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The world is changing, and business schools need to keep up. It is imperative that they adapt to meet trends emerging from a dynamic globalised world, and then offer degrees that prepare students to lead in these ever-evolving markets. 

Traditionally, the master’s in business administration (MBA) has been heralded as the quintessential business degree. The world’s top MBAs give students a holistic view of the business landscape and the key operational competencies they need to run a successful and sustainable business. MBAs should also boost a person’s confidence as a business leader and offer a ready-made network of like-minded associates, people who will be a source of support throughout their careers. 

The Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gibs) is changing the face of its MBA offering and in addition to its general management MBA, cohorts are now able to select either a focus in consulting, entrepreneurship, manufacturing or health. 

As with all its MBA programmes, these new offerings will continue to give students a rigorous academic programme, enhanced by a focus on teamwork and practical experience, including a global module. Gibs offers one of the most comprehensive lists of electives of any university in the world, with more than 70 choices.

Pravashen Pillay, Gibs associate director: business development and partnerships, says the electives, along with their research work, allow Gibs to help students customise their MBA to suit their specific needs and career goals. 

Given the needs of the SA economic landscape, the Gibs MBA programme is about creating business leaders who will flourish in the business environment and be positioned to help create a robust economy with sustainability and inclusion in mind,” says Pillay.

The Gibs MBA has a core set of courses that all students need to complete thereafter students select their chosen theme to individualise their MBA learning journey.

The general management focus builds on these core competencies, by giving students a complete view of business’s operations, adding subjects such as human resource strategy, operations management and marketing. Within this selection, students can choose five electives, and have to complete a thesis as part of their research component.  

The consulting focus is designed for people who want to move into the consulting space, whether it be for one of the large consulting firms or start up their own niche practice. For this course, the business school offers a range of pre-selected electives that focus on consulting. For the research component, Pillay says cohorts are required to construct a consulting portfolio. 

The entrepreneurship focus is structured to help people who own or want to start a business. Students are given a set of curated electives and are required to submit an entrepreneur portfolio as their research project. 

The manufacturing focus is structured with specific manufacturing modules in place, including green manufacturing, sustainable futures, and the future of manufacturing. The research component is a thesis, but with a manufacturing base. Pillay says: "Students will work on real case studies, hold manufacturing discussions and engage with leaders in manufacturing." The course is about creating leaders in this space and driving manufacturing capabilities within SA and Africa, which is critical for job creation and GDP growth. 

The healthcare focus, which will launch in 2022, will have a health management focus. It is designed for people who are already in the healthcare sector and are looking to move into management and leadership positions within that area. The degree aims to help people from the healthcare sector to use their skills in a sustainable way to improve healthcare offerings to society. 

All cohorts will also have to attend the compulsory global module, which allows students to visit a country of their choice (as per the Gibs list) to get an inside look at the business challenges other countries face. 

Creating Africa’s business leaders 

Gibs is committed to creating robust and agile leaders of the future. As Africa competes on a global stage, its future leaders need to be able to innovate and compete with the world’s best companies. The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us that the leaders of tomorrow need to keep one step ahead, and be able to pivot at any given point to lead their teams through tough and uncertain, economic times. 

This article was paid for by Gibs.

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