Business school students shouldn’t have to go to Africa to access African case studies. Now a new effort by the only international business school in South Africa that has triple accreditation status from top agencies in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States plans to make six such cases available by the end of 2017 to all who want to study them.
By the end of the year, Henley Business School Africa plans to launch a series of the kind of case studies, covering all kinds of businesses initiated in Africa, that until now have not been easy to access. The effort comes as a response to increased interest among MBA students at global B-schools for stories of successful, and teachable, African businesses, says Adri Drotskie, MBA director at Henley Business School Africa.
As a result of the increasing requests, “we will be introducing a series of in-depth case studies that cover businesses operating from Africa with the prerequisite that they are sustainable businesses in their third-generation and successful,” Drotskie says in a recent news release. Among them: the story of an entrepreneur who rose from trading textiles and basic foodstuffs to owning the licenses to operate major Coca-Cola bottling plants; and the story of the man who in 2014 was named Forbes African Person of the Year.
STUDY MATERIALS FROM A TOP, AND GROWING, AFRICAN B-SCHOOL
Henley Business School Africa is affiliated with the UK’s Henley Business School at the University of Reading, one of the oldest business schools in Europe, unranked for its MBA program but best known for its pre-experience Master in International Securities, Investment, and Banking, which Financial Times ranked 33rd in the world in 2017. The African school has offered an MBA since 1992; in the last six years it has grown by over 700% and transformed from 30% to 64% black students on the MBA and 20% to 68% black members on staff.
Henley Business School Africa is unranked by any major publication but maintains accreditation by the European Quality Improvement System (Equis), the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), and the Association of MBAs (AMBA). Henley Africa’s flagship program is the Henley MBA, which targets experienced, practicing managers seeking to enhance their skills or prepare for a senior management position. The MBA is presented in South Africa as a flexible, 30-month, part-time program, delivered through a blend of face-to-face workshops, peer group learning, team activities, online and off-line individual and group self-study methods. It chiefly attracts students from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, and Ghana.
The school is “deeply committed,” according to its website, “to African transformation.” One step in that commitment is to promote positive African stories. As Drotskie says, “The focus of the cases cover entrepreneurship, leadership, and the role of culture and ethics. The aim is to write on a variety of business types in six cases that will be completed towards the end of 2017 and then published and used as study material within the business school context.”
‘TENACITY OF PURPOSE IS SUPREME’
Among the six case studies will be one that explains how Richard John Maponya began working for a clothing manufacturer and developed a skill to distinguish between different fabrics and the European origin of garments. Maponya began trading clothing on his own and delivered milk and basic foodstuffs; soon he expanded into household goods, his first BMW dealership in Soweto, and fuel stations. He acquired contracts and licenses to operate large Coca-Cola bottling plants and in 1978 developed a 65,000-square-meter shopping mall in Soweto.
Another case study will examine the example of Aliko Dangote, named by Forbes as the African Person of the Year in 2014. Dangote began with a small transport business and then imported agricultural commodities into Nigeria. His business empire in Africa now has 13 subsidiaries. In 2005 his estimated fortune, as published by Forbes, was $3.3 billion; by 2014 it had grown to $25 billion, making The Dangote Group the first-ever Nigerian company to reach a worth of $20 billion. In 2015 the Dangote Cement Company’s value comprised 25% of the total value of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Dangote’s business empire exports to most countries in Africa and has established a stable institutional presence in Nigeria. He advises aspiring entrepreneurs to start small but to dream big: “In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme.”