The value of an MBA degree has been widely criticised by scholars and business practitioners. Criticism includes assertions that business schools are too ‘academic’ meaning somehow that they fail to provide what the business world needs, or that they fail to impart useful skills or to prepare leaders. Some assert that an MBA does not lead graduates to good corporate jobs.
However, personal experience in the domain of the MBA, from both a student and institutional perspective, has convinced me that the MBA adds unquestionable value to the individual as well as provides for organisational growth. To take it a level further, it is my view that the collective output of MBAs from business schools in a country benefits the nation. There are definite positive results from creating learning environments that promote growth-producing experiences for students.
In most cases, students are the principal players in the teaching-learning transaction. Having an understanding that modern management requires the practical implementation of skills learned has seen the emphasis in MBA education shifting more towards perception, creative thinking and learning. In other words, an MBA now involves the complete being and engages the student cognitively, emotionally and physically. The impact of the three modes stimulated together shifts an MBA student’s perspective in a way that a focus on the cognitive part alone cannot. An MBA simulates an environment in which the student performs as close as possible to the manner in which it would happen in a business reality by immersing them in the milieu, requiring practice of the skills and receiving constructive feedback from an expert.
The MBA discourages the separation of thinking (formulation) from acting (implementation), because the world does not stand still while the formulation process takes place. MBA education recognises the complexity of the environment and that learning takes place through only a partly controlled, creative conscious thought process. In creating a learning environment, MBA educators provide for conversational learning, acting and reflecting, feeling and thinking, and influencing students to take charge of their own learning.
The challenges of the post-modern business landscape require leaders/managers to have a multidisciplinary skill-set. The multifaceted nature of the MBA and its orientation towards integrating all parts of the whole is therefore the ideal incubator for post-modern leaders.
A local context
An MBA curriculum should be designed to ensure a strong focus on the needs of the South African context and society, and on global events that influence the stability of local business. The MBA comprises two stages, the first of which provides a sound basis in core business management and leadership skills; the second focuses on integrated management, advanced leadership skills and global economics, including developing countries.
A significant shift in the student’s orientation takes place during the arduous MBA journey. The student’s perspective of the world of work and business widens with the achievement of each milestone or module completed. Ultimately, the new paradigm is practically applied when the journey culminates in the production of a dissertation, using appropriate academic register and business-aligned skills to demonstrate the ability to do independent research and to address real-life problems or opportunities within the context of the industry from which the student comes.
In the final analysis, feedback from MBA alumni and private and public industry stakeholders is overwhelmingly positive in terms of the value the MBA programme has added to the individuals and the organisations they serve. Recently published media surveys support this, and any doubts to the value of the MBA should diminish when reading the articles. Not acknowledging and recognising the value of the MBA and the outstanding work that so many business schools have done and continue to do in empowering and equipping MBA’s will be short-sighted in my view.
Bonang Matheba Announced As 2018 AWIEF Awards MC
AWIEF has announced multi –award winning radio host, TV presenter and style icon, Bonang Matheba as the 2018 AWIEF Awards MC and host.
Bonang Matheba, affectionately referred to by fans as Queen B, has firmly positioned herself as Africa’s most sought after entertainment personality and SA’s number one social media darling.
With just three weeks from recognising, honouring and celebrating women entrepreneurs and business-owners in Africa for their innovation, excellence and contribution towards economic growth and social development, AWIEF has also announced songstress, BUCIE as the music entertainer for the night.
40 Finalists out of more than 1350 nominations were revealed for the AWIEF Awards last month. Winners will be announced at The Westin Hotel in a five-star gala dinner on 9th November 2018.
Tickets to the awards evening are selling fast. To secure your seat, please click here.
Things Schools Need To Stop Doing To Grow Entrepreneurs
Here are 8 things that would make a significant impact on generating enterprising behaviour.
It is no secret that the current structure of the education system was designed in an entirely different age to achieve economic outcomes that are no longer viable due, in large, to the rapid innovation and adoption of technology.
But if we are to hope to help President Ramaphosa implement his vision for entrepreneurship as stated in the SONA 2018 address as, “The establishment through the CEOs Initiative of a small business fund – which currently stands at R1.5-billion – is an outstanding example of the role that the private sector can play. Government is finalising a small business and innovation fund targeted at start-ups,” we need to change how and what schools are teaching for this to be realised on a large scale.
Here are 8 things that would make a significant impact on generating enterprising behaviour:
1. Stop teaching kids using one or two teaching methods
Typically, teachers have defaulted to talking, reading and some visual aids to impact knowledge to learners and those children that don’t learn using these primary methods are at a disadvantaged and are often labelled as challenged. There are at least 6 different ways in which people learn, and entrepreneurs often fall into the lesser known ones. By blending methodologies that include interpersonal, kinaesthetic and intrapersonal with the more traditional ones, entrepreneurs will learn more effectively.
