With a growing number of business schools and a plethora of executive education and management courses, it’s hard for prospective students to know which institution to apply to. There are many common denominators among the many schools and as people interested in MBAs, we are faced with a dilemma of choice.
Options to study full-time, part-time, long-distance or in modular formats is one. Then, do you go for a school’s reputation, it’s local or global ranking or perhaps its international accreditation? Of course practical barriers to entry include affordability and the reality that it’s simply very hard to get accepted at many leading schools.
Fortunately, organisations like the South African Business Schools Association (SABSA) make life easier by uniting top-ranked business schools to help students and future leaders get ahead.
SABSA comprises 18 member business schools across South Africa, which offer accredited MBA, MBL and Executive Education short courses. Members include leading business schools such as GIBS, UCT Graduate School of Business, University of Stellenbosch Business School, Wits Business School and Unisa’s Graduate School of Business. Other up-and-coming members rapidly climbing up the MBA rankings include academic institutions like Henley Business School, Milpark Business School, Potchefstroom Business School and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Business School.
SABSA’s key focus is ensuring that members are up to speed with local and international best practice. With an eye on always increasing the quality and scope of business education, SABSA facilitates a valuable exchange of ideas and trends among business schools. That this approach is working is evident in the buzz experienced when everyone gets together at the annual SABSA expo.
The 2012 expo was held at the Sandton Convention Centre and attracted a wide audience of suppliers and prospective students. The expo hall was abuzz with representatives from the country’s finest academic institutions as well as lots of prospective business students eager to get ahead in their career and their life.
In parallel with the expo was a series of pertinent and relevant talks and debates. An impressive panel of noteworthy speakers and a wide range of topics under debate bears testament to the dynamic pace of change and innovation within the business education arena.
SABSA’s annual expo is an ideal platform to showcase current trends and offerings that business can learn and develop from. What’s striking is the passion and willingness among faculty, admissions staff and students to offer advice and information on admission requirements, payment options, curricula, delivery approach and school philosophies.
The SABSA event does a lot to spark interest and enthusiasm in MBAs and other executive education programmes. If the expo is anything to go by, executive education in South Africa is an exciting and competitive place to be.
Business schools in South Africa are currently at a fascinating crossroad. Increased competition among local business schools and financial pressures in the economy have required academic institutions to offer courses that are more relevant, increasingly innovative and also highly practical.
Business studies require a great deal of time, sacrifice, money and opportunity costs. It’s therefore imperative that business schools equip students with more than just management education. Schools need to develop critical business skills, valuable insight and leadership abilities, on top of quality education. Graduates need to leave the classroom feeling confident in their skills and abilities and believing that they have gained an edge over their competitors in the business arena. Going out into the business world and communities and making a real difference is fast becoming the true test beyond graduation day.
For business schools, fulfilling a growing list of obligations, meeting greater expectations and playing a stronger role as thought leaders in a country that’s experiencing economic, social and leadership trials is no easy task. But rather than balking at the test, South African business schools have seemingly stepped up to the plate to take on the challenge.
Changes in the focus of modules have occurred, international trends have been adopted, learnings from local case studies have been followed up and real business problems have influenced thought and direction meaningfully within many schools.
There is lots of money to be made by institutions investing in campuses, resources and faculty staff but there is also a need to unlock capacity among future leaders - in order to drive economic growth and social development. Awareness of these factors is seemingly also being acted upon proactively by business schools.
As with any key and groundbreaking decision, the choice of business school and related course options selected can influence the direction and success of your life and career. Put simply, it’s no easy decision. Doing your homework, researching what’s on offer and getting a sense of who really offers what is critical.
Tap into SABSA’s network and keep up to date with specialist websites such as MBA Network in order to make a well-informed decision that will steer you the best way forward.