OVER the weekend, 17 Bahamians received masters degrees from the College of the Bahamas.
They are the first students to receive a Master of Business Administration degree (MBA) from a Bahamian institution.
Among the graduates are four women from RBC Royal Bank and RBC FINCO – a fact notable not only because of their prominent leadership positions om the bank, but alsp because RBC was instrumental in funding and helping to form the MBA programme.
“In 2008, RBC donated $1 million to COB for the creation of a Graduate Business Centre and to support the development of an MBA programme,” said Nathaniel Beneby, Jr, market head of personal banking for RBC in the Bahamas, Cayman and Turks and Caicos.
“At the time, this was the largest corporate donation in the history of the College and among RBC’s most significant donations ever in the Bahamas.
“RBC places a high value on education, recognising that the Bahamas is part of an increasingly global economy. Promoting opportunities for higher education and learning will enable us to compete more effectively.”
All of the RBC graduates gave the college high praise for the quality of the courses and calibre of the professors.
“The College of the Bahamas has the best MBA offered locally,” said Tanya McCartney, managing director of RBC FINCO, who received her diploma on Sunday.
“The standard is high and lecturers brought immense experience and networks for students to leverage. The exercises we had to complete opened me up to a whole new way of thinking,” Ms McCartney said.
She especially appreciated the off-island intensive study opportunity in Boston, which focused on innovation. Dr Frederick Crane, executive professor at Northeastern University, facilitated the exchange, in partnership with Dean Remelda Moxey and Dr Sonya Wisdom from COB, lining up lecturers from Harvard University and private sector consultants.
Robyn Brooks, RBC data centre manager in the Bahamas, valued the focus on leadership.
“This programme has really assisted me in fine-tuning my skills as a leader, and I have every intention of ‘paying it forward,’” she said. “I have truly gained a greater understanding and appreciation for the role that leaders play in shaping minds at every level and in building the overall effectiveness of our workforce.”
Participation in the programme has already had a direct impact on the career of Irgentina Sargent.
“When I began the programme, I was head of information technology here; now I’m manager of implementation and initiatives,” she said. “The MBA courses in project management really prepared me for this role.
“Designing projects from scratch, and going through the phases of a project to implementation, preparing and analysing budgets, conducting research were all instrumental in giving me the confidence I needed to accept this role.”
Remelda Moxey, dean of the School of Business at COB, said she was proud of both the new MBA programme and the first graduating class.
“We thank RBC for its financial support and also for informing the content of the programme. The College has a responsibility to develop a cadre of leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators and financial decision makers capable of adapting to a constantly changing global environment,” she said. “One of the criteria for becoming a university is offering masters degrees.
RBC through its gift has enabled the college to create this MBA programme and accomplish one of its primary objectives as it moves toward university status.”
Claudia Campbell, assistant manager of financial control and planning for RBC in the Bahamas, and recipient of the Graduate Award for Academic Excellence as the most outstanding student in the cohort, added this about her experience: “The work is intense, but there is an undeniable feeling of pride for being a part of something that will inevitably foster positive change in the development of the Bahamas. I would encourage anyone interested in pursuing a post-graduate degree to enrol in the College of the Bahamas.”