Tolulope Ayotade who is the head of the marketing and admissions department for the Lagos branch of Metropolitan School of Business and Management (MSBM), UK, has shared some brilliant insights on what MSBM is all about.
Tell us about MSBM
"The Metropolitan School of Business and Management is a pathway college headquartered in the United Kingdom with campuses in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai), Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Russia, India, Pakistan, Qatar and Bahrain.
"In Nigeria we have our offices and study centers in Lagos, Abuja, Anambra and port-Harcourt.
"MSBM is a British educational institution that provides International Students access to outstanding Business and Management Faculties from around the world; MSBM is dedicated to providing a wide range of Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses at an affordable cost.
"All learning activities, materials and content are provided online and in classroom block teaching styles using modern delivery models to make learning more engaging. On completion of an MSBM course, it will give you recognized University credits to then “top up” at one of our UK University partners, saving you time and money."
How long have you been in existence in Nigeria?
"Blueslip Limited which was a recruitment agency for University of Huddersfield and MSBM,UK has been in existence since 2011 and it became a franchise of MSBM,UK which now operates as MSBM Lagos.
"Hence MSBM UK started full operation in Nigeria in 2014, running its full degree master’s programme in Lagos, Nigeria."
What influenced the decision to bring MSBM to Nigeria?
"There were so many factors that influenced the decision to bring MSBM to Nigeria and among which was the growing need for International education among Nigerians. It was discovered that a lot of organisations were losing quality staff members to International study and Individuals also had to alter their work and life schedule and pattern for an opportunity to gain International certifications. MSBM came to Nigeria to fulfill these needs."
In your opinion would you say education is valued in Nigeria?
"As the saying goes: “Education is costly but ignorance is costlier” Education is important in pretty much any culture that is progressive and it is usually important for the same reason; to become successful, to be an educated human being, to be someone who can make informed decisions, to be someone who can make the world a better place, etc
"Therefore, education is highly valued in Nigeria because any professional or individual who is not literate cannot attain both personal and career advancement. Such person is limited in acquiring almost everything of value needed for growth and development among his/ her peers or in the society at large."
What is the vision and mission?
"MSBM is on a mission to give people the opportunity to transform their Lives who would in turn transform themselves, their organisations and the World in its entirety.
"The Vision of MSBM is to impact over 200,000 students annually through the provision of Quality, Premium and Affordable British Education."
Who are your target audience?
"MSBM’s target audience includes Top professionals, Government officials and bodies, Senior Level Management Staff, Mid-Level Management Staff, Junior Level Management Staff, Fresh graduates and Corporate Bodies."
What courses do you offer?
"MSBM offers both Degree and Non-degree programmes. The Degree programmes include Masters of Business and Administration, MA in Human Resource Management, MA in Marketing and Innovation, MSC Accounting and Finance and LLM in International Commercial Law.
"The Non-Degree programmes also known as the Special Executive Masters Programme (SEMP) are short-term courses that provide quick upgrades and new skills to students. The duration and location of the SEMP varies as they can either be taken online or in the classroom, or done either locally or internationally.
"MSBM also provides corporate trainings such as bespoke programmes for various organisations."
What makes us different from our competitors?
"Like I have earlier said, MSBM is a UK private for-profit Institution in Nigeria that provides students access to top-notch and outstanding British education from highly ranked British Universities such as Anglia Ruskin, Northampton and Gloucestershire through the accrediting bodies such as Awards for Training and Higher Education(ATHE), National Computing Centre Education(NCC Edu) and OTHM who are all OFQUAL regulated bodies in the UK.
"As earlier stated, our programmes are structured to allow Nigerians earn dual British Degree certificates without having to travel to the UK even without limiting their studying option to the Online mode as most international institutions offer.
"Our classroom lectures are structured in such a convenient way that it doesn’t interfere with work or personal life commitments. This is so because students are required to attend just four (4) Saturday classes in a semester while also assessing them based on only assignment which is done over the semester break.
"You would also agree with me that studying outside the country is no child’s play as it requires a lot of financial commitment; a case study is Northampton University Master’s Degree tuition fee at about £13,000 which is exclusive of the other cost incurred on traveling expenses, visa processing, accommodation and so on. MSBM however, is committed to offering Nigerians same value but at a more convenient and cheaper cost of £7,000 only.
"MSBM also offers the option for students to top up to as many degrees as possible; what this simply means is that a student may decide to earn another master’s degree upon successful completion and award of the Level 7 Degree Certificate, by paying a minimal top-up fee and earning another master’s degree without having to start all over from scratch."
But there are bigger and more popular business schools particularly in Lagos, so are you saying MSBM has a better ranking than these schools?
