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Nurturing New Leaders in Malaysia

November 2012

By Robert Reid, executive vice president and chief accreditation officer, AACSB International

On a recent trip to Kuala Lumpur, I attended a crowded press conference that included the Minister of Education, university officials, and AACSB representatives. As the new chief accreditation officer at AACSB, I found myself with the distinct privilege of participating in a unique and memorable event—the recognition of the first business school in Malaysia, the Universiti Putra Malaysia, to earn AACSB Accreditation. The pride of those who lead the effort was tangible.

The Putra Business School (Putra) formerly known as the Graduate School of Management, has been established as a non-profit foundation as a private entity operating within a public institution. Therefore, in addition to earning accreditation, the business school was also granted autonomy and localized decision making, enabling them to pursue their steadfast mission of making "meaningful contributions toward wealth creation, nation building, and universal human advancement through the exploration and dissemination of knowledge."

AACSB Accreditation is based on a mission-driven review process. In the case of Putra Business School, their mission includes a focus on nurturing human leaders, founded on the premise that business is subordinated to making profits, but only as a means to attaining a higher purpose for human well being. They reject the view that human beings are simply resources—rather, they believe in human potential. They seek to produce graduates that are not only competent in their functional areas, but are also business leaders focused on developing human potential.

It was a memorable event and the pride and satisfaction of those involved was heartwarming. I wish continued success to UPM and look forward to learning about all of their future contributions to management education.