Strengthening the GSB in 2020

13 January 2020 | From Kgethi

Dear colleagues and students

Greetings and best wishes for a prosperous and productive 2020.

I am writing to provide an update on important developments at the Graduate School of Business (GSB). First, it is important to celebrate the GSB’s achievements, especially its distinction in November 2019 as the first Executive Management MBA programme in Africa to be ranked in the top 50 worldwide by the Financial Times. We are delighted that the GSB brand and the prestige of its qualifications continue to be strong both locally and internationally.

I want to restate the commitment of the University of Cape Town (UCT) executive to sustain and improve on the GSB’s position. Last year we worked closely with GSB management and staff to identify areas for development. I am grateful for the commitment demonstrated by all staff and students in their participation in the GSB governance and organisational review I set up in November. The recommendations of this review have inspired a plan of action that has attracted messages of support from academic and professional, administrative support and service (PASS) colleagues. Thanks to each of you for your dedication to the GSB and UCT.

Associate Professor Kosheek Sewchurran has played an important role as interim director of the GSB, for which I express deep appreciation. He has served both UCT and the GSB well. At the end of last year he indicated his desire to step down from this role to resume his academic work more fully. I have agreed to this request, with the proviso that he would continue as interim director until this week, to ensure a seamless transition in the leadership of the GSB.

Following the outcome of the November 2019 governance and organisational design review, I have appointed Emeritus Professor Hugh Corder as interim director of the GSB for eight months, beginning on 15 January 2020. He has served as a UCT professor for more than 32 years. During that time, he served as Dean of Law, Interim Director of Postgraduate Studies, and Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 2016 and 2017. As a result, he has a good sense of how the university operates and will bring this knowledge and experience to assist the GSB in overcoming some of the challenges it faces. Professor Corder’s brief is to lead the implementation of the recommendations of the review team and to help strengthen the GSB while we reopen the search for a permanent director.

To assist with the search, UCT has hired Perrett Laver, the renowned international talent management firm, which has already begun work with our Department of Human Resources. We hope to have an appointment by September 2020.

Meanwhile, to strengthen the GSB’s strategic position, UCT has also hired the services of McKinsey & Company to work with the members of GSB leadership for four weeks, starting on 15 January.

I have every confidence that with the continued commitment of all GSB stakeholders, these three interventions will contribute to the growth of the GSB brand and take the school to even greater heights in 2020.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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