Since 1999, the College of Business Administration has had a strong commitment to Jamaica and recently took the next step by establishing an advisory board for its two programs there: the International Executive MBA (IEMBA) and the Master of Science in Human Resources Management (MSHRM). Courses are taught at the University College of the Caribbean (UCC) in Kingston, enabling students to gain a graduate degree from Florida International University without having to interrupt their careers.
“Our stay in Jamaica demonstrates the college’s commitment to this market as well as something more altruistic: a willingness to assist the country in the nobler goal of economic development fueled by individuals with a quality business education,” said Donald Roomes, faculty director, IEMBA. “The establishment of an advisory board is critical to the viability and delivery of a high-quality and competitive program in Jamaica.
“The advisory board will help us to maintain the program curriculum’s relevance to the Jamaican community,” said Flavia Iuspa, program manager for the Jamaica programs. “We would like their help in marketing the programs and facilitating job placement for our graduates as well as in volunteering as guest speakers in our courses.”
The contingent from the university was impressed by the caliber of advisory board members, who are among the key business leaders in the country.
“The initial meeting was a success, as we were able to make a connection with some of the very best in the country,” Roomes said.
Similarly, the board members were impressed by the contingent from the Chapman Graduate School.
“What stood out for me was the clear signal of seriousness that the university communicated by the number and level of persons it sent to the meeting,” said Jerome Miles (IEMBA ’01), director of business development, Grace Kennedy and Company.
In addition to Roomes, who presented the IEMBA curriculum and discussed the program’s learning objectives, and Iuspa, who did the same for the MSHRM, José de la Torre, dean of the Chapman School, set out the goals for the advisory board; Barry Shiflett, director, career management services, discussed what Career Management Services offers graduate students and alumni, and Monique Catoggio (EMBA ’03), director, alumni and partner relations, presented alumni services. Natalia Echeverría, corporate relations manager for the Chapman School handled logistics for the meeting stateside; she coordinates the activities of all the Chapman School’s program advisory boards.
“As a member of the first IEMBA graduating class in Jamaica, I found the program excellent and am happy for the opportunity to contribute to ensuring that it remains that way,” said Miles. “I hope the profile of the members and the quality of their input will give the Jamaican graduates of the university a distinct advantage over other regional graduates for employment in Jamaica and the Caribbean.”
Stephen Dawkins ( IEMBA ’03), trade marketing manager, Wray & Nephew Limited and currently president of the Jamaica Business Alumni Association, shared Miles’s view.
“I see the advisory board as a way to ensure that the curriculum is designed to fit the needs of our people and provides opportunities to many who have not had them,” Dawkins said. “The IEMBA program—offered here in Jamaica where I could work and still continue my education—was a key ingredient in my success.”
He recognizes the special role that alumni can play.
“The support of the Alumni Association is a critical success factor, targeting groups that will recognize the school as a premium choice,” he said. “It is the alumni who are the most effective marketing communicators to a prospective group as we are the ones who can speak to the program’s benefits.”
According to Catoggio, “The presence of alumni like Jerome and Stephen on the board will ensure that all board members understand the importance of alumni relations and help us as we aim to improve and grow our relationships with our alumni in Jamaica.”
Winston Adams, principal/CEO; Geraldine Adams, CEO; Rhena Williams,dean of international programs, Everton Pryce, director of distance learning, Yvonne Bignall, vice president of academic affairs, and Trish Steger, director of the UCC Foundation, represented UCC at the meeting.