UCT falls off top global MBA ranking

Mills Soko: Deeply disappointed. Picture: HETTY ZANTMAN
After 12 years among the world’s best, the MBA offered by the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) has fallen off the 2017 London Financial Times (FT) Top 100 ranking of full-time programmes.

The school has made plenty of marketing capital from its star status in the past so it’s no wonder that director Mills Soko admits to being deeply disappointed. Without GSB, there are no African schools on the FT list. “That is cause for real concern,” he says.

Pretoria University’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gibs) will learn in a few weeks if it has retained its place on a separate FT ranking for executive MBAs.

Soko became director on January 1, after the FT research was completed. He succeeded Walter Baets, who left mid-2016. The rankings are based, among other things, on value for money, academic research, gender equality, international exposure and faculty qualifications. Considerable weighting is given to salary differences before and after graduation. This time, graduates from 2013 were questioned.

GSB was placed 76th in 2016. “My understanding is that for 2017 we didn’t do well on research output and student career support,” says Soko. It also lost ground on salaries: the average FT difference between pre-MBA and late 2016 was 58%. However, the typical age of SA MBA students is older than in most countries so they are usually higher up the earnings scale before they study.

There is a familiar look at the top of the rankings. The Insead school, in France and Singapore, is first. American schools Stanford, Wharton and Harvard are close behind, with Cambridge and London from the UK coming in after.

Meanwhile, Wits Business School director Steve Bluen has resigned after three years. Bluen, appointed in 2014 to stabilise the school after a prolonged period of underperformance, says he wants to work independently on “various project assignments”. Administrative director Alison Sinclair will be acting head of school while a new director is sought.

DAVID FURLONGER

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