GRM 2010 GRM 2011

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Partnering with Business and EQUIS Accreditation: Sultan Qaboos University’s College of Economics and Political Science Road to Quality Business Education
Paper Proposal Text :
In 2014, the faculty and administration of SQU College of Economics and Political Science (CEPS initiated efforts to attain accreditation with one of the leading international associations of collegiate Business Schools, EQUIS, through its parent arm, the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD). CEPS decided to pursue this ambitious and essential goal in order to reflect, affirm and insure the quality and sustainability of CEPS business educational mission, teaching, and student development in line with international management development standards. Aligning and partnering directly with local and international companies in developing managerial leaders from the MENA region is an essential EQUIS step and the primary focus of CEPS’s new educational mission.
EQUIS accreditation offers, not only exemplary academic recognition for CEPS, but a critically important process for CEPS faculty and administrators to benchmark and align their efforts as teachers and student mentors with world best practices in industry and business management, applied professional practice, and education-corporate connections and collaborations. As a further step striving toward Institutional Excellence, CEPS also decided in 2015 to join AACSB International, the Association for the Advancement of Colleges and Schools of Business, which along with EQUIS, sets and oversees the highest standards in business education connected directly to the development of impactful management leadership and corporate development regionally and globally.
These commitments to align with EQUIS and AACSB business standards have already generated several transformational initiatives and organizational changes in CEPS. Most importantly are strategic thinking and planning efforts between faulty, the College’s Business Advisory Board and government-industry partners such as the Capital Management Authority, the Muscat Securities Market, and the SME Development agency, Riyadh. Through these efforts and more, the College is driving pedagogical renewal and innovation, improved administrative structures and integrative strategies and cooperation among its academic disciplines to meet national business, economic and government development and management imperatives. In this way, the CEPS/EQUIS accreditation process mirrors the “Identity Change through Accreditation” (ICA) model that top business school academics including Christophe Lejeune, Majken Schultz, Alain Vas and Raymond Zammuto have discussed in articles featured in the top journals, Management International and Academy of Management Learning Education.
This presentation will highlight how CEPS/EQUIS accreditation and the essential dynamics of ICA organizational change spurred greater the alignment of CEPS with Oman business development needs and international management standards. Overall, this presentation emphasizes the role of accreditation bodies like EQUIS in the positive stimulation of local corporate partnerships, pedagogical innovation, continuous educational improvement through international business education standards benchmarking. Also, it demonstrates how CEPS integration of EQUIS standards and business management techniques and training imperatives further improved the College’s operational policies formulation and quality assurance processes, and drove greater emphasis data-driven measurements as determinants of impactful educational performance. It also emphasizes that unlike critics that suggest that accreditation drive business schools over-standardization or “accreditocracy,” CEPS has maintained with EQUIS encouragement its own unique commitment and focus on local business development in Arab culture and identity contexts as well as in line with international management education trends and practices.