2. Stop Rewarding Conformity
Maybe it comes from a fear of anarchy or lawlessness, but the stringent rules that exist in schools punish children for exhibiting individualism and reward children for staying in line. Quite literally. This unwavering adherence to the rules without question, breeds thinkers of the same calibre and releases into the world children that cannot function without set structures that they must conform to when they actually need to be creatively problem solving in order to make a mark for themselves.
3. Stop Measuring Memory
How well a child can retain the dates, figures, theories or equations does not indicate the measure of a child’s intelligence. It only indicates how well their memory works and how adept the learner is at recalling what they have read or been taught. Remembering, according to Bloom’s Taxonomy, is a lower order thinking skill. Instead, let’s measure critical thinking, interrogation of ideas, application of thinking across contexts.
4. Stop Being a Teacher
When the world relied on a central person as the curator of knowledge, the world needed teachers. They were idolised and hailed as a custodian of growth and development due to the fact that they knew more about their subject than anyone else in society.
Today, the internet is the purveyor of information, a teacher if you will, and children no longer need to be taught the information but what to do with it. So long as children can read, the job of person at the front of the class is to educate not to teach.
5. Stop Running a Factory
From the uniforms to the desks to the bell that signals the start and end of lessons and the allotted amount of time dedicated to eating and going to the bathroom, schools are churning out citizens primed for factory work. The production line mentality has been conditioned into our children so much so that with the entry of technological automation and the removal of the human element in these mundane, routine tasks, we make them immediately redundant to the world.
6. Stop Labelling Every Disruptive Child as ADHD/ADD
As an educator myself and now an entrepreneur, I recognise the exhausting and relentless burden that our school-based teachers bare. They are weighed down with administration and parental expectations all whilst trying to navigate an education system that is increasingly deficient. Any child that does not learn in the usual manners and requires more attention or additional stimulation by non-traditional teaching methods.
If, as a country, we are dedicated to changing the current economic outlook not just for ourselves but for those that will inherit this legacy then the systems that shape our thinking must be changed too. Entrepreneurial thinking and action is discouraged and punished in our current education system and only once children leave behind the 12 years spent at school can they begin to unlearn this way of mental conditioning and become active citizens.
Chivas Venture Calling On South African Start-ups To Win A Share Of $1 million
South African applications for the Chivas Venture 2019 Now Open!
Today Chivas Regal announced the launch of the Chivas Venture 2019 – a global competition that gives away $1 million in no-strings funding every year to the hottest social start-ups from around the world.
The Chivas Venture provides a global platform for innovative enterprises that are using business to solve an array of social and environmental issues – and today marks the opening of the South African applications.
Since the competition’s launch in 2014, Chivas Venture-supported enterprises have enriched the lives of more than 1 million people in over 40 countries, across six continents.
Just as Chivas blends together whiskies to create award-winning Scotch, the Chivas Venture champions entrepreneurs who blend profit and purpose. Chivas’ belief in blending ambition with generosity, and in using success to enrich the lives of others, was instilled in the 19th century by founding brothers James and John Chivas. Today that philosophy is kept alive not only through award-winning Scotch, but also through initiatives including the Chivas Venture.
Richard Black, Global Marketing Director for Chivas, said:
“At Chivas we believe that blended is better – in life, business and Scotch – and the 100 finalists we have supported to date have proved this, finding the right blend of profit and purpose in their ventures. Since taking part, finalists have reported saving 8 million trees from deforestation, providing 24 million litres of safe drinking water to those in need, and funding 75,000 days of education for women and girls – and that’s just a few examples. The Chivas Venture is continuing to have a global impact and we are proud to be investing another $1 million for 2019.”
Applicants in each participating country will compete in local heats, with the South African winner flying to the United Kingdom to take part in an exclusive Accelerator Programme. Hosted by The Conduit – a new London establishment that serves as a home for a diverse community of people who are passionate about social change – the intensive training programme will give the global finalists the chance to hone their business and pitching skills.
Following the Accelerator Programme, the allocation of the first $100,000 of the fund will be put into the hands of the public with three weeks of online voting. The Chivas Venture 2019 will then culminate in a series of high-stake pitches at the Global Final in Europe, where the finalists will battle it out for the remainder of the $1 million fund.
Radley Connor, Marketing Manager for Chivas Regal SA says, “The Chivas Venture is an amazing platform for South African social entrepreneurs to attract investment and gain global exposure. The competition rewards and celebrates individuals whose purpose is to make a positive difference to society. If you have a great idea, that meets the requirements, we encourage you to enter.”
In 2017, innovative South African water company I-Drop water placed third in the global finals, walking away with close to R1 million in funding. Since winning, founder James Steere has received interest from investors globally.
Clement Mokoenene is the 2018 South African winner and the creator of the Vehicle Harvest Energy System (VEHS). His business is able to generate electricity at a much lower, affordable cost than coal-fired power stations which South Africa currently relies on. The system works by installing an overlay on the existing road to extract the pressure and transferring it to the side of the road, similar to a wind turbine. Mokoenene says a 1km highway stretch could generate enough energy to supply the entire South Africa.
To apply for the Chivas Venture 2019 and find out more about why blending profit and purpose is better, visit the Chivas Venture website.
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