UCT GSB gets AMBA stamp of approval
The UCT Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB) has cemented its international reputation as one of the top business schools in the world by again being awarded the AMBA accreditation from the Association of MBAs, which will be effective for a further five years.
“The AMBA accreditation is vital to us as a business school,” says Dr Kutlwano Ramaboa, director of International Relations at the UCT GSB. “It is one of the highest standards of achievement in postgraduate business education and only the best business schools around the world are honoured with it.” The UCT GSB is one of just three business schools in Africa with triple-crown accreditation, meaning that it is accredited by the three largest and most influential business school accreditation associations.
Dr Ramaboa says that accreditations are an endorsement of the quality education that the business school strives to provide while increasing the school’s visibility internationally. “This means we are able to attract more international students and faculty. The world is increasingly globalised and it is imperative that we expose all students to diverse perspectives and cultures in order to enrich the learning experience by avoiding the assimilation trap and prepare them to operate successfully in any environment.” She says accreditations also help with attracting and arranging international exchange partnership with good schools in different regions as they are often used as one of several criteria giving a guarantee in the quality of education.
“Our students can select full semester exchanges, shorter summer/winter schools, and one-week immersion options from 45 partner schools with whom we have bilateral exchange agreements, as well as 29 schools from the Global Network of Advanced Management (GNAM) – a Yale School of Management Initiative,” Dr Ramaboa says.
In addition to pursuing accreditations, the UCT GSB also works on improving its international profile through membership of international associations and networks, offering students and faculty international opportunities that further enhance the impact of the school. Affiliations such as the Global Business School Network (GBSN), the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) – a United Nations supported initiative – and the Academy of Business in Society (ABIS), afford additional opportunities for UCT GSB faculty and students to collaborate internationally on teaching and research.
“Through research, the school is committed to participating in leading international scholarly conversations,” says Dr Ramaboa.
Helping clients achieve their strategic goals
From a pan-African leadership programme for a high end bank to a programme to help school principals in the Western Cape be more effective in the day-to-day running
of their schools, the GSB’s business development team is delivering learning experiences across multiple sectors, catering for local and global clients.
“Customised programmes speak to our respon-siveness, not only to what needs to be taught but also to where and how learning can take place around business demands,” says Rayner Canning, Business Development Director at the GSB. “Our goal is to help clients achieve their strategic goals and we work with them in ways that suit them best to make sure we deliver the desired impact.”
The GSB runs an Executive Development Programme for Agra Ltd. in Namibia, for example. “This large agri-processing company has very specific peaks and troughs during the week. The only time they can step out of their day-to-day is over the weekend, so we customised delivery of the course to take place in Namibia over weekends.”
Programmes offered range from targeted short courses and formal academic qualifications such as the Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice (PGDip). Examples include a pan-African PGDip for Barclays ABSA Africa and a suite of client centricity programmes for Standard Bank, which has been running for four years, and has seen over 650 delegates. In a world-first collaboration between a business school and a design school, the GSB has also partnered with the globally renowned Hasso Plattner Institute of Design Thinking (d-school) at UCT to deliver a programme for Sanlam, blending design thinking with senior leadership development.
Other GSB clients include global heavyweight McDonalds, the Twinsaver Group and Cell C. “It’s important to note that we don’t only cater for high-profile corporates,” says Canning. “Our Principals Management Development programme, a highly successful collaboration with the Principals Academy Trust in the Western Cape is an example of our commitment to local leadership development.”
GSB bids farewell to founding director of the Bertha Centre
Dr François Bonnici, founding director of the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the UCT GSB stepped down at the end of March, marking the end of a highly successful seven-year tenure at the helm.
The Bertha Centre was established in 2011 as a partnership between the UCT GSB and the Bertha Foundation and it has made a key contribution to the ongoing mission of the GSB to become a more relevant business school in Africa.
“The UCT Graduate School of Business and the Bertha Foundation would like to thank Dr François Bonnici, for his dedicated work in establishing what is now one of the leading centres for social innovation in the world,” says former director of the GSB Mills Soko.
