MBA Programs and Partnerships

With the increase in demand for an MBA both in terms of students and corporations, a vast variety of types of programs have come onto the global market. Additionally, there is a wide range in the ways and combinations of courses that are being offered.

Variety in Offerings
At present, there are five widely recognized types of MBA programs available in various parts of the world. A quick overview of the types of MBA include:

Distance-learning MBA - A distance-learning MBA program is usually internet-based though in some parts of the world where internet is less reliable, other media elements may be utilized.

Executive MBA - An executive MBA is more descriptive of the target audience, than how it is delivered. The most common delivery format for an EMBA program is in short, intensive periods (usually ranging from one week to one month in length) where participants attend classes at a university, satellite, or other setting.

Flexible MBA - A flexible MBA program allows a student to select courses that are of interest to them to work toward an MBA with a desired emphasis. Though there are several of these programs primarily in the U.S., the flexible approach is the slowest growing of all MBA programs.

Full-time MBA - A full-time MBA program is for students that desire to focus primarily on their education often without work responsibilities. Most often, the full-time approach is held on a university campus.

Part-time MBA - A part-time MBA program usually consists of a three plus year program that is held on a campus or satellite location.

According to a 2007 survey reporting the "Net Trend in Total Application Volume," program growth rates are as follows: (1)

Part-time MBA 46%

Online MBA 43%

Executive MBA 40%

Full-time MBA 36%

Flexible MBA 18%

There is significant growth in MBA participation in general and the higher growth rates in the part-time and online programs than other formats. This is due to a couple of key factors. One of these is a growing number of professionals that are returning after some years of experience to earn their MBA degree. With ongoing work and family responsibilities for many candidates, an increase in coursework that offers more variance in scheduling and portability of work is to be expected. A second factor impacting MBA trends is an increase in part-time and online programs due to universities offering courses in other geographic locales. This expansion has led some universities to take a go-it-alone approach, while others have looked for strategic partnerships.

Growth in Partnerships
There is an increase in the level of partnership that is occurring in MBA education throughout the world. One example of this is the partnership formed between Wharton in the U.S. and INSEAD with campuses in Fountainebleu, France and Singapore. While a partnership such as this brings a number of benefits, one of the main benefits according to the respective deans is the increased global presence and experience it brings to their students and alumni.

Other partnerships are forming throughout the world. A number of western universities have formed partnerships with local universities to make an MBA available in a range of countries including the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). These types of partnerships are also occurring in many other markets such as South Africa, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dubai, and Mexico.

A new form of partnership is beginning to emerge where expertise is coming from a number of partners to provide a high quality MBA offering. One example of this exists with the VLC corporation who is providing state-of-the-art distance-learning using virtual-reality. Having prepared a customizable frame-work, VLC works with a small number of universities including Indiana Wesleyan University to make available several MBA offerings. In this form of partnership, the university has complete quality control oversight. These programs are then marketed and given local expertise by working with training and development companies in a broad range of global markets from Brazil to Russia.

Types of MBA Programs
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of specialized MBA programs available. This range includes but is not limited to concentration in finance, legal, marketing, IT, entrepreneurship, human resources, international business, executive management, etc. While these emphases bring new opportunities for specialization in a field, candidates should examine their planned career path to determine what is best for them.

Whereas some candidates desire to be an expert in a particular field, placing emphasis in that field in MBA education is highly desirable. Some candidates are looking for experience in a range of areas so that he or she can continue to have new challenges in the workplace and/or move toward upper management ranks. For these candidates, selecting a program that has elements of their specialty with a broad enough specialization that lateral and vertical moves can be successfully made is highly beneficial.

(1) "Application Trends Survey" of the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), 2007.

"Net trend is calculated as the percentage of programs reporting an increase in application volume minus the percentage of programs reporting a decrease in application volume."

Higher Education and Society

Institutions of education, and the system of which they are a part, face a host of unprecedented challenges from forces in society that affect and are influenced by these very institutions and their communities of learners and educators. Among these forces are sweeping demographic changes, shrinking provincial budgets, revolutionary advances in information and telecommunication technologies, globalization, competition from new educational providers, market pressures to shape educational and scholarly practices toward profit-driven ends, and increasing demands and pressures for fundamental changes in public policy and public accountability relative to the role of higher education in addressing pressing issues of communities and the society at large. Anyone of these challenges would be significant on their own, but collectively they increase the complexity and difficulty for education to sustain or advance the fundamental work of serving the public good.

