UCT's Graduate School of Business (GSB) is introducing a new Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice (PgDip), aimed at producing more skilled middle managers in Africa.
Speaking at a recent PgDip information session, GSB director Professor Walter Baets said that although South African business schools offer excellent top-end and lower-end business qualifications, there is a gap in the middle of the business education ladder which the GSB aims to fill.
"What we don't see in South Africa is a kind of qualification that speaks to middle managers and young senior managers, and which goes beyond functional insights. At this level, people need not only knowledge of finance and accounting, but also of how to go beyond this and use it in a broader framework," he said.
The PgDip can be viewed as a pre-master's programme that builds vital business skills. Students may pursue a choice of three specialised streams: innovative leadership, wine business, or business administration.
Saskia Hickey, GSB market intelligence and strategy manager, said: "The programme gives participants tools that allow meaningful reflection, challenging individuals on a personal level as well as on a professional level."
Hickey adds that an important difference between the new PgDip course and traditional management programmes is that in the PgDip there is real integration between subjects, which allows crucial insights into how sections such as marketing, accounting and finance all come together in a company or organisation.
The PgDip takes a systems-thinking and action-learning approach, an educational method developed successfully at the GSB in their other business education courses. Students implement knowledge at their workplaces, in between modules, via action-learning projects. This means companies and organisations see immediate benefits from employees participating in the course, while individuals are able to witness how theories work in practice '“ a valuable educational tool.
Baets believes business schools in future will develop more postgraduate diplomas, as these address immediate needs and offer condensed knowledge packages in interactive formats, making them optimal for learning.
He maintains that business schools should respond to the needs of society. "We cannot keep at one kind of learning when it is clear that more people want and need another kind of education and learning approach. More people want this, as it is a way in which skills can be applied very quickly, and it is an extremely powerful and effective tool."
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