“François and the Bertha Centre team have made an indelible impact on the GSB. They have helped introduce social innovation into the core identity and curriculum of the school, and explicitly extended the scope of management education and research into areas of social purpose. During his tenure, students motivated by a social mission have been attracted to study at the GSB, enriching the classroom experience for all. Our learning spaces have also been expanded to a broader community of students and practitioners through the creation of the Solution Space on our Waterfront campus and in Philippi – the university’s first informal campus in a township community. Furthermore, the Centre has been instrumental in building the fields of social innovation, social entrepreneurship, innovative finance and impact investing in Africa, positioning the school as part of a new wave of thinking and action to realise new possibilities for the continent.”
New course to boost leadership in the hospitality industry
Professionals working in the hospitality industry will, for the first time, have access to high-level, industry-relevant learning in South Africa thanks to an innovative partnership between the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) and industry players that has seen the launch of a new executive education short course tailor-made for the industry.
“There is nothing like it in the African market and it illustrates the possibilities of collaborative innovation,” says Jonathan Steyn, convenor of the Hospitality Leadership short course at the GSB.
The course fills an educational gap for senior hospitality managers and mid-level managers. Steyn explains, “there is a lot of technical and operational training and education in the hospitality industry. People move up through the ranks, and they are very hands-on, but they haven’t necessarily had the opportunity to develop the conceptual and critical thinking skills needed to make that transition to senior leadership positions.”
Chris Godenir, General Manager at The Peninsula Hotel, who is one of a group of industry leaders who approached and worked with the GSB to design the course content, says that the course is designed for and by the South African industry, and seeks to find inventive solutions for emerging market contexts.
“The aim is not to tell people how to run a hotel the way we’ve done for 30 years, but to use our experience to address current challenges. Together we can think about and share new ways of doing things.”
The longer-term goal is also to create a body of leadership knowledge that will get passed down to future leaders, says Michael Pownall, Managing Partner at PMR Hospitality, who also collaborated on the course design.
“The cohort of delegates will form an alumni group which builds year-on-year. The only industry body currently is FEDHASA, and they are supportive of this effort to strengthen industry leadership skills,” he says.
The course stresses the importance of innovation in leadership and strategic thinking. “It encourages blue ocean thinking, especially around how to deal with disruption in the industry and also focuses on sustainable innovation in balancing social, environmental and economic purpose, for example how to manage the current Cape water crisis,” says Steyn.
The Hospitality Leadership short course ran from 8-16 June in Cape Town.
South Africa’s oldest business short course celebrates its 100th intake
The Programme for Management Development (PMD) at the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) is the longest continuously running business short course in South Africa and this September it celebrates its 100th intake. The GSB launched PMD in 1968 two years after its pioneering MBA, at a time when there were just two business schools in South Africa.
“Fast-forward 50 years and Executive Education in South Africa is now a fiercely competitive, multi-billion Rand industry,” says Kumeshnee West, Director of Executive Education at the GSB.
West says that it is a tough but exciting environment to operate in. “You have to be ahead of the game,” she says. “Yes we get to draw on our five decades of experience at the GSB, but we cannot rest of our laurels.” She adds that PMD has stayed the distance because it has been able to reinvent itself as the years have gone by. “The need for management development is a constant,” she says, “though what is required of managers and leaders has changed over time. Today’s working environment is of course changing at an exponential rate thanks in part to the rise of AI and digital technology – and business schools have a duty to keep ahead of this curve.”
Jenny Boxall, who convenes the PMD agrees. “Financial acumen and technical expertise are still rated highly in workplaces, but research shows that managers with self-awareness and self-knowledge are more effective and better able to lead productive teams in today’s workplaces. The course is therefore putting ever-more emphasis on self knowledge, exploring how people communicate, how messages are interpreted and how this process can be improved upon.”
The WEF Future of Jobs report puts people management, emotional intelligence, and coordinating with others in top 10 skills list required to be successful in 2020. “While some people are naturals when it comes to these so called softer skills, most benefit from guidance in developing them,” says Boxall. “By gaining insight into your own strengths and weaknesses and becoming attuned to your blind spots, solid people skills are developed that make us better at relating to others as well.”
The 100th intake of the Programme for Management Development runs in September in Cape Town. The programme will also be offered for the first time this year at the GSB’s Johannesburg office in Sandton.
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