UCT MBA, The MBA at the GSB is a life-changing programme. It will give you a solid grounding in international business with a strong focus on emerging markets. Emerging market business is confronted with a high degree of uncertainty, complexity, and often, excessive inequality. Such a world needs new ideas and solutions, and we’re focusing our energy on developing teaching and research that responds to this need.
The MBA programme is offered as a one-year, full-time course or in a two-year, modular format for delegates who are unable to study full-time.

Our Five Learning Goals:

1. Demonstrate the necessary managerial knowledge, tools and techniques to be an efficient and effective manager.

  • A clear understanding of the concepts, theories and leading issues in the field of general management and business administration
  • An understanding of the context in which business operates
  • An ability to evaluate, synthesise and integrate relevant theories of management

2. Exhibit personal leadership competencies that reflect values-based solutions and can be applied to the contexts in which you operate.

  • Identify and evaluate the core constructs of leadership and its application to local and global contexts
  • Appreciate different perspectives and world views
  • Appreciate the relevance of personal concerns in leadership enhancement and identify and articulate personal values systems

3. Be able to adapt your management and leadership skills and apply these in diverse national and international contexts, with a sound understanding of sustainable development issues.

  • Understand the different challenges that businesses and leaders face when they operate in diverse national and international environments
  • Be able to adapt to diverse cultures and institutional environments and operate in conditions of uncertainty
  • Understand sustainable development issues and the role of business in promoting these

4. Demonstrate entrepreneurial competencies based on innovation and creativity.

  • Approach, decipher, and ultimately create value for entrepreneurial enterprises
  • Develop various tools and skills to identify areas in which a business or innovation is viable
  • Initiate relationships and engage with various stakeholders to further develop innovative ideas and proposals for businesses of all types

5. Possess the pedagogical skills of critical thinking, problem solving, collection and analysis of data and effective written communication.

  • Understand research skills and be able to manipulate quantitative information, graphs and equations
  • Understand, evaluate and critique written texts of descriptive, prescriptive and argumentative character
  • Conduct independent research and produce written texts in line with international standards
  • Communicate verbally or in writing with professional audiences
  • Challenge orthodoxies and redefine existing knowledge, while demonstrating an awareness of the nature of knowledge in the field



1.  Intensive 11-month journey, starting in the middle of January and ending in the 2nd week of December. 1.  Six full-time, two-week modules over two years; except for the first module which is three weeks. Participants need only be absent from their workplace for a total of 13 weeks over two years.
2.  Over 500 contact hours. 2.  Core courses are covered in the first four modules and the electives in the final two.
3.  Final exams taken at UCT. 3.  Over 500 contact hours.
4.  Most core courses covered in the first two terms, electives taken over terms 3 and 4 and overlaps with the 2nd year Modular MBA programme. 4.  Inter-modular periods are used for readings, assignments, midterm and final assessments.  Student support is provided consistently during the modules and inter-modular periods.
5.  Exchange opportunities with over 42 schools globally. 5.  Exchange opportunities with over 42 schools globally.
6.  Extensive group work over the 11 months. 6.  Extensive group work over the two years.
We are able to accommodate written examinations which usually occur outside the prescribed module dates, on either Saturdays or Sundays, at the following locations.  Students outside these locations, need to inform the Director of the MBA programme of his/her circumstances.


Cape Town
Port Elizabeth
East London
Windhoek (Namibia)
Harare (Zimbabwe)
Nairobi (Kenya)
Lagos (Nigeria)
Kinshasa (DRC)
Blantyre (Malawi)
Port Louis (Mauritius)
Gaborone (Botswana)
London (United Kingdom)

The electronic-learning platform, Vula, is used extensively for delivery of reading material and for feedback for both the full-time and modular classes. Additional student support for modular students is given by the MBA director, faculty and a dedicated student support coordinator. Reliable internet access is therefore essential.
Be part of a dynamic, challenging and fun-filled journey where students can join student clubs at the GSB, be part of student run initiatives such as the Women in Business conference or take part in the Vino Varsity wine competition.


