MBA Programs between ensuring quality and retaining applicants: The case of SQU

Ali Hamad Al-Badi, Syed Jafar Naqvi, Nick Naser Manochehri, Ali Nasser Al-Solbi

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper discusses the design characteristics of an MBA program at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU). SQUis located in Muscat the capital of Sultanate of Oman. The MBA program at SQU started in September of 2004 following an in-depth feasibility study to ascertain the demand for such a program. SQU policy has been to offer an academically reputable and competitive MBA program and possibly a role-model for other colleges to follow, creating competitive advantage over others due to the excellent reputation of SQU. Hence, competitive admission criteria and screening procedures were established to ensure high quality standards of intake in line with internationally recognized programs. Initially, many students were interested in the program; roughly 90 applications were received. Twenty of applicants were selected to start their MBA program upon condition of fulfilling some of the set criteria, which included English Language proficiency, GMAT and/or taking bridging courses for nonbusiness graduates. An additional 20 students were put on reserve. However, only 2 students actually joined the program and the rest withdrew their applications or simply did not show up. This raises the concern of whether it is financially feasible to offer the program given the low intake. Furthermore, there was a need to explore the rationale/justifications for the low number of interested applicants, giving the overwhelming number of interested parties during the feasibility study. This study aims at examining the selection process at the SQU MBA program in relation to other respected institutions in the Gulf and other countries worldwide to determine the reason(s) for the low intake into the program; whether there is a need to modify the admission/selection criteria particularly the GMAT and whether there are other mitigating factors that need to be examined to ensure that the program is sustained without compromising its quality and integrity.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Event9th IBIMA Conference on Information Management in Modern Organizations - Marrakech, Morocco
Duration: Jan 4 2008Jan 6 2008


Other9th IBIMA Conference on Information Management in Modern Organizations


  • Admission criteria
  • GMAT
  • MBA Program
  • MBA Students
  • Sultan Qaboos University

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems and Management


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