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Graduate School of Management,
International Islamic University Malaysia, Malaysia

I. The ABEST21 Comprehensive Review

1. ABEST21 Accreditation Result

“ABEST21 (THE ALLIANCE ON BUSINESS EDUCATION AND SCHOLARSHIP FOR TOMORROW, a 21st century organization) hereby certifies that MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM of the GRADUATE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY MALAYSIA, MALAYSIA has generally met ABEST21 Management Accreditation Standards and the quality maintenance and improvement of education and research in the aforementioned program are promising and good. Accreditation commences April 1, 2019 for a five-year period.”

2. Comprehensive Review

General comments:
1. GSM has been restructured and relocated back to IIUM campus. This is a good move for GSM to sustain. Feedback from stakeholders regarding this move was also positive. With the new space and new structure of the academy, GSM would be able to move forward easily.
2. The program is running based on the MQA requirements. The teaching faculty is selected from relevant kulliyyah and those from industry. Team teaching is also implemented despite some issues raised by students.
3. Basic facilities for teaching and students’ support are available and meet minimum requirements for a business school.
4.There is an adequate number of administrators to manage the program.
5. Actions are taken to promote the programs so that the number of intake can be increased.

3. Good Practice in Management Education

1) Title of Good Practice in Management Education

Contemporary Islamic Professional Management

2) Reason for selecting the title stated above

The School showed a unique characteristic pertaining to the Islamization agenda. This is in line with the university’s mission and vision. The School has the right eco-system to promote Islamic moral values and ethics, which are strongly embedded in the organizational culture of the School.

4. Matter to be noted

1) The School should develop a comprehensive training plan to improve staff’s skills and competencies.
2) GSM business model may have to be revised to sustain its operational costs. GSM may want to employ a number of contract/permanent staff members from the kulliyyah and from the industry in the long term.
3) GSM has no direct control over the lecturers from other departments/ kulliyyah, hence the School may not be able to fully determine the effectiveness of their teaching and research work, for example, GSM may find it difficult to ascertain whether program learning outcomes are achieved.
4) GSM should not have two separate sets of entry requirements for MBA program. It should only use the entry requirements declared to MQA whereby there is clause that working experience is an added advantage. This is imperative as both Full Time and Part Time students are studying to get the same degree. Separate entry requirements can be used only if GSM splits the program into MBA for FT and executive MBA for PT.
5) The concern is that the students are given an option either to do project/case or take an elective course. GSM may want to revise this as students will have different learning experience upon completion of the program.
6)There is a concern whether ABEST21 requirements are taken into account during program/curriculum review. The academic staff, during interview, only mentioned about MQA. Perhaps GSM should conduct ABEST21 awareness program for all academic staff involved.
7) The School is not fully utilizing the LMS for teaching purposes. GSM should look into this and aim for blended learning.
8) There are some concerns from students regarding quality of accommodation and facilities.
9) GSM should also look into admin staff welfare. GSM may consider converting good staff members into permanent positions and giving them proper training. There is also a request for staff exchange program with other institutions either local or overseas.

5. The Peer Review Team

Leader Dean Dr. Mohd Ridzan Darun
Faculty of Industrial Management, Universiti Malaysia Pahang, Malaysia
Member Dean Prof. Dr. Shahizan Bin Hassan
Othman Yeop Abdullah Graduate School of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia
Member Dean Prof. Dr. Seetharaman
SP Jain School of Global Management, Singapore

6. The Peer Review Schedule

Process Committee Date
Ratification of the ABEST21 Accreditation Board of Trustees Mar. 7, 2019
Recommendation of the ABEST21 Accreditation Accreditation Committee Mar. 7, 2019
Ratification of the PRT Review Report Peer Review Committee Mar. 6, 2019
Ratification of the Self-Evaluation Report Peer Review Committee Nov. 1, 2018
Implementation of the Peer Review Visit Peer Review Team Sep.20-21, 2018
Submission of the Self-Evaluation Report - Jun. 30, 2018
Ratification of the Quality Improvement Plan Peer Review Committee Nov. 25, 2017
Submission of the Quality Improvement Plan - Jun. 30, 2017

II. PRT Comments on the Self-Check/Self-Evaluation Analysis

1. The School's Mission Statement and Strategies

1) The School’s Mission Statement

The mission is well articulated. Strong emphasis on ethical and moral values, creativity, financial sustainability etc. is commendable. It is recommended to include faculty training and research as one of the missions.

