The Master of Business Administration (MBA) program of the Graduate School of Business (GSB), The University of the South Pacific (USP) has become a market leader among Pacific Island states with an excellent regional reputation for quality and relevance. These characteristics have contributed greatly to the rise in enrolments over the decade and to the graduation of over 500 students. The program not only makes a much needed and appreciated contribution to addressing the shortage of skilled managers in the region but also gives kudos and a healthy flow of funds to USP. At a personal level, graduates reported their high appreciation of the blending of theory and practice while the 2007 Tracer Study found that USPís MBA graduates experienced an average 66 percent salary increase compared to their pre-MBA incomes. Staff on the MBA program, both academic and administrative, were found to be well qualified, able and highly committed. They have been keys to the success of the program.
The review team was very impressed with the high quality of both the academic staff of The University of the South Pacific (USP) Graduate School of Business (GSB), as well as the program offered. The teaching facilities are of international standard and are entirely adequate for current requirements. The Master of Business Administration programme is in excellent financial shape, with an appropriate student fee structure.
USP's MBA Programme has been commended for achieving international-level excellence and strong regional relevance by Professors Philip Williams of the University of Melbourne in Australia and Stanley Shapiro of Canada's Simon Fraser University. Professors Shapiro and Williams had personally reviewed the Programme in 1999.
According to Professor Williams, "I have been very impressed by what the USP MBA Programme has achieved in only a few years. The value of the programme is appreciated by alumni and current students. It is an extraordinary testament to the USP and to the staff of its MBA Programme that it has started to offer a high quality international programme while it receives little subsidy." Professor Williams applauded the programme's clear focus on training professional managers, whose needs are quite different from those of purely academic researchers. Compared with competitor MBA programmes, he asserted: "The USP MBA is positioned at the high end of the market. The USP programme offers instructors with superior academic credentials, far more contact time with faculty members, a curriculum that is more demanding, ... and far greater opportunities for co-operative learning from one's fellow students."
Both professors were impressed by the calibre of the USP MBA students and graduates - they are "similar to MBA students at the world's top schools, "
Professor Shapiro found that: "The MBA offering at USP is superior to the Australian competition. Also, and the importance of this can never be over-emphasised, this MBA programme is not only taught in the South Pacific but deals appropriately with the problems of managing in the South Pacific. Indeed the USP MBA has moved more quickly in the direction of an appropriate local focus than have most other MBAs servicing developing areas. That courses are now being offered in Nadi also is a very positive development."
Professor Shapiro further noted that, "Though only in operation for a few years, the programme appears to have had a very positive effect both on the professional lives of its graduates and on the organisations at which both past graduates and present students are employed. Much of the programme's strength and its subsequent positive effect on careers seems due to its ...heavy emphasis on team building and group projects."
Programme Review, 1999, Professors Shapiro and Williams