Exciting news awaits student aspirants seeking master’s-level education in the UK as SP Jain London School of Management, a partner school of SP Jain Global, has been granted degree-awarding powers by the Office for Students, UK.
SP Jain School of Global Management, an Indian-origin Australian business school renowned for its modern, relevant, and practical approach to global business education, operates campuses in Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, and Sydney, offering multi-city undergraduate and postgraduate programs. During our recent conversation with Mr Nitish Jain, Founder and President of the SP Jain Group, he shed light on the significance of this accomplishment as the first Indian-origin institution to receive degree-awarding powers in the UK. Join us as we explore the institution’s unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional education and nurturing future global business leaders. Keep reading to discover more!
Q1. Congratulations on the recent achievement of SP Jain London School of Management being granted degree-awarding powers. Can you tell us more about this milestone? What exactly does it mean?
If you make a partner in the UK, essentially, you’ll be giving out the partner’s degrees, and you will have to follow the partner’s curriculum, assessment, and so on. So, you’re really governed by the partner; in a sense, you’re a glorified recruitment agent for the partner. This is the basic way things are. On the other hand, SP Jain London has its own degree awarding rights, so we can set our own curriculum, which is usually very different, far more practical, and relevant. We can appoint our own faculty, and we are very well known for the engaged learning we provide our students. We can deliver the program at our own campus, which is absolutely cutting-edge and modern. And finally, at the end of the program, students get an SP Jain London degree, which is what they had enrolled for to begin with.
So, I think it has several benefits that we can give our own degrees. And I have to say, with some pride, that SP Jain London is the only Indian-origin college to be able to get this degree awarding powers, and we have jumped the queue. Many others were in line before us, but they looked at our reputation and gave us these special powers. In fact, we’re only the second international university in the world to be granted this extraordinary power. It’s called new degree awarding powers, which are given to universities even before they start. We haven’t even started our operations as a b-school. Still, we have the degree awarding right with us.
Q2. What does it mean for SP Jain London School of Management to receive degree-awarding powers from the Office for Students (OFS)? How does this set you apart from other institutions and universities in the UK?
While it doesn’t really set us apart from the local UK universities, it does bring us in line with them. When attending the London School of Economics, for example, you would receive an LSC degree, which is a UK qualification. Similarly, at SP Jain London, students also obtain the same UK qualification upon completing the program.
However, we derive several unique benefits from having London as our fifth campus (albeit under a different entity), alongside our existing four campuses in Sydney, Singapore, Mumbai, and Dubai.
These campuses cater to the diverse needs and preferences of our students, offering them choices such as studying in London, experiencing multiple campuses, or spending a term abroad. For instance, a student can choose to join us in Singapore, Sydney, or Mumbai and then spend a term in London before returning to one of our global campuses to complete the program and receive a degree awarded by SP Jain School of Global Management. Alternatively, students can initially join us in Mumbai, Singapore, or any other campus and transfer to the UK, enabling them to obtain the UK qualification. Lastly, students can directly join the UK program if that is their preference.
So, although our qualifications align with those of the local UK universities, we offer increased options and flexibility to our students. This accommodates their desires for various educational experiences, whether it be studying in London, exploring multiple campuses, or selecting a specific program structure that suits their preferences.
Q3. How will having degree awarding powers enable SP Jain to shape its curriculum and course structure? What benefits will it bring to the students?
SP Jain is renowned for its cutting-edge curriculum, setting us apart from the conventional practises typically observed in UK universities. Instead of relying on lecture-oriented PowerPoint presentations, we prioritise engaged learning and leverage various technologies in our teaching approach. For instance, we incorporate real-time polling into our classes on a regular basis. This distinctive pedagogy and teaching methodology make our programs truly unique.
Let me illustrate this with a simple example from our BBA program. While most UK undergraduate programs span three years, our program extends to four years—a rather unconventional approach. However, this is made possible due to our possession of degree-awarding rights. If we were affiliated with another university, a four-year program would not be permissible. Our four-year program stands out as it provides students with the opportunity to study and intern throughout the entire duration. As a result, our graduates emerge as more mature and experienced individuals compared to those who have only completed a three-year program without such extensive practical experience. I believe this is a key factor contributing to the immense popularity of our program.
Q4. Is there any specific plan or initiative that you are looking to implement as a result of this recognition for our student community that they should be excited about?
I wouldn’t say anything special, but it is an incredible milestone for the school. I may emphasise that SP Jain is the only one to get these rights. They recognise the quality of what we do outside the UK, and they said we would love to have SP Jain in the UK. So, in a sense, they put us right on top of their prestigious institutions that already operate in the UK. And they very much liked our unique model and our innovative use of technology. With SP Jain coming in, we will increase the landscape of education, and our programs are not just for Indian students. We would be getting a lot of local, domestic British students. We would also be getting students from all over the world, including Europe, the Americas, and other Asian countries. So, we would have a global campus, which would make it much more interesting for students because they could learn from each other.
Moreover, we will offer British students the option to study at one of our existing campuses. This feature holds immense appeal as it enhances their exposure to the world and emphasises the importance of global learning.