2) The School’s Strategies for Quality Improvement

  • The School’s strategies in the areas of Curriculum and Academic Programs, administrative and operational matters, and marketing and promotion are well noted. To improve the quality of student cohort, the School can focus on stricter eligibility criteria in terms of standardized admission tests and longer and diverse experience of incoming students after their bachelor degree.
  • The initiatives that have been taken to improve the program are commendable. However, there is a major issue pertaining to the fact that GSM will have to rely on outside entity (kulliyyah) to exercise quality improvement such as curriculum review. GSM has only a small number of academic staff who are also office bearers. This might affect the process of quality improvement since GSM does not have control over teaching staff from kulliyyah.
    Having said that, the decision to relocate GSM back to IIUM campus is probably the right move to sustain. Feedback from stakeholders regarding this move was also positive. With the new space and new structure of the academy, GSM would be able to move forward easily.

3) Humanizing the School’s Management Education

  • The organization of iftar event, ummatic weeks and other events underscore the School’s priority to develop cross cultural awareness among students, faculty and staff. Having diverse and well experienced senior executives will help students academically. The School also can employ formal student clubs/organizations to promote these objectives.
  • GSM have done a good job in humanizing its management of the program.

4) Collaborating with Industries in Management Education

  • In addition to employing industry practitioners for teaching and seminars, the School can also explore projects and internships with companies to enhance the learning and application. As the School has already made the initial steps to engage the practitioners for teaching and seminars, it is relatively easier to implement these steps.
  • Practitioners are involved in teaching and other activities organized by GSM, which is commendable. However, the initiatives can be improved to include other initiatives such as joint research and publication collaborations (case studies etc.). But once again, this cannot be done as GSM has no control over academic staff from the kulliyyah who are involved in teaching on the program.

5) Globalizing the School’s Management Education

  • We commend the School’s diverse student cultures and various initiatives the School took to promote an understanding between cultures and on global intelligence. Moreover, the governance structure of the University is strong with diverse representations from OIC and eight governments. The School can encourage faculty level research and publications with faculty members from other universities, through exchange partnerships etc.
  • GSM/IIUM should also consider hiring more non-Muslim academic staff to globalize the School’s management of the program. This may attract more non-Muslim students from all over the world to join GSM/IIUM.

2. The School’s Educational and Research Activities

Chapter 1 Internal Quality Assurance

Standard 1: Administration and Governance

  • The administrative and governance structure of the School is good. The School can speed up setting of committees outlined in the self-check.
  • GSM should be independent and operate on its own or return back to the kulliyyah. It cannot operate under the academy which is also running other Schools which are not directly related to business and management.
  • GSM business model may have to be revised to be sustainable. Relying too much on the kulliyyah for paid teaching assignment affects operation costs and may not be sustainable in the long run.
  • GSM may want to employ a number of contract/permanent staff from the kulliyyah and from the industry so that in the long term it can be sustainable.

Standard 2: Self-Check/Self-Evaluation

  • The School should expedite the revival of alumni association to obtain valuable feedback and contribution. Automated online Teaching Evaluation Report (TER) should be complemented by regular town hall meeting with students and faculty to understand deeper issues. Overall, the School is on the track to achieve the objectives.

Standard 3: Improvement of Education and Research Environment

  • The School should elaborate on the terms of reference of various committees. Usually, a report is to be prepared for the Board of Directors detailing the outcomes actually achieved by each committee against the targets set. Report on the Strategic Plan is augmented by the consolidated results of regular student surveys and results of questionnaires completed by employers and any external reviews. Also, a review of existing regulations and courses should be done from time to time to rationalize and streamline the curriculum in line with latest global trends. Specifically, any modification to existing programs and courses is to be approved by the board after due review from external experts to ensure pedagogic innovations and emphasis on beyond classroom learning.
    Further, a clear research policy needs to be articulated outlining the School’s research objectives, and various support extended to faculty to enable conference attendance and publications in reputed peer reviewed journals.

Chapter 2 Mission Statement

Standard 4: Mission Statement

  • The School’s current mission statements cover all its strategic and operational activities. The mission can be adapted time to time to reflect the latest views of stakeholders.
  • The School has met the requirements but the link of its mission with IIUM’s mission must be clarified.

Standard 5: Mission Imperatives

  • The School’s mission imperatives meet all the necessary criteria. The School has met the standard.

