MBA students acquire essential knowledge, but experience counts too
Employers must invest in staff development, say Martin Motene and Kairoon Nisa Fyzoo, academic programme managers at the Management College of Southern Africa
FM: How has Covid changed the way you offer your MBA?
Motene/Fyzoo: Digitisation has become an unavoidable reality for programmes. The MBA experience has improved as a result. The MBA model will need to evolve and improve in coming years, with an emphasis on real-time learning and knowledge application. The value an MBA has for graduates is that it equips them with the skills and managerial capabilities to compete in today’s turbulent markets. Employers say teamwork, leadership, honesty, communication skills, flexibility, creativity, motivation and managerial skills are key factors for an individual to succeed in business today.
FM: Do you expect to see more SA marketing by overseas MBA schools now that online teaching has removed the need for physical travel?
Motene/Fyzoo: A lot of this marketing takes place on social media, which can raise questions about authenticity and accreditation. The SA higher education sector is heavily regulated, but enrolling in an online programme makes it difficult to determine who the certifying organisation is, which could lower the credibility of the degree. Despite this, we foresee more such offerings.
FM: How can companies make the most of employees’ MBA education?
Motene/Fyzoo: MBA students get essential knowledge in areas such as innovation, ethical behaviour and team dynamics. Employers must invest in staff development to ensure that such skills are matched with corporate rules and culture. Employers must take into account an individual’s experience when appointing them to managerial roles. An MBA alone is not enough.
FM: Market research shows that many employers want MBA programmes to place more emphasis on digitalisation, entrepreneurial thinking, the fourth industrial revolution and international business. Your response?
Motene/Fyzoo: It is necessary to have a corporate branch within an academic institution that interacts with industry when it comes to these issues. Employers should not rely solely on academic institutions to increase their employees’ abilities. Teamwork between industry and the academic institution is a critical component in bridging such gaps.
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