Through a forum on education, we can agree to: Strengthening the relationship between higher education and society will require a broad-based effort that encompasses all of education, not just individual institutions, departments and associations.

Piecemeal solutions can only go so far; strategies for change must be informed by a shared vision and a set of common objectives. A "movement" approach for change holds greater promise for transforming academic culture than the prevailing "organizational" approach.

Mobilizing change will require strategic alliances, networks, and partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders within and beyond education.

The Common Agenda is specifically designed to support a "movement" approach to change by encouraging the emergence of strategic alliances among individuals and organizations who care about the role of higher education in advancing the ideals of a diverse democratic system through education practices, relationships and service to society.

A Common Agenda

The Common Agenda is intended to be a "living" document and an open process that guides collective action and learning among committed partners within and outside of higher education. As a living document, the Common Agenda is a collection of focused activity aimed at advancing civic, social, and cultural roles in society. This collaboratively created, implemented, and focused Common Agenda respects the diversity of activity and programmatic foci of individuals, institutions, and networks, as well as recognizes the common interests of the whole. As an open process, the Common Agenda is a structure for connecting work and relationships around common interests focusing on the academic role in serving society. Various modes of aliening and amplifying the common work within and beyond education will be provided within the Common Agenda process.

This approach is understandably ambitious and unique in its purpose and application. Ultimately, the Common Agenda challenges the system of higher education, and those who view education as vital to addressing society's pressing issues, to act deliberately, collectively, and clearly on an evolving and significant set of commitments to society. Currently, four broad issue areas are shaping the focus of the Common Agenda: 1) Building public understanding and support for our civic mission and actions; 2) Cultivating networks and partnerships; 3) Infusing and reinforcing the value of civic responsibility into the culture of higher education institutions; and 4) Embedding civic engagement and social responsibility in the structure of the education system

VISION We have a vision of higher education that nurtures individual prosperity, institutional responsiveness and inclusivity, and societal health by promoting and practicing learning, scholarship, and engagement that respects public needs. Our universities are proactive and responsive to pressing social, ethical, and economic problems facing our communities and greater society. Our students are people of integrity who embrace diversity and are socially responsible and civilly engaged throughout their lives.

MISSION The purpose of the Common Agenda is to provide a framework for organizing, guiding and communicating the values and practices of education relative to its civic, social and economic commitments to a diverse democratic system.


I believe social justice, ethics, educational equity, and societal change for positive effects are fundamental to the work of higher education. We consider the relationship between communities and education institutions to be based on the values of equally, respect and reciprocity, and the work in education to be interdependent with the other institutions and individuals in society.

We will seek and rely on extensive partnerships with all types of institutions and devoted individuals inside and outside of higher education.

We realize the interconnection of politics, power and privilege. The Common Agenda is not for higher education to self-serve, but to "walk the talk" relative to espoused public goals. We understand the Common Agenda as a dynamic living document, and expect the activities it encompasses to change over time.

THE COMMON AGENDA FRAMEWORK The general framework for the common agenda is represented in the following diagram. It is clear that while goals and action items are organized and aliened within certain issues areas, there is considerable overlap and complimentarity among the issues, goals and action items. Also, following each action item are names of individuals who committed to serve as "point persons" for that particular item. A list of "point persons," with their organizational affiliation(s) is included with the common agenda.



Public understanding more and more equates higher education benefits with acquiring a "good job" and receiving "higher salaries." To understand and support the full benefits of higher education the public and higher education leaders need to engage in critical and honest discussions about the role of higher education in society. Goal: Develop a common language that resonates both inside and outside the institution. Action Items: Develop a common language and themes about our academic role and responsibility to the public good, through discussions with a broader public.

Collect scholarship on public good, examine themes and identify remaining questions. Develop a national awareness of the importance of higher education for the public good through the development of marketing efforts.

Goal: Promote effective and broader discourse. Action Items: Raise public awareness about the institutional diversity within and between higher education institutions.

Identify strategies for engaging alumni associations for articulating public good and building bridges between higher education and the various private and public sector companies. Develop guidelines of discourse to improve the quality of dialogue on every level of society. Organize a series of civil dialogues with various public sectors about higher education and the public good.


Approaching complex issues such as the role of higher education in society that requires a broad mix of partners to create strategies and actions that encompass multiple valued perspectives and experiences.

Broad partnerships to strengthen the relationship between higher education and society involves working strategically with those within and outside of higher education to achieve mutual goals on behalf of the public good.

Goal: Create broad and dispersed communication systems and processes.

