Tun Abdul Razak University (MALAYSIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 2264-2275
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
The Malaysian education industry is getting more competitive by the day. With the small market size and the increasing number of players in the industry, universities find themselves at the mercy of students. Choice of strategy and an effective implementation of it draw the thin line between survival and mortality. The current study looks into a Malaysian private university’s adoption of entrepreneurship education as a differentiation strategy. For differentiation strategy to work, the so called distinguishing features must be visible to the customers. The success of the strategy on the other hand, is very much dependant on the ability of the firm to deliver what is needed and perceived to be of value for clients. Taking these two facts into account, this study therefore, capitalizes on students’ views to answer its two research questions; Is there any apparent difference between entrepreneurship education and business studies? And what is needed if a student wants to build his own business? The result of the research is hoped to better guide the university mobilizing its resources to fit its strategy.

The research adopts a qualitative approach in answering its two main questions. Typical to the qualitative methodology, data sources are triangulated for an in-depth understanding of the issues at hand as well as to establish both validity and reliability. Data were gathered from individual interviews and focus groups conducted on students from Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and Bachelor of Business Management (Entrepreneurship) (BBME). BBA is one of the university’s best selling programs but it is considered as a generic business studies program. BBME on the other hand, is supposedly tailor-made to suit the new vision of the university that is to focus on entrepreneurship and leadership. The two programs are offered in different campuses but certain courses share the same lecturers and teaching and learning material. Although the university is a private entity, it is bound by certain regulations set by the government for example in terms of credit hours and evaluation requirements. The programs therefore share some macro communalities.

Data from the interviews and focus groups were transcribed verbatim and analysis was made using the constant comparison method. The students interviewed generally perceive BBME as a specialized program meant to create business founders. BBA on the contrary, is seen as a mould for industry-ready worker. Both BBA and BBME students iterated the tendency of most instructors to emphasize on theory rather than practical in their teaching approach but BBME students reported more variety of teaching styles in their lecturers particularly as they advance in their program. Four basic themes were unearthed in terms of how the university’s two programs differ. The points of divergence are program content, mode of delivery, lecturers and program outcome. The details of each of these distinguishing features of the programs are described used as a basis for further investigation into how the university can help students to found their own business upon graduation. Analytical hierarchy process (AHP) method is proposed based on the listed details to assist the university in prioritizing its resource focus.
Entrepreneurship education, differentiation.