WITH 82 students registered or their MBA course (compared with 68 last year) and 65 students registered for the part-time AIM course (39 last year), the Graduate School of Business is on a growth path. This has been underpinned by the recent news that the prestigious European Foundation for Management Development (efmd) has formally accredited the School with the European Quality Label from EQUIS, the efmd's accreditation body.
The accreditation confirms that the GSB's programmes meet international standards of management education. The School joins the ranks of 52 other efmd-accredited schools worldwide, giving students and employers the assurance that a qualification from the GSB measures up to the best in the world.
Gaining accreditation has been arduous. "The intensive evaluation and accreditation process is a mammoth task," said GSB Director, Professor Nick Segal, describing the 160-page self-assessment report the School submitted to EQUIS as "exhausting and exhaustive".
But the results have been eminently worthwhile. "Efmd is Europe's largest body in the field of management development," Segal added. "Our association with efmd builds on this internationalism. It is no longer enough for the GSB to be recognised as one of the top schools in South Africa. We're operating in an international marketplace and prospective students and their employers want to know that the School they choose has international credibility and that their qualifications are internationally recognised."
The accreditation is also especially important in the GSB's drive to recruit students from outside South Africa. The weak rand also makes South Africa highly attractive for management studies. "The GSB can offer an equivalent education as first-rate British and American schools at a fraction of the price, and of course Cape Town is a further magnet," Segal said.
The School will also play to its strengths. Segal and his team are moulding the GSB's programmes to provide a more relevant qualification for students from the developing world. "Doing business in our kind of society is a great deal more complex than that of the First World where the focus of a business school tends to be narrower. Our society demands a lot more of future business leaders than simply the functional skills of management. They have to handle far greater turbulence and complexity in the environment in which they conduct their business."