Action Items:

Create an information and resource network across higher education associations Create information processes that announce relevant conferences, recruit presenters and encourage presentations in appropriate national conferences Develop opportunities for information sharing and learning within and between various types of postsecondary institutions (e.g. research-centered communities).

Goal: Create and support strategic alliances and diverse collaborations.

Action Items: Establish and support on-going partnerships and collaborations between higher education associations and the external community (e.g. civic organizations, legislators, community members) Explore with the public how to employ the role of arts in advancing higher education for the public good Promote collaboration between higher education and to address access, retention, and graduation concerns


Education should attend to the implicit and explicit consequences of its work, and reexamine "what counts" to integrate research, teaching and service for the public good to the core working of the institution.

Goal: Emphasize civic skills and leadership development in the curriculum and co-curriculum.

Action Items: Develop and implement a curriculum in colleges and universities that promote civic engagement of students Create co-curricular student and community programs for leadership and civic engagement development Develop learning opportunities, inside and outside of the classroom, that promote liberty, democratic responsibility, social justice and knowledge of the economic system Develop student leadership and service opportunities that focus on ethical behavior Teach graduate students organizing and networking skills, and encourage student leadership and Diversity education

Goal: Foster a deeper commitment to the public good.

Action Items: Work with faculty on communication skills and languages to describe their engagement with the public, and educate faculty for the common good Identify models for promotion and tenure standards Identify models for faculty development

Goal: Identify, recognize, and support engaged scholarship.

Action Items: Identify and disseminate models and exemplars of scholarship on the public good Encourage the participation in community research Help institutions call attention to exemplary outreach. Establish a capacity building effort for institutions

Goal: Bring graduate education into alignment with the civic mission.

Action Items: Work with disciplinary associations to hold dialogues on ways graduate student training can incorporate public engagement, involvement and service Promote "civic engagement" within academic and professional disciplines according to the disciplines' definition of "civic engagement" Incorporate the concept of higher education for the public good into current graduate education reform efforts


Promoting the public benefits of higher education requires system efforts beyond institutions to intentionally embed values of civic engagement and social responsibility in governance practices, policy decisions, and educational processes.

Goal: Align governing structures and administrative strategies.

Action Items: Develop ways to improve student and the community involvement in the governance and decision making process of educational institutions. Identify and promote ways for institutions to improve involvement with the public and the practice of democracy within their own institution. Establish public good/civic engagement units that orchestrate this work throughout institutions.

Goal: Publicly recognize and support valuable engagement work.

Action Items: Offer public awards that reward institutions with demonstrable track record in serving the public good in order to encourage institutionalization of performance around the public good and civic engagement.

Develop a comprehensive inventory of funding sources, association activities, initiatives, and exemplary practices that advance the public good. Identify, recognize, and support early career scholars who choose to do research on higher education and its public role in society.

Goal: Ensure that assessment and accreditation processes include civic engagement and social responsibility.

Action Items: Identify service for the public good as a key component in provincial and federal educational plans (e.g. Master Plans, provincial budgets, and professional associations).

Bring higher education associations and legislators together to broaden current definition of student outcomes and achievement, and develop a plan for assessment.

Develop strategies and processes to refocus system-wide planning, accreditation and evaluation agendas to consider criteria assessing the social, public benefits of education.

Goal: Cultivate stronger ties between the university, federal and provincial government.

Action Items: Develop a 2-year implementation plan that joins the university rector / Pro-rector and Director with provincial legislators to engage in an assessment of the needs of the public by province Host a series of dialogues between trustees and provincial legislators to discuss the role of universities and public policy in advancing public good at a local, provincial, and national level.

The Importance of Strategic Partnerships In A Nonprofit Organization - Growth and Sustainability

In 2010, I expanded my nonprofit Science, Engineering and Mathematics Link (SEM Link) to a national nonprofit organization by relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area. Since the organization's inception in 2005, we have developed a strong program structure that has enhanced the math and science educational experiences for over 1000 Metropolitan Atlanta youth. I realized that our organization was introducing math and science to students and providing resources for educators and parents in a unique and innovative way; therefore it was time for the expansion of our programs. While looking at other nonprofits organizations that have been around for several decades had a national presence and strong strategic partnerships. I wanted to model my organization after those successful organization so that we can achieve our vision of "unveiling potential for exposure" for more students around the country.