31 Oct Application deadline

Now that you have decided to take the next step, let us guide you on your application journey for the MBA programme.
The following section contains everything you need to know about applying for an MBA at the UCT Graduate School of Business. We recommend that you take the time required to familiarise yourself with the application requirements. It is vital that you understand what is required in terms of the documents you need to fill out, what supporting documents are required and how they need to be submitted.
IMPORTANT: Please complete all 5 steps below and most importantly, the UCT Online Application (the last step).
Application Closing Date: 31 October 2018


Course designs are updated and adapted annually, therefore the topics listed for each course can be considered as a guideline of what students can expect to be covered on each course.

1. Organisations, Leadership and Values

This course seeks to introduce students to leadership theories, organisational leadership and the complexity of a number of leadership and managerial situations and to give insight into the underlying processes.  The course invites students to develop a critical attitude towards leadership theories and practices.  It aims to develop a thorough understanding of the relationships between organisations, people, and leadership.
The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Contextual and global considerations for leaders, leadership and organisations
  • Organisational structures, organisational culture, people in organisations
  • Various leadership theories
  • Values-based leadership
  • Organisational values
  • The dark side of leadership, toxic leadership

2. Evidence- Based Practice

The objective of this course is for students to develop the capabilities to integrate a discerning and well-informed approach to existing evidence and research into their managerial decision-making processes.
The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Availability, representativeness and affect heuristics
  • Confirmation bias and the halo effect
  • Anchoring, framing and mental accounting
  • Decisions under risk
  • Critical thinking
  • Cognition and cognitive closure
  • Analytical vs experiential reasoning; analytical vs holistic thinking; independent vs interdependent and dialectical self

3. Markets in Emerging Countries

The course provides an in-depth analysis of markets from various perspectives, focusing on how they differ within emerging and developing countries.
The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Market failures, information asymmetries and externalities in emerging countries
  • Markets in “anthropology”
  • The politics of markets: Influence of emerging political models
  • Markets and power: Exploration of different models/systems of markets in developed and emerging economies
  • Feminist economics and its interpretation of markets
  • Markets in an international context
  • Markets at the base of the pyramid

4. Business, Government and Society

During this course students will be familiarised with a variety of economic, social, environmental and political trends and developments that may impact either directly or indirectly on the strategy and operations of businesses in an emerging market economy such as South Africa. They will also be challenged to consider the role and some of the current responses of the business community to these trends.
The following topics are covered on this course:

  • The complex nature of the many challenges societies face in relation to the role of the business community
  • The role of business in society
  • The role of institutions in explaining growth in emerging markets
  • Political regimes and economic growth in emerging markets
  • Identification and evaluation of successful developmental states
  • Doing business in Africa
  • Country risk assessments
  • Integrating sustainability in organisational strategy
  • The complexity of social-ecological problems
  • Cross-sector collaboration

5. Leadership and Personal Development

The course is intended to be a catalyst for personal reflection and insight into processes and concepts critical for completing the MBA successfully, as well as to provide a platform for future work and personal success.
The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Personal narrative and storytelling
  • Ego-states, awareness and mental models
  • Psychological archetypes and creative leadership
  • Mindfulness, becoming present and embodiment
  • Neuroscience and the brain
  • Construction of power and choice
  • Personal character
  • Self-Care and resilience
  • Team composition and leading teams

6. Economics for Business

The economy is the environment of business. Thus the purpose of the course is to outline the key principles of economics that will be of use to students in their working lives. This course is a principles course in micro and macroeconomics.
The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Business cycles and economic indicators
  • Macroeconomic foundations
  • Markets and prices, supply and demand
  • Monetary developments, interest rates and financial markets
  • Balance of payments and exchange rates
  • Inflation and real exchange rates
  • Government and policy

7. Accounting

The Accounting course focuses on introducing MBA students to the language of accounting and providing students with the ability to read, interpret and understand financial statements.
The following topics are covered on this course:

  • The annual report, GAAP, IFRS, international developments
  • Financial analysis
  • The statement of comprehensive income
  • The statement of cash flows
  • Assets (property, plant & equipment,  investment properties, impairment, intangibles,  non-current assets held for sale, goodwill, inventories)
  • Liability (provisions, contingencies and post-balance sheet events, employee benefits)
  • Group accounting (subsidiaries, associates, joint ventures, goodwill)
  • Management accounting: CVP analysis, budgeting and cost management, financial performance measures
  • Strategic management accounting – the balanced scorecard

