#8 Winter 2017

News Round-up

GSB customised offering rated fastest growing in world

The UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) has claimed its place in the 2017 Financial Times rankings of the world’s top customised executive education offerings, beating competitors from as far afield as France, Canada, Italy, Norway and Belgium.

The UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) has retained its place in the top 100 business schools in the world for the 7th consecutive year and has been rated as the fastest growing business school globally in terms of growth in its revenues from customised programmes between 2015 and 2016.The GSB, which is one of five African universities to make the list, was ranked 70th in the 2017 Financial Times ranking of the world’s top customised programmes, globally recognised as a pre-eminent benchmark for business schools.“Rankings are important, but the real value in our offering is in our client centric approach and a process of continuous co-creation of effective learning solutions, ” said GSB Director of Executive Education, Kumeshnee West. “We believe that we are growing so fast because we understand that training interventions need to make a significant impact on people’s performance and the bottom line and we know how to achieve this,” she said.Customised programmes are business courses that are custom-designed to help organisations meet their particular challenges and generate positive business outcomes. They range from short interventions to full academic diplomas and qualifications.“We partner with our clients to help them think through the problems that they face and then design and implement a learning solution to deliver powerful results that permeate throughout the organisation,” said West.Top of the FT customised programme ranking for 2017 is IESE in Spain, which has held the top spot for several years running. IMD, Duke and INSEAD all retained their position in the top ten, while significantly, Harvard climbed from 14th position to 5th.Universities are ranked based on a variety of factors including programme preparation, teaching methods, materials, design, new skills and learning, diversity of faculty and “future use”, which indicates strong, long-term relationships with clients. In addition to being rated number one for growth, the GSB achieved high scores in the quality of programme design, teaching methods and materials, facilities and value for money, as well as the crucial area of future use. Diversity of faculty was also a plus point.“It is significant to see African campuses gaining ground where the business school environment is becoming increasingly competitive,” said GSB director Mills Soko. “It is indicative of an ongoing commitment to excellence on local territory – but also an increased recognition from the global community that African business schools are serious contenders in the international space.“The result represents a continued victory for the GSB in challenging political and economic times. It also underlines the ongoing, if not increased need, for continued top-class business education in an unpredictable environment.”“The GSB is continuing to expand its footprint both locally, on the African continent, and internationally,” says West. “Providing a high standard of education to executives is a core part of equipping businesses to remain relevant and resilient in challenging times.”

Programmes can run at the GSB’s Waterfront campus in Cape Town, or at the school’s new satellite sites in Sandton, Johannesburg and Philippi, Cape Town. The school can also travel to a venue of the client’s choice to deliver on site and in-house.

The GSB is one of only three business schools in Africa to be triple-crowned, meaning it is accredited by the three most influential business school accreditation associations: AACSB – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; AMBA – The Association of MBAs; and EQUIS – European Quality Improvement System. Of over 13,000 business schools worldwide, less than 80 have achieved triple accreditation.

“We remain focused on the highest standards of business education that both gives input from industry leaders and reflects the diversity of our business environment,” said Soko. “The GSB’s ongoing presence in the FT rankings reflects this.”

GSB case study wins top award at Emerald AABS

Himanshu Vidhani.

A case study on the successful turnaround at K-Way won top honours at the annual Emerald/Association of African Business Schools (AABS) Case Study Competition.

The results of the competition, which aims to encourage and promote the development of high-quality teaching case material from real-life situations in Africa, were announced in May. This marks the GSB’s third consecutive win in this competition.

The study details the journey undertaken by K-Way as they adopted lean thinking principles. It also looked at the new management challenges they face 12 years on, particularly in sustaining lean thinking. “The case study can be used to teach students how they might address the individual (but not necessarily dissimilar) challenges companies face in entrenching lean thinking in their organisations”, says Fatima Hamdulay, senior lecturer at the UCT GSB, who supervised the project. K-Way is one of South Africa’s best known manufacturers of outdoor gear.

The case study, entitled “The Evolution of Lean Thinking at K-Way – Where to Next?” was conducted by Hamdulay’s student Himanshu Vidhani, as part of his MBA thesis. It will be published in a forthcoming release of Emerald’s Emerging Sources Case Collection.

“They took a business on the brink of extinction and turned it into a business that came to define the trends for technical clothing in South Africa. The study traced K-Way’s journey for over a decade.

“This company was on the verge of closure 12 years ago,” explains Hamdulay. “But with the application of core lean principles – eliminating waste, creating greater respect for people and continuously engaging in how to do both these things better – they were able to turn things around, one KPI at a time. And importantly, right now, they acknowledge that it feels as if they are just getting started.”

“The most significant take-away from the case is that companies need to change their mindset and focus on the work that needs to happen and in particular, the people doing it. It is a combination of simultaneously empowering people and improving processes that makes any organisation successful,” says Vidhani.

