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Interview with Dean Ravi Kumar about EQUIS accreditation2010-05-12Hit:9170

Ravi Kumar, Dean of KAIST Business School, usually spends his lunch breaks talking with students and faculty at the school cafeteria. He often reminds his students that their competitors are not students at local universities, but rather those at world’s top business programs such as Harvard Business School and Stanford School of Business. He also tries to spend more face time with the faculty members. Having a direct face to face time with his faculty and students is the Korean leadership style he managed to adapt during the very first weeks since his appointment last July.

“When I was the Vice Dean at USC Marshall School of Business, my lunch was usually a sandwich at my desk writing emails with faculty and students. In Korea, I realized that more is achieved by eating together face to face. This is the way to encourage people and avoid any misunderstandings. But I find that Korean people eat very fast!”

Dean Kumar is the first foreigner to take the position as Dean of a business school program in Korea. He came to Korea on suggestion by President Nampyo Suh leaving USC, where he worked for the last 22 years. Last March, KAIST Business School received the EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System) accreditation from EFMD, in less than a year since Dean Kumar first took office last year.

“The EQUIS accreditation is famous for its strict standard in choosing its qualified schools. I believe it will help to attract more talents from all across Asia. It is my objective to increase the international student ratio to 20%, double the current ratio.

KAIST Business School has started as KGSM in 1996 and since then has added KGSF and KSIM in 2006. Dean Kumar oversees all three programs. KAIST is the first school in the country to begin the MBA program. 13 schools have followed suit since.

“Compared to world’s top MBA programs in the United States which have been around for more than 100 years, Korean business schools are still in the beginning. I see a lot of demand for MBA programs in the country. Universities have more reason to establish qualified MBA programs. But it is important to maintain the high quality of faculty and challenging research environment for the students.”

International students have the impression that Korean students write down everything in class and study alone at home; however, Dean Kumar says that he feels no difference between Korean students he encountered here and those at the top class business schools in the world. “If there is any concern, it’s that Korean students definitely have the talent, but they tend to limit their potential to domestic opportunities. They are needed by global companies who want qualified employees who can adapt to changing environment and can excel at problem solving. I will feel that I have succeeded at my job when these global companies express gratitude to KAIST for having educated and prepared such talents they have hired.”

Contact : Lee, Sohyun ( sohyun.c.lee@kaist.ac.kr )