SA business schools rated Africa’s best

2 December 2013

Two South African business schools have been ranked as the top “emerging global schools” in the Middle East and Africa in a survey of the world’s top business schools released last week.

The University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business pips the University of the Witwatersrand’s Wits Business School in Johannesburg to claim top position. The American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates and the American School in Cairo, Egypt, are ranked third and fourth respectively.

The QS Global Business Schools survey interviews employers who actively recruit MBA graduates. The survey is the largest of its kind and includes responses from 4 318 employers.

International recruiters “know firsthand what they want in their employees and which schools most successfully engender these qualities. More importantly, they are the ones who decide who to hire based on this,” QS says on its website.

The survey includes 200 business schools around the world. UCT and Wits both fall into the second highest “emerging global” category. “These are schools which can boast an established reputation for excellence beyond their region,” the report says.

“Though these two top business schools in Africa cannot yet match the more glamorous names of the ‘elite global’ category, it is expected that they will move up in the years to come.”

“There are many more business schools across the African continent, but management education is still in its infancy and it will take many years before these schools achieve real prominence on the international stage,” the report says.

The survey shows that graduates from the UCT can expect to enjoy post-MBA salaries of around $82 000 (around R840 000) – among the highest in the world and the highest in the African region. With this kind of earning power, UCT can already compete with the elite global business schools, the report says.

The survey shows that UCT’s graduates – 75% of whom are South African – are among the world’s top earners, “with the average salary in US dollars three years after graduation comfortably exceeding $130 000”.

As a comparison, the report finds salaries at the world’s top business schools in the US and Europe average about $123 000, including bonuses.

The leading schools in other regions surveyed are: Harvard and Stanford lead North America; INSEAD in France and the UK’s London Business School top the Europe table, while INSEAD in Singapore leads the Asia-Pacific region. These five schools received the maximum score for employer recognition.

Recent accolades

UCT’s business school was the only African business school to make the inaugural “Which MBA?” ranking featured in The Economist in August. This ranking is designed to assist prospective Executive MBA (EMBA) students in choosing a programme best suited to them. It is also the only MBA programme in Africa listed in the Financial Times Top 100 Global MBA ranking.

Meanwhile, Wits announced on its website recently that it had been ranked at 24 out of 100 universities in a survey published by Times Higher Education. “The inaugural list, revealing the higher education institutions that have educated the current chief executives of the world’s largest companies, pinned Wits at number 24, with UCT, the only other African university on the list, coming in at number 79.”

SAinfo reporter and QS TopMBA.com