Makerere University Business School Co-Evolution Journey: The Role Of Extraordinary Performers
Kibirango, Moses M.
Munene, John C.
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For over 20 years, Makerere University Business School (MUBS)’s source of sustainable competitive advantage happened to be associated with a few forerunner employees’ unusual acts in solving prevailing challenges. Correspondingly, their leadership exhibited adaptability tendencies along with the ability to nurture generated ideas. Waswa Balunywa, one of the long-serving employees, joined the institution at its infancy in 1983 at the age of 28 years immediately after graduating with a Masters ofBusiness Administration (MBA) from the Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi. In the early 1980s, the Department of Commerce at Makerere University was small, with less than 100 students, compared to the current MUBS of more than 16,000 students. Balunywa was impressed with the way the Indian education sector supported private students and optimally used the existing infrastructure by letting private students attend classes during off-peak hours. In contrast, the Makerere University model, at that time when Balunywa joined, was based on having classes from 07:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. This meant all of the university’s classrooms remained idle from lunch time up to late in the evening across all its faculties. Moreover, by then, after the end of civil wars in 1986, Uganda was experiencing an emerging corporate world which attracted globally appealing business graduates to competitively administer their organisations. From 1987, Uganda’s leading local media (newspapers, TV and radio stations) and organisational notice boards were hyping the country’s scarcity of skilled graduates to take up business administration roles in accounting, marketing, human resource management and other corporate functions. In the early 1990s, a single company like Uganda Breweries Limited or the MadhvaniGroup of Companies, among other large private sector investor companies in the Ugandan industry, had a demand for over 50 graduates to perform in such corporate areas for its market competitiveness. Yet, Makerere University, the only university at that time, could produce only 40 business administration graduates because of its rigid 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. classes. The existing classes’ morning hours at that time did not cater to the corporate and working class who were craving to upgrade their respective qualifications through the same university. This, consequently, stimulated the University’s Department of Commerce to schedule evening classes, where Balunywa was just starting his career. Local radio/TV talk show moderators and guests were increasingly voicing their complaints against the university’s exclusive admission of only the top-performing applicants for the few government scholarship vacancies. In the same period (early 1990s), according to the literature, the university was experiencing numerous anomalies: gross underfunding; reductions in and late staff remunerations;infrastructure messiness and suffocation of academic program developments (Mamdani, 2007; Musisi and Muwanga, 2003; Gregorian et al., 2003; Court, 1999). Many of these hiccups were the consequences of the 1970-1990 political and economic turbulence in Uganda (Makerere University Stakeholders Consultative Meeting, 2006).
- Social Sciences