Financial Mail - - COVER STORY - David Fur­longer fur­

MBA providers face mul­ti­ple chal­lenges: trans­for­ma­tion, pric­ing, ex­pan­sion, choco­late …

The ques­tion is, which of­fers bet­ter value: an MBA or a help­ing of choco­late pud­ding? Why do we ask? Be­cause a com­plete SA MBA de­gree course costs con­sid­er­ably less than the sweet. True, the lat­ter, of­fered by an English coun­try­house ho­tel, is moulded into the shape of a Fabergé egg, con­tains cham­pagne jelly and edi­ble gold leaf, and is dec­o­rated with a small di­a­mond. But at £20,000, or R400,000, that’s four times the cost of some SA pro­grammes, and over 50% more than the most ex­pen­sive.

At £5,000, a sig­na­ture Lon­don cock­tail of vin­tage cognac and ab­sinthe mixed with bit­ters out­prices two SA de­gree pro­grammes.

Of course, to most South Africans earn­ing rands, SA MBAS (see ta­ble “Money, money, money”) aren’t cheap. But they are bar­gain­base­ment to north­ern hemi­sphere stu­dents seek­ing an over­seas ex­pe­ri­ence. Some come here, but not in sig­nif­i­cant num­bers.

That’s why Rhodes Busi­ness School direc­tor Owen Skae asks whether SA mar­keters are pay­ing enough at­ten­tion to the com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tages of­fered by the rand’s lack of value. “I don’t think we use the ad­van­tage enough. Aus­tralia has made higher ed­u­ca­tion a rich source of for­eign rev­enue for the coun­try. Why can’t we do the same? We of­fer even bet­ter value.”

It’s no­table that in re­cent years, pri­vate SA schools have be­gun to over­haul lead­ing state schools in the price stakes.

The Univer­sity of Stel­len­bosch Busi­ness School has the most ex­pen­sive MBA (and is the only school to dis­close a pre­mium for stu­dents from out­side Africa), but Re­ge­nesys and Mil­park have both closed the gap on tra­di­tional big-bud­get schools like the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria’s Gor­don In­sti­tute of Busi­ness Sci­ence, Hen­ley, Wits Busi­ness School and the Univer­sity of Cape Town Grad­u­ate

School of Busi­ness (GSB).

Given that, un­like most lo­cal univer­sity

What it means: Pri­vate busi­ness schools have be­gun to over­haul lead­ing state schools in the price stakes — they say they’re worth ev­ery cent

Fulu Netswera, direc­tor of North-west Univer­sity’s School of Busi­ness & Gover­nance

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