When starting a nonprofit organization there are many steps that go into turning the idea into a business and developing operational and program structure. Developing strategic partnerships is the last thing on your mind, you just want to get the organization up and running based on your business plan and your vision. However, once the nonprofit is operating and you've accomplished most of the things in your initial business plan, it is time to think about growth and sustainability. In the first 5 years of a nonprofit organization's existence, you are just trying to get resources to implement your programs and develop your brand. The partnerships you establish aren't strategic because you align yourself with anyone that is willing to take a chance on a new nonprofit organization. You don't always pick organizations or corporations that allow you to stay true to your mission or achieve the goals for establishing the particular partnership. But after a few years and successful programs under the organization's belt, one's brand has been developed and you can put more thought into your partnerships. You realize that your partnerships are key to taking your organization to the next level, from a start up to sustainable organization.

Strategic partnerships are called that because of the planning that goes into identifying and developing those relationships. The strategic part of establishing partnerships is analyzing your brand, your goals and your current resources; then finding organizations that will allow you to get the things that you need in order to take your organization to the next level. But partnerships are about what you can bring to another organization to help them with their brand, achieving their goals and enhancing the resources available to them in order to help them achieve their goals. A great partnership allows both organizations to do that and is a win-win for both. A nonprofit strategic partnerships should be established are with community organizations, corporations, academic institutions and government agencies,each of which have their specific role in helping a nonprofit organization achieve its mission.

Corporate partners are important because corporations, government agencies and colleges and universities provide valuable resources for nonprofit organizations. Corporate partnerships provide resources such as volunteers, in kind service and good donations and financial contributions, that are critical for program implementation. Colleges and universities provide a special resource for youth serving organizations because it provides volunteers closer to the student you serve to provide role models for college preparation and career exploration. In addition, hosting events on college campus provides students with an opportunity to visit a college campus, which not every student has an opportunity to do. The right corporate partners not only provide resources for your organization, but can help the organization build its reputation to get additional resources. I've personally experienced with my nonprofit establishing a new corporate partnership with a company because of the companies that were our existing corporate partners. Corporate partnerships aren't limited to large corporations; small and medium sized businesses make great corporate partners as well.

Nonprofits provide their corporate partners with an opportunity to implement their corporate social responsibility plan in its community. They provide an opportunity for its employees to give back to their community by volunteering. There are many consulting firms that volunteer their employees expertise to provide nonprofit organizations with service such as public relations, marketing plans and other services that they could not afford. Nonprofit organizations also provide corporations with an opportunity get tax write off when they make financial contributions to the organization. The final thing that nonprofits provide corporations that they partner with marketing and advertising opportunities; most nonprofits list their corporate partners on their website and other promotional materials

The key to nonprofits establishing strategic corporate partnerships is having the infrastructure to attract and maintain these relationships. The first step in this infrastructure is to have a message that informs corporations of who you are, what you do as organization and how they can help. Corporations have various resources and interests, so be sure to give corporations options when asking for their help. For example, when asking for a financial contribution have various levels for receiving donation with each level having rewards based on the amount of the contribution. The rewards for financial contribution should not be equal, the more a corporation gives the more rewards they should receive for their contribution. In addition, do you research when soliciting corporate partnerships, don't approach any organization that doesn't historically support initiatives that are related to the mission of your organization. Also know how an organization provides support, there are some corporations that will never make a financial contribution, but will provide in kind service or good donation that are just valuable as a financial contribution to your organization.

The second type of strategic partnerships that are important to growth and sustainability are community partnerships. Community partnerships are relationships with other nonprofit organizations that provide an opportunity to enhance your programs. There are two type of community partnerships, complementary and cross promotional. Complementary community partnerships are those organizations that allow you to directly implement your programs. You and a complementary partners may establish a relationship because one of your offers a program that one of you all need to enhance your programs. For example being a math and science educational organization, SEM Link has established programs with organizations that have after-school programs for youth in order for those organizations to add math and science to their programs. A complementary partnership, may be an organization that you both offer similar programs, but you want to collaborate to combine your resources to increase the impact of both organizations.

Cross promotional community partnerships with other nonprofit organizations provide an opportunity for both organizations to increase the awareness of their organizations through the relationships. There may not an opportunity for these organizations to collaborate on programs, but they can pool resources that will both organizations to grow because they are in the same sector and serve the same target audience. This relationships allows both organizations to promote their brand and possibly increase participation in their programs. For example, SEM Link is currently establishing a relationship with an online community for high school students. This relationship won't allow us to offer programs, however high school students will be aware of our organizations and we can promote our programs for high school students on this online community. In return, we will provide the organization with math and science educational content and help create a segment in the online community for students that have an interest in math and science.

