2020 South Africa Visits
The is second episode in my Why I Love Africa (WILOA) series. In February 2020, I did whistle stops in Durban, Bloemfontein, and Cape Town as part of a 10-day visit to South Africa.
I visited scholars and administrators at the Durban University of Technology (Durban), University of the Free State Business School (Bloemfontein) and the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (Cape Town).
As Head of the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship (University of Ghana Business School) at the time, I was looking to promote some product offerings from my department, like the flagship M.Sc. International Business Degree Programme, as well as seek research and consultancy partnerships.
Meeting with Professor Netswera Fulufelo
In Durban, I had meetings with my good friend, Professor Netswera Fulufelo, at the Durban University of Technology (DUT). Fulu, as I fondly call him, is the Executive Dean of the faculty of Management Sciences at DUT and had led two other Business Schools in South Africa before joining DUT.
One of the Business Schools he led is the North West University Business School, and he continues to serve a second term as the Deputy Chairperson of the South African Business Schools Association (SABSA).
He has also served as Grants Manager at the National Research Foundation (NRF) and Director of Research at the University of South Africa (UNISA).
Digital Service Delivery in Africa – Platforms and Practices Book
So, what did I discuss with Fulu? First, the possibility of working on a book project together as part a Palgrave Studies on Marketing in Emerging Economies (https://www.palgrave.com/gp/series/16591) I co-edit and then the impending launch of a new DUT MBA Programme.
On the book project, we have just completed and submitted the edited volume to Palgrave Macmillan and the book is entitled Digital Service Delivery in Africa – Platforms and Practices (https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9783030839086).
The book responds to the need for African enterprises and organisations – particularly those in the service sector – to fully exploit the inherent potential in digital platforms by putting in place processes to respond effectively to changing consumer demands.
The book further examines the scope and applications of digital businesses, emphasising the emergence, value-creation, and strategic implications for Africa’s private and public enterprises.
Finally, the book will be extremely useful to students, entrepreneurs, IT innovators, academics, and policymakers who will gain a greater understanding of how digitalisation is shaping consumer expectations, industry practices, and service delivery in Africa.
The DUT Business School
The “Digital Service Delivery in Africa” book is one of the books which will eventually be used for instruction of the new DUT MBA Programme. Started in August 2021, the crux of this new is the creation of an excellent value for money proposition grounded in solid African context but conceived and taught by a global galaxy of scholars and practitioners.
Professor Fulufelo indicated that the vision of the Business School was to introduce one of the most cost-effective MBA Programmes Africa had ever seen. I will return later to why this MBA Programme is one of the best in Africa today.
With a mission to leverage an applied business curriculum, which will enable leaders to solve real life problems which contribute to socio-economic transformation, the DUT Business School also has the vision to advance contemporary leadership in Southern Africa and beyond.
The DUT Business School offers the newly introduced flagship Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme, and a variety of Executive Education courses. The DUT Business School also designs tailor-made, in-house programmes and collaborates with corporate, public, and non-profit organisations to develop and train working professionals in Africa in various areas.
The DUT Business School’s academic programmes are accredited by the Council for Higher Education (CHE), registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and the DUT Business School is a member of the South African Business School Association (SABSA).
Are MBA Degrees Still Popular?
After the debilitating Covid-19 pandemic, it is fair to ask if spending time and money resources on an MBA Programme is still worth it? Well, in a June 2020 Forbes article (https://www.forbes.com/sites/paulinaguditch/2020/06/25/is-an-mba-worth-it-after-covid-19-absolutely-not/?sh=698aabd51111), Paulina Karpis argues that after COVID-19, looking to acquire an MBA is not worth it.
She argues that it is becoming clearer that an MBA degree is not just a questionable investment—it is a risk that is simply not worth it. Two of the most potent arguments she puts forward are high costs (as much as an MBA brand glitters, a price tag of $200,000 plus two years of lost wages just did not seem worth it) and the variety of online alternatives (MBA students will be watching their business courses online, just like you can, thanks to widely-accessible MOOCs—massive open online courses like Udemy and Coursera).
Liza Kirkpatrick, however, argues in a December 2020 Harvard Business Review Article (https://hbr.org/2020/12/is-an-mba-degree-really-worth-it) that an MBA can still yield tremendous benefits if you go into it with the right reasons.
Some of the most cogent reasons for embarking on MBA include a desire to accelerate your career path. She argues that MBA holders satisfy the need for employers looking to hire graduates with academic, interpersonal, and leadership skills to solve complex business problems and a good MBA delivers these skill sets.
A good MBA also helps to expand and diversify your network, as well as make your future-fit. Companies are looking to rebound after COVID-19 and the MBA provides skills that employers will look after as they look to rebuild and solidify their various workforces.
MBAs are still relevant and, as I conclude, I am happy to report that whether it is the criticism of Paulina or the recommendations of Liza, the DUT MBA seems to answer extremely well to both.
The DUT certainly does no command a US$200,000 price tag, not even a fourth of it. It is an excellent networking forum with the first cohort drawn from various public, private, and not-for-profit entities and the modules I will describe in the next section bear eloquent testimony to the future-fit requirements of Liza Kirkpatrick.
The DUT MBA – Why it is Special
The DUT MBA prepares students with the knowledge, attitudes, insight, and skills required for middle and senior management positions within both the private and the public sectors.
The DUT MBA graduate will be able to competently apply and integrate theoretical principles, evidence-based techniques, practical experience, and appropriate skills to their industry in an independent manner in a variety of management situations.
The flagship DUT MBA kicked off in August 2021 and the structure of the MBA is reflected next:
|Semester 1||Credits||Semester 2||Credits|
|Research Methodology||12||Strategic Human Resource Management & Change Management||12|
|Strategic Marketing||12||Corporate Governance & Business Ethics||12|
|Globalisation and Emerging Markets||16||Financial Management||12|
|Innovation & Entrepreneurship||12|
|Semester 3||Credits||Semester 4||Credits|
|Operations and Supply Chain||12||Research Report/Project||60|
|Leadership & Strategic Management||12|
|Choose one 12 credit elective below:
Local Government Management
Health Care Management
(Higher) Education Management
Disaster & Risk Management
International Maritime Policy and Law
The compulsory modules represent pertinent areas of management to provide students with knowledge to underpin management decision-making. The Research Methodology & Research Report module provides students with an opportunity to integrate the functional areas of management as well as to interrogate and analyse management problems and devise strategic and functional management solutions.
The elective modules were designed by industry leaders who are pioneers in their fields with a wealth of knowledge which feeds into the applied learning and teaching methods which the DUT Business School MBA was conceptualised around.
The compulsory modules were developed by leading professors, specialists in their field within South Africa and abroad. As far as course alignment with the principles of an international accreditation body such as AMBA is concerned, the DUT EMBA reflects most of the AMBA criteria with features including having an MBA Portfolio which is comprehensive and integrative and delivered, contact hours in alignment the AMBA criteria, and an integrative Capstone Project
So why do I recommend the DUT MBA?
I recommend the DUT MBA because it is offered through multi-modal mode, so you can enrol from anywhere in the world and visit Durban only when you want to. On visiting Durban as well, the DUT Business School will soon be moving its permanent address close to the King Shaka Airport and so students will have easy access, when block sessions are scheduled in the future.
Finally, if you deign to visit, Durban is a particularly cool city for relaxing with some of the most glorious beaches and recreational venues. After all, all work and no play make Jack – and Jill – a dull boy – and girl.
Professor Robert E. Hinson is a marketing consultant who works across several Universities in Africa.