With more than 100 Bhutanese are still waiting to conduct their International English Language Testing System (IELTS) that has been on halt since last year, many have opted to study their masters degree at Royal Institute of Management (RIM), Thimphu.

Officials at RIM said enrolment for Masters in Business Administration (MBA) increased this year, as many civil servants and private employees want to upgrade their qualification.

RIM offers only the 18 months MBA course with 12 units. The course is offered in collaboration with the University of Canberra, Australia.

A civil servant, Chimmi Yuden, said she decided to take up MBA to upgrade her qualification although it has no relation to her present job.

“Given the current situation, it was better to study here because pandemic is not going to end soon,” she said. “Although it’s not related to my job, I thought I should have a management background and MBA is a good way to start.”

Another student Jigdrel, who does a technical job, said he decided to go for MBA to move to a managerial position.

For many, it was also because it was easier since they do not have to avail themselves extraordinary leave or have obligations later.

With classes happening only once a week, many could return to the office and study simultaneously.  This time RIM enrolled 76 students for 2021 intake divided into two batches. The admission trend has increased over the years, where they enrolled 42 in 2019 and 59 students last year.

RIM’s head of finance and business department, Chonga Zangpo, said many wants to study the MBA because of the high-quality course offered by a reputed Canberra University.

‘It’s also because the course is convenient for full-time working students that cannot avail study leave,” he said. “The course fee is also highly competitive for an international degree.”

He said the other reason could be that MBA is a relevant course for all professions irrespective of their first degree.

Chonga Zangpo said there is no data to collaborate the increase in the number of students to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, under the current partnership arrangements, RIM teaches eight units and professors from the University of Canberra lead the remaining four units.

RIM lecturers and professors are all certified and approved by the University of Canberra.

“Local lecturers and professors and some localised units could also be one reason the MBA course becoming popular,” Chonga Zangpo said.

A total of 198 students have graduated so far since MBA was started in 2012. RIM also offers a Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) Australia professional certification programme in partnership with CPA Australia.

However, with many Bhutanese willing to take up masters, many said that RIM should explore and have other administration or management or public administration courses.

Chonga Zangpo said since there is a constant demand for MBA course in the market, RIM would continue to provide only MBA. “But RIM might explore and offer other master courses depending on the demand and relevance of the courses in the country.”

The current consolidated course fee for domestic students (Bhutanese) is Nu 278,300 for the whole course and for international students is AUD 1,420 per unit.

A corporate employee, Pema Gyeltshen, said it was essential to add business knowledge to his career since he already has technical proficiency. “MBA is important in future when we try for an executive-level job or anywhere.”

By Yangchen C Rinzin