International vision drives GSB

17 March 2003
Man of vision: Prof Nick Segal, Director of the GSB, spoke at length about the School's current position as an evolving new model of business school.

THE GRADUATE School of Business's (GSB) vision came under the spotlight at last week's Vice-Chancellor's Open Planning Forum.

Speaker Professor Nick Segal, Director of the GSB, spoke at length about the processes and reasoning behind the School's current positioning as a business school that is both international in orientation and suited to the circumstances of a country and a continent where the imperatives are democratisation, international competitiveness and economic growth.

Segal began his discussion by looking at the GSB's founding in the mid-Sixties. The School was based on the proven North American model of a business school, which was, and remains, essentially technocratic in content and spirit. According to Segal, with the US clearly leading the world in business and management education and practice, the GSB had few alternatives at the time but to emulate them.

But changes in the political and economic climate in South Africa and internationally have forced the School to undergo an extended and ongoing process of repositioning itself both inside and outside UCT.

“Essentially, we have come to understand that the North American model by itself is not sufficient for South Africa,” he explained. “Our graduates need to be equipped not only with the skills to be leading players in their fields but also with the ability to understand the complexities of this region.”

Segal went on to explain how the GSB was developing a new model of a business school that addressed both challenges. He said that the School was capitalising on two things: South Africa's distinctive duality in its knowledge and credibility in engaging with the developed world, although itself essentially a developing country; and on South Africa's strategic significance to Africa's economic development.

“The GSB's vision is to be the international business school in Africa,” he concluded.

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