Q5. As the first Indian-origin institution to receive degree awarding power in the UK, what message do you believe this achievement sends to the other institutions in the country?
I believe it’s crucial to challenge the status quo and shift our mindset. It’s about having self-belief and striving to become world-class. There are no quick fixes or shortcuts. We should aspire to be global contenders and consistently deliver exceptional quality that can rival the finest universities worldwide. Instead of compromising on quality or lowering fees, our focus should remain on achieving a world-class benchmark. While alternative models may exist, it’s important to recognise that they don’t lead to a truly outstanding education.
Q6. How do you anticipate this will contribute to the rising standards and reputation of India’s higher education at the global level?
I believe this will have a very strong impact because everyone in the UK looks at us as an Indian institution. And they also feel that the time has come for Indian institutions to be known for the high-quality research and talent that our colleges produce. That means our students would get top jobs, even in the UK. In short, we would be competing with the best in the UK.
This is a very favourable position for us. So, along with the government’s agenda of putting India on the world map, I think we are an example of that. The UK has a Prime Minister of Indian origin, and there are lots of other people who are very successful there from our roots. We’re really at the top of the league, and we’re world-class. But it’s our goal to really get very high-end graduate outcomes. Our students are definitely smarter than what you would normally find in the UK; of course, Cambridge and other top universities would have very clever students. But even in these other institutions, there are 80% of foreigners and only 20% of British students. The UK is a very global country. They’re looking to attract talent from around the world. And I think SP Jain will clearly produce and add to the talent of the Indians in the UK.
Q7. Could you also share with us what kind of faculty pool we are expecting at the London campus?
We would be mainly recruiting local British faculty who would impart British education to our students. We may also get a few faculties from our other campuses to come to the UK to teach and add to the overall diversity. But it would be predominantly a UK-driven organisation, no different than one of the local universities because when students come to London, they expect UK education, not an Indian education delivered in the UK.
Q8. The recent exchange and articulation agreement with SP Jain School of Global Management is an exciting development. How do you envision this collaboration benefiting students from both institutions?
The integration of SP Jain School of Global Management with SP Jain London will bring tremendous benefits, particularly in terms of providing students with the opportunity to study in the UK. This is achieved through an exchange program that allows them to spend a term or a year in London, which has proven to be highly appealing to students. We have already witnessed a significant increase in student interest as a result.
Through an articulation agreement, students can not only transfer to London but also earn a UK degree. This arrangement offers them the best of both worlds. They can continue to experience the vibrant cities of Mumbai, Singapore, Dubai, or Sydney, while also having the option to study in London. Alternatively, they can choose to exclusively transfer to the UK and obtain a UK qualification. The same opportunity extends to UK students as well. We are actively recruiting domestic students from the UK, and they too are enthusiastic about the prospect of studying outside their home country. It is uncommon for a UK university to provide such opportunities to study in locations like Sydney, Singapore, Dubai, or Mumbai.
The ability for both sides to collaborate and offer these exchange or articulation programs is truly exceptional. I am not aware of any other institute that offers such a wide range of choices to students. Today’s young students highly value the freedom to decide where they want to study, and this flexibility is tremendously exciting for them.
Q9. What inspired the development of your unique multi-campus model with diverse cultures and industry exposure, and why did you choose to include the London as one of the campuses?
SP Jain came to being in the year 2004 with a civil philosophy. As the business world has gone global, business schools, too, should be global. And with that, we should produce students at a multicultural level who are equipped to understand how business is done in other regions of the world, how they can leverage those opportunities, and analyse the threats of doing business outside their home country. So, it was a very exciting model, and fortunately for us, the model worked. That’s the reason why students join us because of our global learning model.
And London because we are a very student-centred school, which means that we want to do what students want and what students want to learn.
The significant interest in visa applications indicates the appeal of studying in London. The location of our campus in Canary Wharf, right at the heart of the business district, adds to the excitement. Being situated amidst renowned banks and consulting firms provides students with unparalleled access to the action. Additionally, top companies like Waitrose, along with numerous others, are within a 5-minute walk from our campus. This proximity facilitates guest speaker engagements and opens avenues for part-time employment and project opportunities for students. It presents an intriguing and thrilling prospect for Indian students to consider studying in the UK, either for a term or by transferring and obtaining a UK qualification.
Q10. What guidance would you offer to students aspiring to establish a global career? In your perspective, what are the three implicit principles of success?
In my perspective, the foremost key to success, particularly in a global context, is resilience. Consider our own example: we originate from a distinct culture compared to what prevails in the UK, Singapore, Australia, or Dubai. Although there may be superficial similarities, the underlying dynamics are quite different. However, our unwavering motto from the beginning has been resilience. It entails comprehending expectations and adapting ourselves accordingly. Therefore, adaptability and resilience are crucial. Resilience means facing adversity head-on, persevering, and maintaining confidence. Another essential factor is maintaining focus, whether it pertains to your personal goals, business ventures, or company. In my opinion, resilience, adaptability, and focus are the three indispensable elements for achieving success.
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