They key to establishing strategic community partnerships is ensuring that it is a win-win for both organizations. If the partnership will not help build both brands, enhance organization's programs, increase the organizations outreach to its target market it, it isn't a good partnership. The key to a successful partnership is that both organizations benefit. There are times, especially with smaller nonprofits, when you will enter partnerships with an organization and there isn't as much benefit as you thought it would be by aligning your organization with that organization. Another tip is when establishing partnerships, you must go into the negotiations knowing what your needs are from and what you can give to another organization. Once that is established, it is important to establish a partnership in writing by developing a partnership agreement. It is good idea for an attorney to draft a general partnership agreement for you, that you can adapt and adjust for each partnership. Finally, ensure that you advertise that relationship by writing a press release when it is established as well as list that partnership on your website and other promotional materials.

In this country, there are plenty of nonprofits that are doing great work. However, they aren't serving as many clients as they can because they aren't as diligent as they should be with establishing partnerships. Therefore many of them are reducing their program offering or closing their doors, when they are meeting such a great need in the community. There is no organization that will be able to survive if they try to achieve their mission without establishing partnerships. Partnerships provide resources and relationships that allow one's organization to achieve its mission. As you think about your organization, what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve that mission for years to come, you must think about how can I get all the resources that I need. If you want your organization to be sustainable and be able to handle the growth that comes when you successfully implement your programs and marketing and public relationships strategy; you must think about partnerships. The more strategic you are about establishing corporate and community partnership; you put your nonprofit organization in a position to not only survive but thrive.

Science Education In India

Currently there exist a number of life science societies in India. The names being diverse, purpose indeed remains the same. These societies are aiming to bring people on a universal platform and popularize science. Certain initiative needs to be incorporated in order to popularize science, which is necessary for its further betterment in the society.

Life Science Society Initiative (LSSI)

The increased effort by the prevalent societies needs more focused perspective. Current outlook is more towards increasing the awareness of science within the community, also there is interdisciplinary work carried out by some of these societies. The efforts should be directed not just to gather these intellectuals and students on a common platform but also to inculcate the habit amongst them to interact in near future. Directives should thus be towards creation of a scientist, teacher, entrepreneur and most significantly an intellectual.

Scientist-Teacher Interaction (STI)

There should be an increased researcher-educator partnership between both, the educators of science and scientists to teach science as it is practiced. There is a communication gap, which is commonly observed between both the scientist and a teacher. The use and conception of improved facilities, update knowledge and productive interactions between the scientist and teacher should be practiced. Inclusion of teaching, research and human research development must also be a part of the process. Programs should be initiated to enhance interactions amongst both the groups.

Teacher-Student Interaction (TSI)

This interaction is indeed strong and influenced. There is day-to-day interaction and discussion within members of this group. The popularization of science is a positive feature that can be initiated by this group. Apart from academics the vision needs to be set towards popularizing science in near future. In many institutes and colleges the incorporation of research projects as part of the curriculum has generated zeal amongst the young generation towards research and science.

Scientist-Student Interaction (SSI)

In most of the cases the reach of students towards science and or scientist is limited. There is lack of knowledge amongst students about research hence dialogue needs to be established within the scientist-student community. In recent years the communication between this communities is possible by the means of interactive sessions and programme such as conferences, symposia, guest lectures or open forums.

But what is the life of this talk? Does the discussion ends within four walls of the conference room? What are the numbers benefited under these programme? What about the grassroots levels initiatives?

One of the initiatives in this respect is launch of science magazines. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of science-based magazines. Science magazines was previously more focused towards particular age group readers, it now attracts more diversified readers. To some extent the scientific magazines have proved to reduce the barriers. But how many of them afford to purchase or read these magazines?

Science Awareness Strategy (SAS)

Where do we place science, scientist or science educator? Do they always face a setback in terms of pecuniary? Are the science educators looking towards a change? What do students of science think of the long-term prospects of their career in science?

Honestly speaking science is still undoubtedly not so career dream for most of them. Therefore, science should be made more attractive and focused. The perspective of researchers towards the students must be more open. The life science societies and organizations are driven by their own disciplines. They are more focused towards the organizational aspects and need to co-ordinate their activities on issues like science education.

The state of science education in India is currently still critical as compared to rest of the world. The significance of science education should not be ignored. A collaborative effort of scientific and educational communities thus has become a need of an hour.