24 March 2016
Dear colleagues and students,
I am writing to inform you that Professor Walter Baets, the director of the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB), has decided to resign from his position at the end of July 2016 so that he and his wife, Erna Oldenboom, can live closer to their family in Europe. Professor Baets will then be taking up the headship of thecamp in France: a new type of campus which is dedicated to digital transformation; international, transcending disciplines, cultures and generations; private initiative in innovative thinking and doing.
During his term of service since 2009, Professor Baets has steered the GSB into a stronger leadership position on a number of fronts:
- During his tenure, the GSB's international stature has grown. In 2014 he became chair of the Association for African Business Schools for a two-year term. In 2013 the GSB became one of just three business schools in Africa to be “triple-crown” accredited: by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the Association of MBAs and the European Foundation for Management Development, which awards the European Quality Improvement System accreditation.
- Professor Baets has also advanced the role of research in business leadership education. During his tenure, the GSB has seen a dramatic increase in PhD students as well as in publication count. In 2015 44 students registered for the PhD programme, including 18 international students. The highest research output to date was registered in 2014.
- Professor Baets and his team have introduced several pioneering new master's degrees, including the MCom in Development Finance and the MPhil specialising in inclusive innovation. The GSB's revised MBA programme is among the first in the world to incorporate social innovation and sustainable business into its core curriculum.
- The establishment of two new facilities – the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship in 2011 and the MTN Solution Space in 2015 – have strengthened the GSB's positioning with regard to innovation and inclusive business. The Bertha Centre is the first academic centre in Africa dedicated to advancing social innovation and entrepreneurship; while the MTN Solution Space was set up to advance new and innovative educational programmes and foster a new approach to teaching and learning, and to make it easier for innovators and entrepreneurs to work together and exchange ideas, experiences, skills and expertise.
- The opening of the Allan Gray Centre for Values-based Leadership demonstrates a strengthening of the GSB's commitment to ethical business and leadership.
- Professor Baets has increased the size of the faculty to become the largest of any business school in Africa, making it more international while accelerating transformation at upper levels: 86% of GSB associate professors are black.
This year the GSB celebrates its 50th anniversary at a high point in its development, and the leadership of Professor Baets has played a significant part in this. On behalf of UCT I extend thanks to him for the important role he has played in helping to put UCT firmly on the business map of Africa and the world, and I wish him and Erna all the best in their future endeavours.
Dr Max Price