Bank­ing on busi­ness schools

CityPress - - Business - RONDA NAIDU busi­ness@city­

Busi­ness schools have been around since the early 1900s. Now, well over a cen­tury later, an ever-in­creas­ing num­ber of com­pa­nies see a masters of busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion ( MBA) qual­i­fi­ca­tion as a pre­req­ui­site for any se­nior man­age­ment role. There is lit­tle doubt that en­rolling for and com­plet­ing a busi­ness school qual­i­fi­ca­tion comes at a high price, both fi­nan­cially and emo­tion­ally. Th­ese pro­grammes can vary in du­ra­tion and type.

At Hen­ley Busi­ness School, a three-day fi­nance for non­fi­nan­cial man­agers pro­gramme costs R10 600, and the 22-day man­agers ac­cel­er­ated pro­gres­sion+ pro­gramme is R46 000.

Jonathan Fos­ter-Ped­ley, the dean and direc­tor at Hen­ley Busi­ness School, says: “Our prices are very much in line with the other lead­ing busi­ness schools in South Africa, even though we are part of a top 1% in­ter­na­tional busi­ness school.”

So, what ex­actly is a busi­ness school? Sim­ply put, a busi­ness school is a univer­sity-level in­sti­tu­tion that pro­vides spe­cial­ist cour­ses and pro­gramme or de­gree qual­i­fi­ca­tions in busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion or man­age­ment – nec­es­sary skills in the tech­nol­ogy-in­ten­sive public, pri­vate and non­profit sec­tors across the world.

Cour­ses cover a range of top­ics from eco­nom­ics to en­trepreneur­ship, and just about ev­ery­thing in-between like lo­gis­tics, mar­ket­ing and strat­egy.

Con­tent is de­liv­ered through the use of dif­fer­ent tech­niques. Th­ese in­clude case stud­ies, prob­lem­solv­ing anal­y­sis, strate­gic plan­ning, skills-based ap­proaches that em­pha­sise quan­ti­ta­tive meth­ods, busi­ness games, as well as the more tra­di­tional lec­ture method. Of­ten, busi­ness schools use a blend of dif­fer­ent ap­proaches.


Busi­ness schools are a bur­geon­ing in­dus­try in South Africa. The de­mand is so high that the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria’s Gordon In­sti­tute of Busi­ness Sci­ence (Gibs) has in­tro­duced ad­di­tional MBA pro­grammes for 2014, and Hen­ley Busi­ness School has grown its MBA pro­gramme al­most five­fold since a decade ago.

De­spite the high cost of th­ese pro­grammes, the trend shows no sign of slow­ing down. Ear­lier this year, Wits Busi­ness School (WBS) re­ported a high in­crease in reg­is­tra­tion num­bers.

With such high de­mand in the mar­ket, it is im­por­tant for in­di­vid­u­als who are con­sid­er­ing en­rolling for th­ese cov­eted qual­i­fi­ca­tions to do some re­search up­front. Rep­utable in­sti­tu­tions are sub­ject to ex­ter­nal au­dit­ing and are ac­cred­ited, ei­ther lo­cally or in­ter­na­tion­ally.

“Wher­ever you go in the world, peo­ple need to re­spect your qual­i­fi­ca­tion. Africa is in­creas­ingly be­com­ing a global player, so get an MBA that is known around the world, not just in­side our bor­ders,” ad­vises Fos­ter-Ped­ley.

But choos­ing a busi­ness school does not au­to­mat­i­cally trans­late into en­rol­ment. The top-rated schools are keenly fo­cused on at­tract­ing qual­ity can­di­dates, rather than merely in­creas­ing the quan­tity of en­rol­ments.


The SA Busi­ness Schools As­so­ci­a­tion notes that the MBA is “still the most sought af­ter qual­i­fi­ca­tion in the world”.

Why is there such a high de­mand for a busi­ness school qual­i­fi­ca­tion?

Shaun Rozyn, the ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of ex­ec­u­tive ed­u­ca­tion at Gibs, says: “In a com­pet­i­tive, glob­ally rel­e­vant econ­omy, se­nior ex­ec­u­tives need the ca­pac­ity to see the big­ger pic­ture, to grasp strate­gic ram­i­fi­ca­tions and al­lo­cate re­sources based on a gen­eral man­age­ment ethos.”

WBS head Steve Bluen says: “Key to any busi­ness is its strat­egy, and you can­not de­velop a strong, sus­tain­able strat­egy if you are not rel­e­vant and if you don’t un­der­stand the con­text in which you are op­er­at­ing.”

The other at­trac­tion of a busi­ness school qual­i­fi­ca­tion may also be the op­por­tu­nity to com­mand six-fig­ure salaries.

Three years af­ter grad­u­at­ing, the av­er­age salary of in­di­vid­u­als with an MBA com­fort­ably ex­ceeds R1.3 mil­lion. This is ac­cord­ing to the QS Global Busi­ness Schools sur­vey, which cov­ered 4 318 em­ploy­ers who ac­tively re­cruit MBA grad­u­ates.

It would seem, then, that busi­ness schools are able to pro­vide the prover­bial win-win so­lu­tion – pros­per­ity of the in­di­vid­ual and the com­pany.

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