GSB hosts premier MBA event

14 March 2018 | Story Supplied.
One hundred of the world’s best MBA students will be partnered with 30 Cape Town entrepreneurs to workshop solutions to business challenges in the township setting. <b>Photo</b> Michael Hammond.
One hundred of the world’s best MBA students will be partnered with 30 Cape Town entrepreneurs to workshop solutions to business challenges in the township setting. Photo Michael Hammond.

One hundred MBA students from the world’s best business schools are on their way to Cape Town to attend the fifth annual MBA World Summit this week.

Hosted by the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) from 14–16 March, the event seeks to empower exceptional students to act as global change agents and to harness their collective experience to develop the world for the better. This is the first time the event is being held in Africa.

With a focus on creating impact, the summit aims to leave a lasting legacy for local communities. Participants will be paired with 30 local entrepreneurs to collaboratively explore short-, medium- and long-term practical solutions for their business obstacles and challenges, particularly in the township environment.

 

“It is an opportunity for participants to collaborate with other institutions and tackle key social challenges faced in Africa and other emerging markets around the world.”

Dr Kutlwano Ramaboa, director of international relations at the GSB, says that the school is well placed to host a summit that combines global thinking with local relevance.

“As one of only three business schools in Africa to have triple-crown accreditation from the global accreditation bodies AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS, the GSB’s international credentials are well established,” she says.

“In hosting this event, the GSB is drawing on its five decades of experience in pioneering business education in Africa and our strong focus on creating sustainable impact for business and society makes the school a perfect fit for the MBA World Summit.”

African business solutions

GSB alumnus Raymond Ledwaba is the local organiser of this year’s summit. He has attended MBA World Summits in Barcelona (2015), Miami (2016) and Berlin (2017), and describes these experiences as life-changing.

“What I found truly incredible is the fact that regardless of where we all come from around the world, we all share similar desires, fears, aspirations and anxieties. We actually have more similarities than differences.”

 

“We have selected MBAs who are not only excellent in their practical experience and academic background, but who are people who want to change something in life, who really want to have impact.”

As this year’s event takes place in Cape Town, Ledwaba feels it is an opportunity to do things differently and expose participants to South Africa’s unique context.

Students will split their time between the GSB’s campus at the V&A Waterfront and its satellite site embedded in the community of Philippi (GSB Solution Space–Philippi) – a space that was established to enhance the school’s commitment to developing socially relevant solutions to South African challenges.

Local entrepreneurs participating in the event will bring real-life challenges to the table and will engage with the students in an intensive, facilitated process.

The collaboration will initiate an 11-month programme, designed and managed by the GSB Solution Space–Philippi, giving the summit and stakeholders the opportunity to track the real impact made in these businesses and communities.

Leaders in Africa

Ledwaba feels an event of this nature contributes to the GSB’s status as a global player.

The students will spend two days at the GSB Solution Space–Philippi workshopping solutions with local entrepreneurs. Photo Robyn Walker.

“It demonstrates that we can host prestigious international events and bring thought leaders from across the world to South Africa,” he says.

“It is important to note that this is also an African event, with African and South African students participating and contributing to a valuable global network.”

Ledwaba adds that as four of the fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa, the summit is a platform to explore the endless opportunities that abound on the continent.

“It is an opportunity for participants to collaborate with other institutions and tackle key social challenges faced in Africa and other emerging markets around the world.”

Excellence through diversity

This year’s summit will welcome participants from 39 international business schools, including five students from the GSB and two from the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science. Each year a maximum of 100 students are selected from over 2 000 applicants who undergo a rigorous multi-stage selection process.

Yannick Reiss, co-founder of the summit, believes that its value lies in the diversity of its participants. This creates a space for collaboration, global networking, peer learning and a multidisciplinary approach to global problems.

“We have selected MBAs who are not only excellent in their practical experience and academic background, but who are people who want to change something in life, who really want to have impact,” he says.

Aside from the positive impact the summit will have on local entrepreneurs, participating students will benefit enormously from the international exchange of ideas and networking with their global counterparts.

“International mobility is a growing theme for MBA students who need to be able to demonstrate a global mindset. Such events are life-changing and career boosting,” says Ramaboa.


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