The Commonwealth Executive Master of Business Administration (CEMBA) and Executive Public Administration (CEMPA) programme was established in 2002 by a consortium of higher education institutions. Through open and distance learning (ODL), the programme is designed to provide access to higher education in business and public administration for learners who cannot attend classes via conventional programmes, whether for economic, geographic or other reasons.
Since 2002, the programme has enrolled over 28,000 learners and graduated over 11,000. One such graduate is Raymond Loh from Malaysia. COL Education Specialist Dr Godson Gatsha asked him about why he chose the programme and what he has accomplished since.
Godson: Why did you choose to read for your MBA at such an advanced age?
Raymond: It was December 2008. I was turning 50 the following year and had just come off a failed business venture – failed because it did not bear the return on investment as expected. Going back to employment again was out of the question at that age, and relaunching myself by starting another business of my own seemed too big, too burdensome and too energy-sapping. If I were to relaunch myself into business, I knew that I would need a well-rounded business education to help me not only build another successful business but to rightfully own, manage and control it this time.
Godson: So you went shopping for an MBA and finally signed up for the CEMBA programme with Wawasan Open University (WOU). What were your reasons for such a decision?
Raymond: Although the WOU CEMBA had a pre-fixed “e” for “Executive,” I soon found out that it is an earned post-graduate degree, requiring submissions of assignments, a researched thesis and written examinations every semester. Also, the Commonwealth tag or recognition would greatly increase my employment mobility, as the MBA is well recognised in Commonwealth countries. The tipping point was the ODL mode of learning, which provided me with flexibility and face-to-face support.
Godson: And what were the key impacts or benefits from your CEMBA program following your graduation?
Raymond: I am proud to say that even before the final CEMBA semester, I was hired as the branch manager of a global relocation company with offices in more than 60 countries, and two years later, I was headhunted to be the country manager of a Singapore-based moving company. At the end of 2015, I decided to break out on my own and set up Raven Man Relo Services, offering full-service moving and relocation services to clients in over 40 countries. Everything had to be set up, from the brand name to the mission and vision, the logo, company registration, adherence to legal requirements and industry compliances, etc. Unreservedly I have to say that my CEMBA education helped to thrust me onto my own again and onto the global platform, too.
This interview has been edited and condensed.