Avia Collinder, Business Writer
The University of the West Indies (UWI) has tapped Professor Paul G. Simmonds as executive director for the new Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM), formed from the merger of the business school and management-studies departments.
The merger was executed over eight months and took effect August 1.
The physical integration, both the graduate-level Mona School of Business (MSB) and the Department of Management Studies (DOMS) now operate from separate buildings, remains a work in progress.
Simmonds, an MBA with an emphasis in finance and accounting, most recently served as the AARP Virgin Islands State president, another business school in the region. But he also has previous private-sector experience, including managing director of TRW Turbine Overhaul Services in the Republic of Singapore, which manufacturers aircraft components.
Professor Evan Duggan, former head of DOMS and the new dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, said Monday that the merger will correct an anomaly, that of having two business schools on one campus. Duggan replaced Professor Mark Figueroa at the social sciences faculty, under which MSBM falls.
"We now have corrected the anomaly and the brand dilution and brand bifurcation it created in the mind," said Duggan at Monday's official launch of the renamed MSBM.
UWI is touting the new school as the first in the region to offer both undergrad- and graduate-level studies and is also reportedly now the largest regional business school.
Duggan, insisting that the merger was not simply a matter of cutting operational costs, said: "We did not go after this for gaining false efficiencies. Through this merger, we will achieve critical mass, plus the economies of scale and scope to address our goals."
The goals, he said, included research as well as more teaching options and flexibility.
"Both MSB and the department of business have passed quality audits, but there were some deficiencies identified. The merger will address this. It will also allow for AACSB accreditation, which is the best globally."
Principal of UWI, Mona, Professor Gordon Shirley, said the new school will benefit from the "strong brand identity" of MSB while the new school will reflect the research and publication productivity of management studies. Shirley at one time served as head of MSB.
University officials declined to discuss the savings arising from the rolling of the two schools into one.
They now tout MBSM as being among the largest globally and regionally, with "the most expansive selection of programmes and courses in business education in the region and a wide resource pool of world-class academics and business leaders".
The programmes include a graduate diploma in business administration, BSc, MSc and MBA degrees, the executive MBA, PhD and DBA degree programmes and "a carefully selected suite of short courses and customised corporate programmes".
The merger continues a three-year programme at Mona to compete globally and attract international students that began with new medical and law schools.
Simmonds said AACSB accredit-ation now being sought by MSBM is not an end in else, but "a means to create quality and value not only for students but for society in general … . Our aim is to serve Jamaica, the region and really the world."