More MBA programs now offer Islamic finance than ever before. But MBA students are still turning to training institutes for practical knowledge.
DUBAI: — while universities around the world quickly add Islamic finance to their MBA programs, students are still turning to professional training institutes for practical knowledge. MBA programs are faced with two options: find talent internally to teach the more practical aspects of Islamic finance to increasingly theory-savvy students; or turn to the institutes.
With most MBA professors never having worked inside a bank, it is more likely that universities will turn to professional training institutes for practical training to complement the theory in their programs.
One university did just this. La Trobe University, one of Australia’s oldest universities, used e-learning from Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance to supplement its coursework for several years: students received their regular Islamic finance instruction on campus, and logged into Ethica’s online modules for technical coursework. La Trobe University’s Associate Professor Ishaq Bhatti said, “With Ethica, our Islamic finance program now extends far beyond our physical campuses. For the first time ever, we now tap into the tremendous demand for Islamic finance from students all over the world.”
Another success story comes from Kiran Kumar, an MBA from ICFAI Business School (IBS), one of India’s leading business schools. During his MBA program, he interned at Bank Nizwa in Oman for three months. Shortly after the internship began, he felt the need to supplement the theory from his MBA program with some practical knowledge.
Kiran said, “Theory and practice are two different things. To further solidify my knowledge on how Islamic finance practically works in banks, I decided to pursue a certification course. This is where Ethica’s CIFE came in. Their lectures are shaped more towards how Islamic instruments work in a bank using real life examples to understand the basics. Their simple yet effective videos helped me understand how the work in Bank Nizwa’s departments are shaped using Islamic instruments and also helped me perform jobs given to me with much more clarity. Ethica’s CIFE has helped me become much more confident in my knowledge of Islamic finance and, combined with my experience at the bank, has motivated me to work in this industry in the future.”
But why would Kiran need practical knowledge if he is already sitting inside a bank doing an internship? Because often working inside a bank — amid the day to day minutiae of clients and paperwork — one loses sight of the overall context, the big picture. What is the point of Islamic finance?
Lola Boatwright, who joins Ethica’s CIFE this year and INSEAD’s prestigious MBA program in France next year, may be one of the many people finding meaning in their careers through Islamic finance, saying, “I’ve become even more convinced that Islamic finance is the key to unlocking the potential of finance to promote well-being and avoid the instability of the cycles of boom and bust.”