Standard 6: Financial Strategies

  • The School depends mainly on tuition fees and investment income to sustain its operations. More can be done to increase the revenues in the area of Executive education, Expert consultancy to companies and Teaching and research fellowships from eminent alumni and corporations. A proactive involvement of School’s top management including the Director and Deans to obtain research grants and funding will help.
  • The School has taken many initiatives to sustain its financing. The School has also addressed the issue of decreasing number of MBA’s intake as explained during the PRT visit.

Chapter 3 Educational Programs

Standard 7: Learning Goals

  • It is noted that the School puts big emphasis on knowledge and skills. However, emphasis should also be put on “application of knowledge and skills”. This is to develop students to execute research-based project(s) within their respective areas of expertise and specialization with a high level of personal autonomy and accountability. Further, besides the alumni association, other stakeholders such as industry experts and external academic experts can be engaged to adapt the learning goals to meet the market demands.
  • GSM has done a good job in establishing the learning goals of all courses based on the MQA requirements. However, there is a concern of whether GSM also assesses whether program learning outcomes are met. It is not clearly presented as to how these PLOs are achieved/ monitored.

Standard 8: Curriculum Policy

  • The School meets the requirements for the curriculum policy. Adherence to Ministry and MQA guidelines ensures that the requirements would be met.
  • The policy is in place and curriculum review process is done properly. However, there is a concern whether ABEST21 requirements are taken into account during program/curriculum review. The academic staff, during interview, only mentioned about MQA. Perhaps GSM should conduct ABEST21 awareness program for all academic staff involved.

Standard 9: Management of Curriculum

  • The School meets the criteria. The School’s intention to work with Office of Institutional and Quality Education Management (OQM) to achieve the objectives is noted
  • The review exercise is being conducted. The School has met the standard.

Standard 10: Improvement of Educational Quality

  • One suggestion to improve the feedback is to appoint a senior member of staff who will collect data systematically and collate these data in such a way as it can be used to measure performance and thereby monitor the efficiency and effectiveness of teaching year by year. This will involve the design of reliable survey instruments to collect the data impartially and to interpret these data responsibly.
  • The School has implemented many initiatives to improve educational quality. However there are some concerns which GSM may want to address:
    1. The concern is that the students are given an option either to do project/case or take an elective course. GSM may want to revise this as students will have different learning experience upon completion of the program.
    2. The School is not fully utilizing the LMS for teaching purposes. GSM should look into this and aim for blended learning.

Standard 11: Diploma Policy

The School has met the standard.

Standard 12: Learning Outcomes’ Review

  • The School meets the requirements concerning Learning Outcomes’ Review. Adherence to Ministry and MQA guidelines ensures that the requirements would be met.
  • Overall, GSM has done well in this aspect. However, some issues of concerns are:
    1. GSM has no direct control of the lecturers from other departments / kulliyyah and hence may not be able to fully determine the effectiveness of teaching and its delivery, for example, GSM may find it difficult to ascertain whether program learning outcomes are achieved.
    2. GSM perhaps can implement the documentation of assurance of learning for all courses in MBA as practiced by AACSB-accredited business schools. Through this, it would be able to identify loopholes in the teaching delivery/ approach that affect learning outcomes.

Standard 13: Globalization of Educational Programs

  • The School’s engagement of international scholars is well noted. In addition to these engagements, the School can also include global content in the course curriculum such as incorporating global case studies, simulations etc. Further, the School can also explore exchange programs with reputed international schools for the students to spend some time taking their courses as part of global immersion. This would help the School in its branding and promotion of its courses.
  • The School has done well in this category and has therefore meets the standard.

Chapter 4 Students

Standard 14: Student Profile

  • The School’s number of students enrolled is decreasing from 2015 to 2017. The School can improve its marketing and promotion of its courses. Further, entry requirements should be improved (English Language requirement, Admission test etc.) to ensure that the School has a quality student cohort.
  • The statistics given on student enrolment is not consistent. However, there is a declining trend in student intake which needs attention by the School.

Standard 15: Admission Policy

  • To improve the quality of student cohort, the School can focus on stricter eligibility criteria in terms of standardized admission tests and longer and diverse experience of incoming students after their bachelor degree. The School can admit students complying with the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning Standard as stipulated by MQA.
  • Generally, the admission policy is clear. However, GSM should not have two separate set of entry requirements for MBA program. It should only use the entry requirements declared to MQA whereby there is clause that working experience is an added advantage. This is imperative as both FT and PT students are studying to get the same degree. Separate entry requirements can be used only if GSM splits the program into MBA for FT and executive MBA for PT.

