The University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business is home to the only full-time African MBA ranked in the top 100 by the Financial Times and is just one of 73 schools worldwide (and only three in Africa) to be “triple-crowned” — accredited by AMBA, EQUIS, and the AACSB. In 2010, it was named the second-best business school in Africa and the Middle East in the 2010 QS Global 200 Business Schools Report.
It’s also in one of the most beautiful locations on the continent, or for that matter, the world.
Located on the Breakwater Lodge Campus at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town GSB students enjoy a daily dose of stunning vistas to go with their management and strategy courses. That, and a growing reputation as a destination school, flavors the learning journey at the very southern tip of Africa.
LOOKING FOR ‘EMOTIONAL MATURITY’
The full-time MBA journey at the English-language school begins each February and lasts 11 months, a compressed time frame that some candidates have said intensifies the experience. Students must take the Graduate Management Admission Test and score a minimum of 550 to qualify. The UCT GSB is one of the few schools in South Africa that insists on the GMAT as part of its entrance criteria, Open Academic Program Director Sevran Nair tells Poets&Quants, partly because it helps them identify the best students in a competitive application process.
But admissions officers at Cape Town also are looking for something more, Nair says: “emotional maturity.”
“From a selection criteria perspective, the MBA program would be suitable for talented and mature adults who have proven academic ability and business experience,” he says, “and who are highly motivated to succeed. While the acceptable GMAT score to apply is 550, the average is around 600, although this is only one factor the school considers when selecting potential candidates. Work experience, educational experience, and the uniqueness that the individual can bring to the program are also factors that are considered. The individual’s emotional quotient, i.e. emotional maturity, life experience in multiple settings, or within multiple countries, is a big contributing factor. Also the candidate’s understanding of the emerging market context.”
Calling the Cape Town curriculum highly demanding and highly stressful, Nair stresses that an individual’s ability to manage themselves in relation to others and group dynamics — “especially with regards to personal transformation, accountability, and responsibility” — is given heavy weight.
‘A DIFFERENT LEADERSHIP PARADIGM’
The UCT GSB was ranked 76th in FT‘s 2016 Global 100, and named the eighth-best value-for-money program in the world and 26th for career progress. Class size is 79, with 23% international students and a low percentage of women — only 16%, according to TopMBA.com. Both the full-time and modular MBA programs are structured around 16 compulsory core courses that address the fundamentals of management, as well as a dissertation. Students can then tailor their studies by selecting additional courses from a selection of electives. The school also offers an executive MBA, Executive Education short courses, and other master’s and doctoral studies.
The school prides itself on a “four-pronged approach” to education that combines academic rigor, societal relevance, innovation in teaching, and thought leadership, Nair says. Initiatives like the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Allan Gray Centre for Values-based Leadership represent efforts to “build a new kind of business school: one that is rooted in values and enables positive new ways of thinking and acting in business to achieve sustainable success.”
“With its roots in Africa, the GSB’s mission is to be a leading emerging market business school that is relevant, excellent, and grounded in values,” Nair says. “Listed in the Financial Times Top 100 Global MBA ranking, the GSB MBA program is transformative. It pushes students to their limits and empowers them to reach their best. It’s a young, small school with a very personalized learning journey. It’s a school where faculty members teach, as opposed to Ph.D. candidates. The school is an innovative school to uniquely foster a different leadership paradigm.”
CAREER SERVICES AND COACHING OPTIONS
According to Career Services Manager Morea Josias, the UCT GSB supports students through the following coaching and career services options:
• Personal career assessment with a qualified careers coach who will be able to assist in identifying key strengths and interests based on each profile.
• Career selection advice based on personal characteristics, academic performance and individual goals/objectives as well as a thorough understanding of the current career landscape in South Africa and further afield.
• Students are helped in developing themselves (and their CVs) when connecting with recruiters toward the end of their studies. Related offerings include career strategy workshops that focus on career life and work planning, many of which are facilitated by visiting career consultants and guest speakers from a variety of industries; and industry clubs, which are actively supported by the Career Centre in collaboration with Alumni, assist in developing competencies and networks around specific sectors such as management consulting.
After graduation, “Many UCT GSB students embark on a significant shift in career direction,” Josias says. “Examples of the most popular industries and sectors in which UCT GSB graduates find employment in their year of graduation (in order of frequency), include Management Consulting, Financial Services, Information and Communications Technology, Education, Investment Management, Analyst and Advisory Services, e-Commerce, Health and Pharmaceutical, Marketing and Branding, and SME Management.”
October 31st, 2016