It’s important to remember, however, that the Lean Thinking approach is not a “cookie cutter” method, adds Hamdulay. A case study delivers lessons, but each organisation will have a unique situation which will demand unique redress, or countermeasures. “You have to really understand your situation and apply the philosophy as well as the appropriate tools that go along with it, and test your understanding of the situation all the time,” she says.

Both Vidhani and Hamdulay believe there is room for a great deal more research in the field of sustained lean thinking, especially in South Africa and particularly where the practical meets the theoretical. “In the South African context, there is a need for more research on bridging the gap between lean tools and lean thinking,” says Vidhani.

GSB steps up international engagements

In a testament to its growing global relevance, the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) has hosted numerous international study tours in 2017, welcoming groups of students from some of the world’s top business schools to its campus in recent months.

According to Kumeshnee West, Director of Executive Education at the GSB, the school has seen a phenomenal growth in interest in study tours and has hosted 18 in 2017 alone, up from 10 in 2016 and just five in 2014.West explained that study tours form a part of an elective on many school’s MBA, EMBA or Master’s programmes and in coming to Cape Town, they mostly want to gain first hand experience and insight into doing business in Africa. One group also wanted to gain an understanding of the extent of Chinese influence in sub-Saharan Africa.“Programmes can be customised to meet the specific needs of the visitors and tap into the expertise available at the GSB and in its broader network,” said West. “These programmes provide our students and faculty with a great opportunity to interact with international students and academics.” She added that similar programmes can also be customised for corporate clients.“Engaging with students and faculty on these study tours is a mutually enriching experience for hosts and guests,” agreed Associate Professor Mills Soko, Director of the GSB. “The interchange also heightens the level of global knowledge and cross-pollination, accelerating the process of developing relevant programmes and solutions to perennial and often universal challenges.”Visiting schools in 2017 have come from three different continents and include Warwick Business School and Oxford Saïd Business School in the UK; the University of South Carolina, George Washington University, and NYU Stern in the US; HEC Paris, University of Oslo, Norway, St Gallen in Switzerland, Zeppelin University in Germany, and ESADE in Spain; as well as Sun Yat-sen Business School in China.

GSB hosts Global Network for Advanced Management 4th annual meeting

TOP: Delegates from some of the world’s top business schools visited Cape Town as guests of the GSB this May for the 4th annual meeting of GNAM. LEFT: Rayner Canning, Director of Business Development with Kim van Der Merwe, Learning and Leadership Corporate Investment Banking, Standard Bank and GSB PGDip alumnus, Kumeshnee West, Director of Executive Education at the GSB, and Ifeanyichukwu Obiora-Okafo, Lagos Business School. RIGHT: Natasja Müller Training and Development Manager at AngloGold Ashanti, who is also a current EMBA student at the school, tells the story of the company’s learning journey with the GSB at the GNAM meeting.

Directors of Executive Education from some of the world’s top business schools gathered at the GSB this May for the 4th annual meeting of the Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM) to discuss collaboration and the future of executive education.

The meeting included delegates from the Yale School of Management, Oxford Saïd Business School, IMD, Lagos School of Business, HEC Paris, IIM Bangalore, the European School of Management and Technology, London School of Economics, Koç University Executive Education Programs and EGADE Business School Mexico. The GNAM network consists of 29 global schools.

“We discussed collaboration and best practice and generally how to enhance partnerships with business schools across the globe,” said Director of Executive Education at the GSB Kumeshnee West.
Key topics for discussion at this year’s meeting was the rise in demand for online learning on the continent, as well as the newly launched Certificate of Excellence in Global Business, a qualification created by GNAM, that offers delegates unique access to its network of top business schools and thought-leaders around the world.

Each of the network’s 29 schools has pooled its course offerings and those embarking on the Certificate of Excellence can tailor their learning journey according to their particular industry and professional growth aspirations. At the end of the two-year programme, participants have to demonstrate how they have integrated what they have learned into their working lives and present this to panel from GNAM.

“Business schools around the world are collaborating and designing programmes and qualifications, like the Certificate of Excellence in Global Business, in order to give individuals greater flexibility in accessing the world’s top business education and thinking,” explained West. “The GSB, along with other African schools in the network, is delighted to be playing a key role in this process.”

The meeting also provided the GSB with an opportunity to showcase its particular capabilities as a school with regards to executive education and customised programmes and what it can contribute to the GNAM network, said West. “We presented case studies on courses that we have worked on for many years and were able to share expertise around how we design these and how we have been successful.”

To help tell the GSB story, two key clients, Kim van der Merwe from Standard Bank and Natasja Müller from Anglo Gold Ashanti, joined the meeting to share their experiences of working with the school in the co-creation of learning interventions that work.

“We were honoured to have our clients share this platform with us,” said West. “Their stories were beautiful. They highlighted the partnership journey we have been on and explained why the GSB has become a trusted advisor when it comes to Executive Education programmes and leadership development.”

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