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Good business education helps to build capacity for professional and enterprise development – Osideko

Tunde Success Osideko is the founder of Eudora City Business School. In this interview with Stephen Onyekwelu, he talks about mini-MBAs, the difference they make, how they can transform businesses and help career development. Excerpts:

If we take a couple of steps back, a few years ago, one rarely heard about Mini-MBAs. From your vantage point of view, tell us how Mini-MBAs evolved and have become mainstream? What would you say are the benefits?
A Mini-MBA is an accelerated business program, a fast-track format of the MBA, which compresses a traditional MBA offering into an intensive shorter version.

Globally, Mini-MBA has been around for a while and you are right that it is now becoming mainstream in Nigeria in particular and Africa in general and I think that the provision of quality business education by local institutions requires more awareness and marketing.

There are many business schools in Nigeria that offer traditional MBAs but the general decay in our educational system is taking a toll on these programmes to the extent that acquiring these degrees are of no consequence in the business landscape in Nigeria. Although an exception will be one or two private universities in Nigeria that offer quality MBAs.

I am of the view that good business education helps to build capacity for professional and enterprise development and that there must be a handshake between corporate Nigeria and tertiary institution in the areas of co-creation of courses, closed feedback loops, research and experimentation. In order words, our universities must be intentional in solving organizational challenges through collaborative partnership so that the success and sustainability of businesses are powered by the effectiveness of business schools’ programs.

To answer your questions more directly, Mini-MBAs are becoming popular because it is a low-risk investment in business education and return on investment is very quick. As the world undergoes disruption on account of the global pandemic and its economic implications, businesses are struggling to survive and stay afloat with many organisations restructuring, right-sizing and exploring creative cost optimization strategies. This has an impact on the careers of professionals. I am sure that you must have heard the saying that nations leverage investments to navigate through an economic recession. This is also true for individual professionals who must invest their way out of these current challenges as we find new answers to confront the new normal. In view of this, mini-MBA is an easy way to acquire capacity and skills in a short period of time.

Recent surveys show that many employers identify talent, especially skilled talent as one of the major challenges they face. Against the backdrop of your experience as a seasoned HR professional and founder of Eudoracity, what is your perspective on the scale of this problem and how it can be solved or reduced?

The challenges of skilled talent can be seen from three perspectives – the decay in our educational system that consistently produces poor quality fresh graduates for entry-level roles, the reluctance of average professional to invest in professional development and the migration of quality talent out of the continent to Canada, US and UK.

Read Also: Adequate funding of education will boost output- experts

Globally there is a war for talent, however, we are not in a good place to compete in Nigeria because of the state of our educational system. Lack of vision and investment in infrastructure, poor teachers’ training and motivation leading to incessant industrial strikes that paralyse and elongate the academic tenure of programs. The weakness of the economy that fails to absorb as many graduates willing to work and the lack of incentives for enterprising graduates.

Universities are feeders that produce the labour force for corporate organisations. There should be a vision and strategy to be articulated by all stakeholders and there should be more collaboration in execution. Organisations are exploring an individualistic solution to the challenge by way of graduate training programs for entry-level jobs. I don’t know how much of the problems we can solve that way. Another approach is the collective solution. During the COVID situation, a number of corporations in Nigeria pooled resources together to support the government in the fight against the pandemic. Maybe we should try that approach and support the government at all levels to solve the educational challenge in Nigeria. We must see the decay as a pandemic as well. This is in addition to driving advocacy for legislative and executive actions to address the challenge.

Additionally, most professionals will rather secure a shelter for their families by investing in real estate in the Lekki free trade zone or other emerging areas across the nation than invest in their professional developments. They do not have to choose between the two if governments focus on improving the quality of life of the citizenry and organisations are held accountable by law to offer robust benefits to their employees.

Your first cohort of students are in session at Eudoracity, do you want to share some insights about your curriculum, the benefits for students and your vision of reaching 5 million professionals in Africa?
We have an impressive number of students as our pioneering cohort and we are grateful to them for trusting the vision. Our curriculum, the delivery structure and the quality of our facilitators and partners are all tools to deliver specific outcomes – We want our students to be able to launch new businesses or transform their existing businesses or social enterprises or solve some of the biggest challenges that their organisations may be facing right now as employees. So, the curriculum is one of the strategies for delivering those outcomes. Our students are learning Strategy, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Human Resources, Digital Transformation, Innovation, Organisation Development and Corporate Governance, Sales, Marketing and Organization performance.

As an institution, we are set up to help organize professional learning in a way that delivers a meaningful and tangible outcome. Our students can either register for our self-paced courses on www.eudoracity.com and enjoy learning on their own or they can register for career-specific learning programmes such as the mini-MBA which are a blended learning experience within a time-specific period.

We want to give them the power of choice over their professional and personal development. That is how we hope to achieve our goals of reaching 5 million professionals in Africa by the year 2026

Finally, whenever the question of executive education is being discussed, the dual issues of cost and access to financing executive education always comes to mind. How does Eudoracity approach this?
EBS’ mission is to educate future leaders by solving the problem of accessibility, affordability and availability of relevant content to meet their career goals.
Our fundamental belief is that we should reduce or remove the barrier to accessing business education for every willing professional. That is why we are leveraging technology as a critical delivery channel of our learning program. Most of the self-paced courses on our platform are around $10 and we offer generous scholarships for our career-specific programmes. This is our contribution to solving the problem of unemployment and poverty in Africa.

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