"Yes, it is undisputable that certain business schools have gained quite a lot of popularity among Nigerians but it should be noted that some are not internationally ranked like the universities we represent such as I have listed earlier. It should be noted also that the standard of our education, our certifications and influence are not localized to just a country or a continent (as some dominant business schools in Lagos are) but across borders; internationally and even globally.
"Arguable, there are certain business schools in Nigeria that Offers the best MBA in the country, but you have to bear in mind that the schools we represent are universities that are top-ranked in the UK which puts the standard of our programmes and certificates on a pedestal both within and outside the shores of Nigeria and even Africa (that is, internationally and even globally)."
I will like to correct your notion about other prominent business schools not being ranked worldwide as there are verified information about their international listings.
"At this point I will like to point out the fact that the program a school offers can be ranked internationally and not necessarily the school itself. It is no doubt that certain business schools offer very good executive education which is worthy of being internationally ranked.
"However, it should be known that executive educations (which we also offer here at MSBM) are non-credit bearing programmes but I was actually referring to the credit bearing MBA in my previous comment (which is an academic degree that can be used to attain a higher education such as a PhD) which some other prominent business schools in Nigeria offer but are not ranked worldwide like ours is.
"I am not in any way implying that their MBA is not good; do not misquote me, because it cannot be gainsaid that these business schools are achieving great milestones in spite of the fact that some of them are of the national origin."
Do you have a campus?
"No, we don’t and the reason being that we have not adopted a campus model since our lectures are delivered on a per-time basis. We operate what we call a modular MBA which is a practical learning model whereby lecture modules are broken down into easy to understand lectures which are delivered in a blended learning style of 8 Classroom lectures for students who opted for classroom mode of study.
"Our lectures are delivered in our facility at 44b, Abba Johnson Crescent, Akora Villas, Off Adeniyi Jones in Ikeja. Our facility is top-notch and very friendly for studying and also we have recreational facilities for students to relax after studying; “all works and no play, you know, they say makes jack a dull boy”.
"At the moment, MSBM’s facility is conducive to catering for the current students’ needs. However, looking at the rate at which enrollments are increasing, a larger facility would be needed in the nearest future to cater for our growing populace."
Where do you see MSBM in 5 years?
"I think you can tell from our vision which is to impact over 200,000 students annually; so in 5 years we are hoping to have trained even over a million people, to become a household name and to be the go-to institution for International certifications in Africa and beyond."
Are your certificates globally accepted?
"As a matter of fact, MSBM does not issue academic certificates; the Level 7 Degree certificate is issued by our accrediting bodies which I mentioned earlier who are OFQUAL regulated centers.
"So also are the Level 8 Degree Certificates which are the Master’s Degree; they are also awarded by the progressing Universities such as Northampton University, University of Gloucestershire etc. who are in partnership with the accrediting bodies and also are top-ranked universities in the UK hence making the certificates internationally and globally accepted."
What has been the challenges faced since your existence in Nigeria?
"The major challenge has been funding for prospective students. Also since we are a UK school, our fees are charged in pounds; hence exchange rate has been a factor that affects us in the Nigerian market.
"Another challenge faced is of course the fact that there are other competitors in the market and there were big competitors we met in the market when we came into Nigeria.
"Also in the area of government acceptability, we really hope that after a while government will be able to accept colleges as ours as educational institutions to be promoted in Nigeria. Also bearing in mind that Nigeria is a very expensive place to run a business, we spend a lot on advertisements and also on the day-to-day running of the facilities; though these are some of the basic challenges faced by most businesses and we are not exempted from them."
Considering the poor economic condition in the country, would you say your fees are affordable?
"I will not particularly say that we are but in comparison to what is obtainable in other international schools as analyzed earlier, you would agree with me that we are not too expensive.
"I mean because of the economic climate we are in, we understand that we are not as cheap as the local universities but if a student were to enroll directly with any of our partnering universities in the UK or any other international school for that matter, they will spend an average of 14,000 – 20,000 pounds while we offer for less than 8,000 pounds.
"It should also be noted that there isn’t any indication that the program was run via distance learning neither are there any differentiation in the certificates that will be awarded to students who completed their program here in Nigeria and those who completed theirs with our partner universities in the UK. Our students also have the option of going for their graduation in the UK upon successful completion of their program.
"However, for a country as Nigeria, we can’t say we are the most affordable school you will find around but we are quite affordable for the value we are offering."
What are the plans for expanding to other parts of the country?
"I would say we have pretty much covered major regions of the country. We have our presence in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Anambra and Lagos. However, plans are in top gear to ensure that MSBM has at least one branch in each state of Nigeria all in a bid to ensure that Nigerians can get quality and top-notch International certifications in their home base."