Dr Nar Bahadur Bista is the Principal and Managing Director of Uniglobe College. Founded in 2009 in affiliation with Pokhara University, Uniglobe is dedicated to creating and sharing transformative ideas across management education. It offers programmes like MBA, MBA (Finance), BBA, and BBA-BI programmes. In an interview with New Business Age, Dr Bista talked about the college's performance, programmes as well as overall management education in Nepal. Excerpts:
What sets Uniglobe apart from other colleges? What are its unique features?
Uniglobe College is unique compared to other colleges in many aspects. The prime reason is that its academic excellence is No. 1. So far, the college has managed to bag nine gold medals from Pokhara University which serves as proof of its academic excellence. International exposure is the second unique feature of Uniglobe. We organise international conferences every year to provide our students with much-needed international exposure. Various professors, students and researchers come together through the conference and our students get a chance to present their papers. We also send our students to foreign universities every year so that they can learn from such visits. We invite foreign faculties to Nepal as well for the same. These are the reasons why Uniglobe College has better and greater international exposure compared to other colleges.
We also claim to be the best in the aspect of research because each of our students is required to do original research and publish it as a research article. We publish four types of journals in this college. A total of 16 journals are published each year which feature research articles of our students. Research articles of our students have been published in international journals as well. Uniglobe College is also the international best paper award winner. This also depicts our focus in the field of research.
We also have an entrepreneurship development centre where interested students are called for ideas and put up in a boot camp. We have an entrepreneurship ecosystem to develop their business ideas into reality. We also facilitate financing for them via banks, angel investors and other investors to develop their entrepreneurship. We have a finance lab where information on the stock market, international financial trends and economy, etc are circulated, discussed, and published. Besides, it also gives opportunities for students to get involved in the stock market. We also have a communication lab where students can improve and polish their communication skills.
Further, we organise a management fest that features 12 types of practical exposure-oriented programs like business development, business quiz, entrepreneurship development, etc. In the upcoming days, we are also planning to offer non-credit courses like digital marketing, aspects of digitisation, information technology, and practical banking trends. Likewise, we are planning to organise an HR conclave which is a completely new idea for the purpose of HR development. Uniglobe has focused on integrating management education with practical education while paying attention to employment-oriented education.
How do you see the scope of business studies in Nepal in the current circumstances?
The scope of business studies will never cease to exist because business is the backbone of a country’s economy. Business includes all kinds of sectors like the service sector, productive sector, etc and business studies are required to manage any kind of organisation operating in the country. Since Nepal is yet to be developed and the economy is yet to prosper, the scope of business will increase with the development of the country.
How do you ensure that the students possess not just the certificate but all the required skills as well to thrive in the market?
We conduct various activities like communication development, personality development through management, writing skills development through research, etc that help in the skill development of students. With all these attributes, the students emerge as a readymade product in the market. Our students never remain unemployed after stepping into the market because we have been providing employment-oriented education to them. Students from both the Bachelors and Masters programmes have managed to secure jobs which speaks volumes about our employment-oriented education.
What about the job market assessment? How do you collect data on what the market needs the graduates to possess?
We conduct industry-academia dialogues periodically like seminars and conferences to read the manpower requirements of different industries. Based on their evaluation, we generate the output. For this, the university as well has given us the autonomy to revise the curriculum as per the needs of the market. We can immediately incorporate the recent trends of the market into the studies and develop a unique curriculum and projects to offer to the students. We produce manpower as per the needs of the market by providing students with the necessary education and skills, something which only a few colleges can do.
Most organisations complain that there is a big gap between the manpower required in the market and the manpower produced by educational institutions. What do you have to say about this?
Not all colleges are the same. There are various colleges that focus on the mass production of manpower through the same repeated curriculum. Such colleges focus largely on theoretical studies, making it difficult for the students to implement their learning into practicality. But recently, there has been an increase in competition among colleges. Each one of them competes to see who generates better manpower for the market. If we fail to produce manpower as per the needs of the market, it will be difficult for the colleges to keep operating. There definitely is a huge gap between industrial requirements and skilled manpower fulfilment. But some colleges, including Uniglobe, are working to fulfil that gap.
What are the practices regarding job placements and internships at Uniglobe College?
Almost 90% of our students automatically get placement opportunities through competition. We conduct job fairs twice a year by inviting the HR managers of enthusiastic companies for direct recruitment. Many students get jobs through these fairs, while others enter the market via vacancy announcements. Moreover, our students have never faced any difficulty for internships. Our students have received effective internships at banks and financial institutions. We have a mechanism where we send the students to selected institutions for internships and we constantly monitor their progress as well to make it effective. Maximum students going for internships have got a full-time placement at the same institutions.
What is the status of the performance of graduates from Uniglobe College? In what sectors are the majority of them engaged?
The majority of our products are associated with the financial sector itself since this college specialises in the same like banking and insurance. Similarly, the second largest population of our graduates are in government jobs. Accordingly, 10-20% of our graduates are engaged in their own entrepreneurship. I must say there are more job seekers than entrepreneurship enthusiasts. But we aspire to increase the ratio through our entrepreneur incubation centre. The centre, which remained shut for the past three years due to the pandemic situation, has already resumed operation. We also participated as the academic partner in the recently held Nepal Youth Entrepreneurship Summit so that a favourable ecosystem can be created for our students by familiarising them with Nepal’s industrialists and businessmen through networking.
The trend of students going abroad for higher studies is on the rise. How is the trend affecting the educational sector, the economy as well as the entire nation?
Many students tend to go to foreign countries for higher education right after completing high school (+2) or Bachelor’s. The trend is so frightening that colleges and universities in Nepal are already facing a shortage of students. The government is not paying enough attention to this and, as a result, the quality of education is declining progressively. Not only this, the growing trend of students not returning back even after completing their studies is going to cause a long-term effect on the nation’s economy. Therefore, in order to prevent such situations, we should provide youth with diverse practical educational programmes to provide them with employment opportunities within the country. Efforts should be made by both the private as well as government sectors to lower the number of youth going out of the country. In addition, if the employment opportunities and facilities offered abroad are made available within the country, the youth won’t choose foreign countries over their own homeland.
This problem is going to persist and evolve into a monstrous form unless the nation’s economy takes a big turn.