e-commerce market at USD 22.1 trillion which was USD 3.2 trillion in 2005.
Nepal too, has been witnessing an e-commerce boom over the last few years powered by the rising purchasing capacity of consumers, expansion of internet services and social media. The size of e-commerce in Nepal is estimated at USD 80 million which is increasing by three folds annually. Nonetheless, Nepali entrepreneurs have not been able to capitalise on the e-commerce front basically due to the lack of proper knowledge about specific management techniques to effectively run the electronic business.
Despite its growth here, academic courses on management in electronic business are scarce here as most of the general MBA programmes are focused on traditional finance, human resource and marketing. Now a prominent business school in Kathmandu has stepped up to fill the void by providing management education to aspiring students who want to take on the global e-commerce business. Presidential Business School (PBS) affiliated to Westcliff University, USA has introduced a new and timely MBA course in this regard. “The MBA in e-Business Management at PBS is designed to integrate technology, business, marketing, and employability skills to prepare students for jobs in the burgeoning field of e-commerce,” says Laxman KC, Executive Director of PBS. At present, no other college is offering a similar kind of course in Nepal.
“Though it is a newly introduced course, we are finding an enthusiastic number of queries coming up for the programme,” shares Kalpana Gurung, Director, Academic Affairs of PBS. She adds that many students with academic backgrounds of BIM, B.Sc. CSIT, BCA and Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering are interested in joining the programme.
The programme commenced from fall 2016 and the first batch of students with an MBA in e-Business Management will graduate this year. “We initiated the course so that aspiring people are able to seize the opportunities in e-business and also for existing companies,”
According to Gurung, the course was started for students who want to start their own startup companies in the IT sector. Similarly, the programme is targeted to students who have completed their bachelor’s degree in IT and who want to pursue a master’s degree as there are only a very few IT prorgammes at the post-graduate level in the country.
Why MBA in e-Business Management?
KC views that students pursuing their degree in MBA in e-Business Management are a highly skilled workforce when it comes to computerised business skills. “In today’s world of information technology, such a degree is certain to lead to a successful and rewarding career,” he notes.
According to him, Graduates of MBA in e-Business Management will be competent in a host fields including technology, financial, marketing, operations and operating venture capitals to secure funding and formulate efficient market strategies. KC further says that the course explores the world of e-commerce and its impact on business practices.
Students of the programme learn an array of subjects on the opportunities, issues, alternatives and techniques to support development of an e-commerce marketing plan and related websites. Furthermore, the programme also helps students to identify and understand the needs of customers and to address their business concerns. “This programme enables students to evaluate alternative e-commerce websites, plan portals that meet marketing objectives, examine ways to promote the site to target audiences and analyse key issues in managing digital marketing,” explains KC.
Presidential launched the post-graduate programme after observing new startup trends growing in the country which are mostly based on ICT. It also wanted to produce a skilled workforce capable of working in international e-businesses. Gurung says that the MBA in e-Business Management presents the best academic platform to those looking to start their own ventures in the IT sector and to those seeking to learn managerial skills with multiple career options.
Capitalising on the Opportunities
The MBA in e-Business Management at Presidential Business School can be a rewarding academic choice to the students who are looking to explore the seemingly endless opportunities in digital business. The increasing concern over data security in recent years has led many BFIs, corporate houses, government and private institutions to start adding IT departments in their workplace. Also, from data management to managing logistics, use of IT services has become essential in today’s world. In addition to this, rapid use of digital media is expanding the prospects of e-marketing.
E-commerce marketing management helps to boost business even for the companies that are not engaged in e-business. Nepal is gradually becoming a hub for outsourcing business and this is another area where one can explore more opportunities. To sum up, career options for students with an MBA in e-Business Management get diversified job options from BFIs to the corporate sector to manufacturing industries to the hospitality and service sector as IT is in high demand in the modern day global business scenario.
Course of Study
Students of the programme are required to study courses such as Managerial Communication, Managerial Economics, Organizational Behavior, Data Analysis and Business Intelligence, Financial Management, Marketing Management. Furthermore courses like Human Resource Management, Managerial Accounting, Operations Management, Managing Information Systems and Technology, Organization Relationship are also studied under the programme. The syllabus also includes Business Research Methodology, Entrepreneurship and New Ventures, Business Law, e-Business Technologies, Electronic Commerce Marketing Management, e-Business Entrepreneurship/e-customer Relationship Management, Strategic Management in a Globalized Economy and Applied Methods Capstone.
PBS Academic Affairs Director Gurung informs that the courses are updated every three years to make sure that students stay ahead in the ever changing competitive business world.
To enroll in the programme, students are required to obtain at least a 2.0 GPA or 45 percent in their Bachelor’s level from any faculty except B.Sc.in Nursing. They are selected through an entrance exam and individual interviews conducted by the college.
The college takes admissions two times a year - in Spring and Fall. According to PBS, the classes for the Fall intake has just started while another intake will start around January 2018 and the classes will commence from February. The college admits 35 students in each intake.
PBS located at New Baneshwor runs classes from 6:30am to 9am from Monday to Friday while there are extra classes on Saturdays. The college conducts seminar classes, guest lecturer classes especially on Saturdays. “The programme is equal to a full time MBA if you look at the depth of the course,” claims Gurung. Class timing is flexible for working students.
PBS has partnered with corporate houses in Nepal who offer jobs to the MBA graduates through the college’s placement cell. Gurung says that final year students are provided with grooming sessions to fulfill the gap between college and the corporate world so that students are well prepared. According to her, all PBS graduates are currently engaged in jobs or entrepreneurships.
“We select our faculty members very carefully,” points out Gurung. Students will be taught by experienced lecturers from the corporate sector. Along with the academic classes the college also provides different value added modules which is a non credit programme. “We focus on entrepreneurship programmes, seminars, training sessions on public speaking, sports and cultural events, educational visit for extra-curricular and co-curricular activities to increase the leadership quality of students,” says Gurung.
Other MBA Programmes at PBS
Being a prominent business school in the country, PBS has the largest selection of concentrations in MBAs including Finance, Marketing, Organizational Management, Entrepreneurship, e-business Management and Supply Chain Management. PBS is also planning to introduce an MBA in Healthcare Management in the near future.
Fee Structure and Scholarships
The total fee for the two-year MBA in e-Business Management is Rs 600,000. Meanwhile, the college also provides scholarships on a merit basis to deserving students.