29 Oct 2017
3 min read
Over the course of the 18 years of its existence, Ace Institute of Management has built a reputation for providing exceedingly high quality education. The college has established itself as one of the leading management institutes, not only in Kathmandu Valley, but also throughout the nation. It solidified its position even further when it received the Best Business School of the Nation award in July 2017.
In this interview with VMAG’s Abhinav Amatya, Ashish Tiwari, Principal/Director at Ace Institute of Management talks about how the college has evolved over the years and how it is striving to further improve the quality of education they provide.
Getting Ace going
Established in 1999, Ace Institute of Management started out with the +2 programme, the BBA programme—which was a three-year course back then—and the Executive MBA programme, all of which were affiliated to Pokhara University. We were the first institution in the country to offer the Executive MBA course to students, and we decided to do so in order to meet the needs of business professionals who wanted to study even as they held down a day job. Over the years, we’ve been able to offer more courses, such as the full-time MBA course, the BBA-BI course and even an A-level course. I think we’ve been able to make it this far because of the amount of trust that our stakeholders and students have put into our institution. Our biggest strength has to be the positive appraisals about us that our students spread once they graduate.
The initial challenges
As with any new venture, there were multiple challenges in the initial phases. Student enrollment was the first challenge because people obviously weren’t familiar with our brand, and we didn’t have much basis to convince people to enroll in our courses. However, as more students started attending our courses, they began to understand that we were delivering exactly what we were promising, if not more. As a result, people started trusting us, and our school started becoming known for delivering a great education.
Another challenge for us had to do with creating the faculty and management teams. It was essential to get the right people on board in order to start out strong, to establish a sustainable system around the college, to come up with appropriate policies for the institution and to build on the credibility of the brand.
Differentiating Ace from the competition
The biggest factor that differentiates us from other institutions is the level of individual attention we give on students and the great academic environment we have created. Every individual is valued and nurtured in the best possible way. We operate on the assumption that every student is unique in his or her own way and possesses various strengths and weaknesses. Our goal is to focus on enhancing their strengths and helping them overcome their weaknesses. Another factor that sets us apart from other institutions is the high absorption rate of our students by the job market. Our graduates are widely sought-after and regarded highly across sectors, as an Ace degree connotes a high level of quality.
Focus on extracurricular and co-curricular activities
We believe that much learning happens outside the classroom, through co-curricular and extracurricular activities. Students can be holistically developed only if their experiences in the classroom are in synergy with their experiences outside, and at Ace, we strive to achieve just that. We emphasise the intellectual, social, emotional and physical development of our students. There is a plethora of clubs in the college that have to do with various activities such as event-management, sports, theatre and photography, to name a few. The campus is always bustling with activities being conducted by these clubs. And the interesting thing here is that it’s entirely the students who are behind the management of these events. They are the ones who conceptualise, plan, manage and execute the events. That gives them practical knowledge in marketing, human resource management and finance, and they also develop organisational and team skills.
The feedback we receive from our students and graduates is very positive. The students feel that they have received their money’s worth. Most of our graduates say that their time at Ace has been transformational. For example, we have had students who weren’t too good at academics say that after their Ace experience (or “Aceperience”, as we call it), they are more surefooted when it comes to academics. Similarly, students who were known to be highly introverted and unable to speak publicly in their first year usually overcame those obstacles to become competent public speakers. Such transformations are testaments to the fact that the college has been able to create value for them and that their Aceperience has been nothing short of life-changing.
The core philosophies
Our core values include the following: honesty in one’s work, sincerity in one’s relationships, respect for the self and others, responsibility for one’s actions, learning from one’s mistakes, care for resources, adherence to regulations, and having an inquisitive spirit. These are the values that we aim to inculcate in our students. We want them to become not only good professionals, but also good citizens.
About Nepal’s education system
Compared to other developed countries, we operate in a small market, which means that the employment opportunities in the management sector are fewer here than in other countries. Also, Nepal’s management schools are still in a relatively nascent stage in comparison to those of other countries, where such institutions have been operating for much longer. However, in terms of academic rigour and quality, I don’t think Ace is lagging too far behind. The proof for this lies in the fact that our graduates are performing very well both here and abroad.