Standard 16: Student Selection

  • The School meets most of the criteria. As for fair opportunities in the selection processes, more details need to be provided.
  • The School has met the standard.

Standard 17: Student Support

  • The School mentions the availability of the Deputy Director and administrative staff for providing student support. However, support availability for students who are “at risk” i.e. who have academic or personal issues, and career placement support need to be established.
  • There are some concerns from students regarding quality of accommodation and facilities at GSM.

Standard 18: Student Incentive

  • The School meets all the criteria. School’s discount for academically bright students and initiatives for record maintenance are well noted.
  • The School has met the standard.

Standard 19: Student Diversity

  • It is good to note that the international student intake is increasing from 2015 to 2017. An aggressive marketing strategy will definitely help. The School meets all the criteria and is taking the right direction.
  • The School has met the standard.

Chapter 5 Faculty

Standard 20: Faculty Structure

  • The School meets all the criteria. The backup plan on the faculty management to ensure continuity of good and quality teachers is a good step. The School can increase the academic administrative posts as per the demand. The School has an impressive mix of faculty and is well supported by a large adjunct faculty.
  • GSM has a limited number of academic staff but gets support from the kulliyyah. The only concern is once again the fact that the School has no direct control over the supporting academic staff. GSM may want to employ more staff from the kulliyyah and from the industry.

Standard 21: Faculty Qualifications

  • The School’s faculty are qualified academics with good experience. The rules and standards for recruiting and promotion of faculty members are well defined. The mapping of promotion criteria with the KPIs is crucial to ensure the faculty development.

Standard 22: Maintenance of Education and Research Environment

  • With regard to managing part-time faculty (who are from kulliyah) and the faculty time, careful consideration is needed to ensure that the right faculty member teaches the right course irrespective of normal or short semester. Details of research funding and research policy need to be elaborated.
  • The School has met the standard.

Standard 23: Responsibilities of Faculty Members

  • The School meets all the criteria. Initiatives should be taken to ensure that the new recruits are familiarized with the School’s mission and vision. Feedback should be obtained from time to time to enhance faculty development.

Standard 24: Faculty Diversity

  • The School meets all the criteria. New exchange programs with reputed schools from Malaysia and abroad will help faculty diversity. Details on faculty diversity in terms of country of origin are missing.

Chapter 6 Educational Infrastructure

Standard 25: Educational Infrastructure

  • The School complies with all the criteria for Educational Infrastructure. The renovation plan is a right step. However, the details on dedicated facilities with latest technology that the School is planning to offer are missing.
  • Infrastructure can be improved especially the class facilities in line with what is expected for an MBA program (premium program).

Standard 26: Globalization of Educational Infrastructure

  • The School meets all the criteria. The residential and services department of the School needs to maintain the standards from time to time.
  • Good initiatives and planning.

III. “The School’s Quality Improvement Plan” Review

1. The School’s Quality Improvement System

The School’s Quality Improvement System is adequate and meets the criteria. The three major areas of (i) Academic Area, (ii) Operational and efficiency matters, and (iii) Marketing and Promotion are identified and addressed well. Being recognized with self-accreditation status by Ministry of Education provides the flexibility for the School to innovate in the curriculum, develop cutting edge new programs and efficiently manage the current programs.

2. The School’s Improvement Issues

The School can look into the following recommendations for improvement:

  • Include faculty training and research as one of the missions
  • Focus on stricter eligibility criteria in terms of standardized admission tests and longer and diverse experience of incoming students after their bachelor degree
  • Form student clubs/organizations to promote more student activities
  • Explore projects and internships with companies to enhance the learning and application of knowledge and skills
  • Encourage faculty research and publications in collaboration with other universities, exchange partnerships etc.

3. The School’s Improvement Initiatives

The School’s Improvement Initiatives in the area of (i) Curriculum and Academic Programs, (ii) Administrative and Operational Matters, and (iii) Marketing and Promotion are well noted and are in the right direction.

4. The School’s Action Plans for three years

All the action plans below are well defined and the School can ensure that these are implemented efficiently and in time: training.

  • Increase brand awareness and visibility of existing programs
  • Develop online platform to deliver selected programs on IIUM’s virtual campus
  • Develop postgraduate programs that can be delivered in non-residential mode with premium fees
  • Ensure continuous streams of training demands
  • Open regional learning centers for offering selected academic programs
  • Raise significant revenue from consultancy, media production and event management.

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