While a known holiday destination, South Africa also houses top ranked business schools, including Africa’s number one program, –according to the Corporate Knights 2021 Better World MBA ranking–at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business
UCT GSB’s 11-month full-time MBA provides a global approach to business, with an additional African perspective, helping students kickstart their international careers in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).
Here are six reasons to consider studying abroad in South Africa for your MBA:
1. Affordable tuition fees
Studying an MBA comes with a significant price tag. The average cost of an MBA program in the US is around $226k. Students must also budget for rising living costs, extra-curricular activities, and healthcare.
Studying an MBA in South Africa is affordable in comparison to the UK or the US. For example, the full-time MBA program at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business costs around $16k (R 285 450) for African residents.
For international students, tuition fees stand at a still affordable $31k, comparing favorably with schools around Europe. Yet, the extra costs of living in South Africa are considerably lower than in Europe or the US, allowing students to enjoy student life while getting a strong ROI from their MBA.
2. World-class universities
With more than a dozen business schools across the country, South Africa is not short of MBA program options. The top-ranked and most popular b-school in the country and continent is the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, representing more than 138 nationalities and an alumni network of 23k from 68 countries.
When researching world-class universities for application, it’s important to double-check which institutions and foundations a school is affiliated with—European Foundation for Management Development, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and the Association of MBAs are a few of those already associated with UCT GSB.
UCT GSB MBA Student Salma Zacharia’s (pictured) decision to study at the university was a no a brainer. “[It] is one of the best universities on the continent, it has amazing research and facilities,” she says.
3. Innovative and expansive curriculum
As with most MBA programs, courses in South Africa teach the core foundations of management, business, and leadership.
But what makes this destination particularly unique is the added learning opportunities for students to develop a deep understanding of the most challenging issues faced by business leaders today, argues Caitlin Ferreira (pictured), UCT GSB MBA program director.
These include issues of diversity and inclusion, value-based leadership, the relationship between business, government and society, macroeconomic volatility, and climate change and sustainability.
The full-time MBA at UCT GSB was ranked the best MBA in Africa and 22nd in the world, according to Corporate Knights 2021 Better World MBA ranking, largely on the strength of the school’s focus on impact and sustainability.
“Students will find that the perspective they develop and the experiences they have while studying in Cape Town will help them to navigate their careers and lead successful organisations wherever they work around the world,” says Caitlin.
4. It offers a global perspective for an international career
Along with an innovative and expansive curriculum, MBA grads studying in South Africa are well prepared to kickstart their international business career. As a hub for international business, Cape Town offers a unique EMEA perspective to business students.
“MBA students studying in South Africa gain new insights into opportunities and risks that they would not see in developed markets,” says Caitlin.
South Africa is also a popular destination for international MBA students, making these programs extremely diverse. You’re able to learn the multicultural differences in doing global business and develop your skills for a global career.
Caitlin adds: “Students in our full-time and modular programmes have ample and intentional opportunities to network with one another, while the school receives exchange students from around the world who provide additional international perspectives and networks for UCT MBAs.”
5. South Africa offers a unique cultural experience for MBA students
Its breathtaking scenic views and incomparable nature reserves and wildlife might be enough to draw anyone to study in South Africa.
Salma, originally from Tanzania, has spent many years in Cape Town relishing the unique landscape the city and its surrounds offer while studying at UCT Graduate School of Business.
“Going on long drives and absorbing the scenery around me calms me and helps me deal with stress a lot,” explains Salma.
If you’re an outdoors-y person, the country you offers plenty of hiking destinations including Table Mountain and Lion’s Head.
“One of the world’s most beautiful cities—with mild weather, tremendous sporting opportunities, some of the world’s best restaurants, bars and wineries, short flights to fascinating ecological area, rapidly-growing cities and a very affordable quality of life,” says Caitlin.
6. MBAs in English
Speaking fluent English at a professional level is vital in the business world. English is widely spoken in South African—it’s one of the country’s 11 official languages—and the medium of education
Students applying to study an MBA at UCT GSB must demonstrate fluency in English prior to being admitted.
University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (UCT)
New experiences and new connections
The university is a vibrant environment with a blend of cultures and languages from around the world. The lecturers are world-renowned and give their all in ensuring that the lectures are understandable and engaging. I would definitely recommend a prospective student to enjoy the UCT experience
You can find people of every race and culture at UCT. This is especially beneficial for students from towns and rural areas. This diversity promotes self-development, foreign language study, courage, and a strong sense of moral principles. There is always academic support available, and students are given the assistance they need to succeed academically. Health care facilities are conveniently located on campus and are all easily accessible at UCT.
The programme covers all the principles necessary to understand in order excel in your career and workplace. As a computer science graduate, the programme has better prepared me for real life. Not only with programming skills but with an in-depth understanding of the field I am in. The campus is really beautiful, with a huge aspect of GREEN. There is literally plants everywhere which makes the place looks beautiful and shows the university cares for the environment. All the students are super nice too!
It was great fun and learning experience at the University of Cape Town. I believe it is ranked the top university of Africa because of its extra and exceptional way of learning which start from scratch.
The greatest thing about UCT is the amount of diversity - there are people from all over Africa and usually there are exchange students and just foreigners. The fact that it is also the top university in Africa is telling.
Best Short Courses
I recently complete the UCT marketing short online course in partnership with Getsmarter. I had a fantastic experience. I would recommend this to anyone. It take Up to 3 month to complete the course. There is a variety to chose from. It is great to help you advance in your career but it will not take years to complete. Great way to equip yourself in different areas and definitely worth the money you spent. Great tutors as well
This is the best university ever. The students' wellbeing are their top priority. During the fire that occurred at the campus, resulting in facilities such as res and libraries badly burned. The university took it upon themselves to sent us to private accommodation where they paid for our stay. I will never forget that experience and will always be grateful for what UCT has done!
I started my journey at the university of Cape Town in 2019, as a foreign students I can say it was accommodating and not even a day did I feel discriminated. It has good facilities and ranked one of the best university in South Africa. The fees are expensive though especially for foreign students
Brilliant for FM career
The courses were interactive and the lecturer and support staff were supportive. There was a wealth of knowledge in the casework and the outcomes were realistic and relevant to the industry. The assessments were clear and unambiguous.
UCT is a prestigious institution known for its high academic standards, research excellence, and contributions to the global academic community. The university has a diverse and experienced faculty, many of whom are renowned experts. UCT's campus is located on the slopes of Table Mountain, offering stunning views and a picturesque environment for students to study and socialize. The school is also a hub for research and innovation. contrary to that, UCT's tuition and living costs can be a barrier for some students, and financial aid options may be limited for international students. While the campus is generally safe, certain areas around the university may have safety concerns, requiring students to be mindful of their surroundings. Some undergraduate courses at UCT may have large class sizes, which could impact individualized attention and student-faculty interaction.
My overall experience has been exceptional, One of the highlights of studying at UCT is the university's renowned academic reputation. The stimulating and challenging courses provided by passionate and knowledgeable professors have allowed me to expand my knowledge and explore various fields. UCT boasts a plethora of student clubs, societies, and sports teams that cater to diverse interests. This has enabled me to pursue my passion for music by joining the university's orchestra and collaborating with fellow musicians. The campus facilities are well-maintained and modern, offering state-of-the-art libraries, laboratories, and recreational spaces. The university's commitment to sustainable practices is also commendable, with initiatives such as recycling programs and eco-friendly buildings. In terms of support services, UCT has an extensive range of resources available to students. Finally, UCT's location in the vibrant city of Cape Town adds another dimension to the student experience.