MANAGEMENT: MBA Students Opting For Flexible Schools
Recent Western Cape Business News
More and more of South Africa’s leading businessmen and -women are choosing to further their education at universities that adapt their study programmes to suit the changing needs and commitments of their students.
According to Marietjie Wepener, deputy director: business development, marketing and communication, at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), modular study is becoming an increasingly popular route for MBA students. “Our 2010 student intake was the highest ever with 245 students enrolling for our MBA programme. Close to 70% of this number chose to enroll for the modular programme.”
Wepener says the business school has been very pleased with the increase in applications. “The fact that we received far more applications than we could accommodate meant that we were able to select very good students.”
The three modular MBA programmes – one in Afrikaans and two in English, starting at the beginning of the year and in June – are structured over a three-year period to enable managers to attend the programme without it impacting too severely on their work obligations.
Modular MBA students are likely to receive funding or other support from their employers. This year 73% of those who chose the Afrikaans programme are fully or partly sponsored by their employers. Of the students in the English February/March and June intakes, 53% and 78% respectively are fully or partly sponsored. This may be attributed to the fact that employers have the benefit of the skills of the MBA students during the entire span of their studies. Modular students apply their newly acquired knowledge while they are working, Wepener adds.
She says the current mood in South African business is quite optimistic, which could be one of the reasons why the USB’s 2010 MBA intake is the highest ever. “We think people want to gain the right skills in preparation for an upswing in the economy. There is also increasing recognition of the need for appropriate managerial skills both in this country and in the rest of Africa.”
Wepener says another important factor for prospective MBA students is that they may want to work in different countries and regions and therefore require the assurance that their MBA will give them global mobility. “The USB’s MBA programme has two international accreditations and these ‘stamps of approval’ give people the guarantee that their education is on par with that of leading business schools across the world. This ensures that graduates are able to apply their skills anywhere in the world.”
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