The Financial Mail’s annual “Ranking the MBAs” survey always provides for fascinating reading and this year was no exception. Published by the FM last week, market research by Ipsos Markinor surveyed hundreds of MBA graduates and company directors across South Africa to gauge the impact of an MBA on graduates and on the business arena. MBA providers from 15 accredited business schools also participated, providing information about what’s on offer and the cost thereof.
The country’s top four university business schools (Pretoria’s Gibs, Wits, Cape Town and Stellenbosch) remain very solid performers all round but several schools are rising up the ranks at a steady and impressive pace.
Henley Business School provided some interesting results being highly rated by graduates for curriculum quality, personal enjoyment, business relevance, flexibility and business strategy. It also received noteworthy kudos for its research endeavours.
Potchefstroom was also lauded by its graduates for research support, along with its flexibility towards graduates, accessibility of its faculty and the value for money it offers for the MBA programme. Free State was another strong regional performer, rated by its graduates for curriculum quality and enjoyment of the programme.
Unisa and Milpark Business School were well-rated by graduates in subject areas such as leadership, research, strategy, operations and people management.
Gibs, Cape Town and Stellenbosch were the front-runners in the school status race, with the first two also recognised for offering value for money to MBA graduates. Regarding the financial investment required for an MBA, all-inclusive programme costs vary, from R176 800 at Gibs to R44 700 at Mancosa. Towards the top-end were also Henley (R165 000), Wits (R140 650), Cape Town (R126 000) and Stellenbosch (R124 500), with Nelson Mandela (R72 672), KwaZulu-Natal (R74 500), Free State (R81 590) and Potchefstroom (R97 750) providing more affordable options.
And, if you’re wondering if the cost is worth it, the FM survey indicates that an MBA will seemingly pay off financially. The vast majority of MBA students surveyed increased their earnings after graduating, with a sharp rise in the number of people growing their income within the R450 000 to +R1 million bracket. Employers surveyed also confirmed that most (48%) pay employees with an MBA more than non-graduates.
But getting into the school of your choice is not necessarily that straightforward. Of the 160 applicants for a full-time MBA at Stellenbosch, only 48 were accepted. At Wits, only 32 out of 130 hopefuls were successful, with 82 out of 150 Cape Town applicants and 34 out of 80 Gibs MBA candidates getting in.
Of the research sample, most individuals were in their mid-30s when they graduated with 30% over the age of 40. Interestingly, the majority of MBA students came from an engineering background (26%), followed by commerce (17%), sciences (13%), and social science (9%).
For more information and analysis of the MBA survey for 2011, see the 30 September edition of the Financial Mail or visit their website at www.fm.co.za.