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Welcome to the South African Business Schools Association (SABSA) homepage.

SABSA aims not only to improve the recognition of the organisation as a representative of SA business schools with government and regulatory bodies, but also to strengthen ties with the business fraternity. SABSA members all offer MBA or MBL programmes accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE). Nineteen member business schools are spread geographically around South Africa offering full-time, part-time, modular or executive MBA programmes.  A broad range of Executive Education short courses are also offered.

Visit the members section to locate a school to meet your needs.   

SABSA'S Executive Committee 2018-2020

 Dr Millard Arnold         Dr Randall Jonas        Fulu Netswera           

  CEO: Dr Millard Arnold                             Chairperson: Dr Randall Jonas         Vice Chair: Prof Fulu Netswera          Vice Chair: Prof Jon Foster-Pedley                                                                                   

Prof Nicola Kleyn

Immediate Past Chairperson: Prof Nicola Kleyn


MBA Entry Requirements

1. A four year Bachelor’s degree or 

2. A post-graduate Diploma (Business Administraion) at Level 8 or

3. An applicable Honours degree or

4. A RPL process (candidates admitted according to a RPL process cannot comprise more than 10% per intake) 

5. Any additional admission requirements set by the individual business school.




31 OCTOBER 2018

The business education landscape has been experiencing several shifts in the recent period. While many tensions and challenges pervade society and our industry, SABSA has always, through reflection, perceptively recalibrated its mandate. 

Hence, pursuant to its strategic intent of strengthening ties with business and civil society, SABSA has taken a fresh look at the business of Business Schools in an ever-changing world. Very often Deans and Directors of Business Schools face tremendous challenges and tensions. One of the biggest challenges for our members in an emerging economy is balancing the important issues of relevance, legitimacy, value and reputation in an evolving order of deficits in ethical leadership and responsible management amidst a gamut of socio-economic challenges such as unemployment, poverty and inequality. 

Some of the issues under scrutiny are the problem of exclusion for the many who do not make it into tertiary education, technology, socio-economic problems, democracy, the leadership ethos and the purpose of Business Schools. These matters form multiple contexts which cannot be ignored.

At the Lekgotla in July this year, the Deans and Directors focused their lenses on the sustainability of the SABSA value proposition. SABSA recognises that through its Research and Development capabilities it can and will provide business intelligence to organised business to develop key economic clusters in an economic growth and development strategy. Many of our Deans and Directors as well as our academics are already engaged with business, government and civil society providing consulting advisory services. In some instances a quadruple helix model of collaboration is advocated. 

Adopting a bottom of the pyramid approach, our thoughts were also focused on an equitable dispensation for those who are not able to attain access into tertiary education institutions. At the September Indaba the Deans and Directors contemplated the purpose of Business Schools. Positing ‘shared value’ at the centre of the deliberations, the meeting reaffirmed the social mission of Business Schools. Inspired by a narrative of business for good, the consensus among members on Landau Terrace, Milpark, was that social impact is a golden thread that pervades the purpose business and Business Schools: business success must evolve to social prosperity and the common good must be reflected in our curricula. 

This new agenda will require a rethinking and redefinition of the Deans and Directors of Business Schools: A new leadership ethos that focuses on executive ability, strategic and organisational expertise. Attributes like innovation-, people, - and strategic skills, effective and efficient management of the enterprise’s finances, stakeholders and core business, will be some of the essential elements of leading in the emerging new contexts of Business Schools.  


MILLARD ARNOLD: Are business schools still relevant?

In some part, this is due to the metamorphosis of the workplace. The World Economic Forum predicts that "by 2020, more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will comprise skills that are not yet considered crucial to the job today".

Last year Michael Mankins, a partner at Bain & Company, wrote in the Harvard Review that "innovations will change the basis of competition in many markets and alter the sources of advantage for most companies. Business-critical roles — jobs that are central to differentiating a company from its competitors and successfully executing strategy — will also change."

Critically, he adds, "companies will be forced to rethink the talent they will need to play these business-critical roles in the future".

For business schools, the implications are huge. If these changes are to take place in less than a decade, the challenge for business schools is to develop courses, programmes and initiatives that will align with business needs.

With 18 diverse member schools with varying strengths, objectives and approaches, the SA Business Schools Association (Sabsa) commissioned a study, "Alternative Futures for Business Schools in SA". It sifted through a range of concerns, from SA’s stagnant economic environment, rising social expectations and fluctuating ideological shifts in the political space. Throw in changes in student demands, technological advances and a cumbersome regulatory environment, and it’s clear that business schools are hard-pressed to structure a coherent formula to address all of this.

It is easy to understand why those unaware of these complexities are quick to say that business schools are in decline.

SA business schools offer insights into transformation and the unique demands of emerging economies

But it is no easy task to develop courses that adapt for these rapidly changing demands, while offering a quality MBA endorsed by the Council on Higher Education (CHE).

Just getting the CHE’s approval (as you must) can take years. And business schools are doing this, while having to predict the needs of business years from now.

Other challenges include more "commoditisation" of management education through "MicroMasters" designed to address specific needs, understanding artificial intelli-gence, the future of work, edutourism as a potentially lucrative revenue stream, and creating flexible options for working students.

Winning strategy

The Sabsa study suggests that unless business schools manage costs in a leaner way, adopt tech-enabled alternative delivery models and form strategic collaborations, they will find it harder to fashion a winning strategy to address the long-term needs of business.

More importantly, the study also found that a concentrated, coherent and thoughtful engagement with society and the business community could yield favourable results.

"By positioning themselves as a partner for inclusive development," the report says, "business schools are able to enhance their social licence among citizens and societal stakeholders ... [while] the business community views schools as beacons of excellence, opening avenues to relevant, game-changing ways of doing business."

Despite the naysayers, SA business schools are extremely competitive. They offer insights into transformation, issues of inequality and the unique demands of emerging economies that few others can match, globally.

Change is inevitable, but the fact is that SA business schools have energetically and aggressively squared up to the challenge.

Expect the face of business schools to look very different indeed by 2028.

• Arnold is CEO of the SA Business Schools Association







Past President of SABSA: 2014-2016

Prof Owen Skae @OwenSkae

“South Africa can be justifiably proud of its Business Schools, which continue to contribute to the development of leaders and managers in commerce and industry, the public sector and civil society. We have world class institutions that provide the relevant context to prepare leaders and managers for the work challenges and opportunities that confront them. The added advantage of having a diverse grouping of Business Schools, means that any potential MBA candidate can find the school that best fits their needs and aspirations. 


“There is no doubt in my mind that that MBA is still the premier business qualification today. It is widely acknowledged that South Africa’s economic growth is not at a level that is required to create jobs and provide meaningful opportunities for as many of our citizens as possible, particularly the youth. This means that we have to find new ways of meeting the leadership and management challenges of today. The status quo is not working and hence it is critical that South Africa and Africa produces more MBA graduates and probably doubling the number we have, is still not enough.   

“An MBA exposes you to a variety of disciplines, requires you to engage critically with them, provides you with access to a network that is unsurpassed and there is no doubt enhances your career prospects. But most importantly of all, it provides you with an opportunity to meaningfully contribute to the development of our country and continent by creating the potential for you to be a more effective leader and manager. This means creating and implementing strategies that make our organisations sustainable, competitive and resilient. This is what we desperately need if our continent is to fulfil its potential. There is no other qualification that provides the means for you to achieve that.”   

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 SABSA Secretariat

Anne Wilson/ info@sabsa.co.za / anne@sabsa.co.za

+27 (0) 828287300 

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