The UCT Graduate School of Business hosted the 2018 MBA World Summit, an event that harnessed the collective thinking power of 100 MBA students from top global business schools.
One hundred MBA students from the world’s best business schools were in Cape Town in March to attend the 5th MBA World Summit – an event that set out to empower exceptional students to act as global change agents and contribute their collective experience toward changing the world for the better.
With a focus on creating impact, the Summit aims to leave a lasting legacy for local communities wherever it is held. Participants of the 2018 Summit were paired with 30 local entrepreneurs to collaboratively explore short, medium and long-term practical solutions for their business obstacles and challenges, particularly in a township environment.
Hosted by the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) from the 14-16 March, this was the first time the event was held in Africa. Participants split their time between the school’s campus at the V&A Waterfront and its satellite site embedded in the community of Philippi – 30kms away.
Dr Kutlwano Ramaboa, director of International Relations at the GSB, said that the school was well placed to host a summit of this kind that combined global thinking with local relevance. “As one of only three business schools in Africa to have triple-crown accreditation the GSB’s international credentials are well established,” she said. “In hosting this event, the GSB drew on its five decades of experience in pioneering business education in Africa and our strong focus on creating sustainable impact for business and society, which made the school a perfect fit for the MBA World Summit.”
Raymond Ledwaba, a GSB alumnus and the local organiser of the Summit, said that the event has contributed to the GSB’s status as a global player. “It demonstrated that we can host prestigious international events and bring thought leaders from across the world to South Africa,” he said. “It is important to note that this was also an African event, with African and South African students participating and contributing to a valuable global network.”
Ledwaba added that as Africa has four of the fastest growing economies in the world, the Summit was a good platform to explore the endless opportunities that abound on the continent. The 2018 Summit was made up of participants from 39 international business schools. Each year a maximum of 100 students are selected from over 2 000 applicants who undergo a rigorous multi-stage selection process. Yannick Reiss, co-founder of the Summit, believes that the essence of the Summit rests on the diversity of its participants. This diversity creates a space for collaboration, global networking, peer-learning and a multi-disciplinary approach to global problems. As this year’s event took place in Cape Town, Ledwaba said it was an opportunity to do things differently and expose participants to South Africa’s unique context. Students spent two days at the GSB satellite site in the community of Philippi (GSB Solution Space), a space that was established to enhance the school’s commitment to developing socially relevant solutions to South African challenges.
Local entrepreneurs participating in the event brought real-life challenges to the table and engaged with the students in an intensive, facilitated process. The collaboration kick started a three month programme, that will be managed by the GSB Solution Space-Philippi and give the Summit and stakeholders the opportunity to track the real impact made in these businesses and communities going forward.
Dr Ramaboa said that aside from the positive impact the Summit will have had on local entrepreneurs, participating students will have benefited enormously from the international exchange of ideas and networking with their global counterparts. “International mobility is a growing theme for MBA students who need to be able to demonstrate a global mind-set. Events like the MBA World Summit are life- changing and career-boosting,” she concluded.