Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  26 Jan 2010

MANAGEMENT: A Change Of Course For MBAs


Recent Western Cape Business News

The global financial crisis will have a major impact on the future of business schools. Speaking at the recent opening of the academic year of the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), Professor Eon Smit, director of the USB, said there are more lessons to be learned from the crisis, both for USB and for the global business school community.

He says one effect of the crisis is that one may begin to see fewer MBA graduates becoming investment bankers. The preferred new workplace may no longer be Wall Street, but instead, entrepreneurial start-ups.

He also put forward the view that in the future, business schools may migrate closer to big business in order to learn and advise, while dissenting voices from business schools may become more audible in public economic debates of the future.

First we have to radically rethink the risks in our programmes. We have to move on from standard deviations and distributions and consider new risk models, deal with systemic risk in financial markets as well as the risk exposure arising from global integration and the domino effect.”

He commented that many business schools received much criticism over the past eighteen months, as the financial crisis led to a public onslaught on the ethics of the system. “At USB, we have long been sensitive to most of the ethical and governance issues that business schools have been criticised for. This was not a result of having better foresight than our peers, but simply through being exposed to the unique challenges faced by a developing society with massive income imbalances.”

Reassuring the new intake of students, however, Smit said that for those 500 000 students around the world currently enrolling in MBA programmes, there is no crisis for business schools. “It would be unwise, however, to close our eyes to the very prevalent lessons contained in this bleak history of an exploded bubble.”

The USB has seen a marked increase in the number of students from South Africa, the rest of Africa and internationally with a 22% increase in the number of full-time students compared to last year.

The English modular MBA programme starting in March is oversubscribed with close to 100 people who could not be accommodated. The number of students on the Afrikaans modular MBA programme has also increased substantially. The USB’s modular MBA programmes have seen a sharp increase in the number of students over a number of years now.

Fortunately we still have another English modular MBA intake in June so any students who missed out on the March programme, will still be able to join the USB in the June intake,” says Marietjie Wepener, head of marketing at the USB.

The Master’s Degree in Development Finance (MDevF) degree has seen an overwhelming response from students across Africa with the latest intake consisting of almost 60% of students from the rest of Africa. South Africa’s first SAQA-accredited MPhil in Coaching degree, which is being offered for the first time at the USB from February 2010, is fully subscribed with a class that was capped at 25.

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