8. Organisational Behaviour and People Management

The OBPM course will provide an overall organisational approach to people management strategies and covers three main themes:

  1. The Individual in the organisation
  2. High performance work practice
  3. Leading and managing people

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • The organisation in context
  • The individual and the organisation
  • High performance organisations
  • High performance work practices
  • Employee participation and workplace empowerment
  • International people management, managing diversity in organisations
  • Employment equity
  • Managing organisational change
  • The attraction factor: recruitment and selection
  • Motivation and retention; coaching and mentoring
  • The challenges of leading and managing people in (South) Africa

9. Operations Management

This course aims to equip students with the ability to describe and analyse operations and to understand the key operations decision areas with respect to process, capacity, inventory, workforce, quality and measurement.
The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Introduction to operations and value-stream mapping
  • Operations strategy
  • Process flow analysis
  • Problem solving toolkits and product-process matrix
  • Supply chain management
  • Integrated material and production management, lean thinking
  • Operation strategies in emerging markets
  • Operations in online retail
  • Operations in service industries
  • Disruptive technologies and transformation system design
  • Operations in the health care sector
  • Operations for entrepreneurs

10. Finance

The MBA Finance course focusses on both theory and practice at a corporate and investor level. This course will enable students to develop an understanding of the practical aspects of finance.
The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Introduction to finance and South Africa’s financial economic history
  • Corporate Governance Theory, Integrating EESG criteria into corporate valuation
  • Role of the shareholders, board and executive management: Corporate Governance today
  • Modern portfolio theory
  • Efficient market hypothesis (EMH), Security market line (SML), Capital asset pricing model (CAPM), Behavioural finance
  • Cost of equity, cost of debt, weighted average cost of capital
  • Capital budgeting
  • Capital restructuring mergers and acquisitions (M&A), leverage, Modigliani & Miller (M&M) theorems
  • Interest, present and future values, perpetuities and annuities, bonds, shares
  • Financial forecasting, valuation of unlisted companies
  • The role of financial markets and institutions

11. Marketing

This course provides students with an overview of the marketing function and is designed to give students confidence in their ability to apply marketing theory in business practice.
The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Marketing and marketing planning
  • Marketing analysis: Evaluating opportunities and focusing marketing strategy
  • Consumer and organisational buyer behaviour
  • E-marketing / digital marketing
  • Product strategy
  • Distribution strategy
  • Integrated marketing communications strategies
  • Personal selling and sales management
  • Pricing strategy

12. Social Innovation Entrepreneuring

This course offers MBA students an introduction to the rapidly emerging field of social innovation. While there are many emerging perspectives on social innovation, most generally a social innovation can be understood as an intentional, positive, creative shift in systemic social-ecological patterns.
The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Theories and practices of social Innovation
  • Frameworks and tools for social entrepreneuring
  • Perspectives on social innovation
  • Organisational forms and purposes, hybridisation
  • Social innovation in emerging countries

13. Strategy

The course aims to introduce students to the fundamental principles and concepts of strategic management. It serves as an opportunity to develop their skills for strategic thinking and analysis. Students learn about business strategy and corporate strategy formulation relevant to the macro-environmental industry and competitive drivers facing the organisation, as well as the role that purpose, resources and capabilities play in strategy formation and action. An important aim is that the student develops rigour and confidence in their own ability to think and work in a strategic context.
The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Statements of strategy – business models
  • Strategy from the inside out
  • Competitive forces that shape strategy
  • Pragmatic strategy
  • The link between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility
  • Business-level and corporate-level strategy
  • Executing strategic change
  • Strategy in emerging economies
  • Strategy for turbulent times

14. Social Innovation Lab

This course emphasises the practical application of social innovation concepts in real-world contexts. It is structured as a lab that builds on the conceptual material introduced in the Social Innovation Entrepreneuring core course.
The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Exploring contemporary social innovation in South Africa
  • Innovating business models towards social change
  • Planning for social impact
  • Innovations in social finance
  • Action learning projects

After completion of this course, students are able to:
Develop concepts, mind sets, skills, and relationships that will enable them to engage and evolve as active social innovators throughout their careers, regardless of position or sector.

15. Business Model Innovation Lab

The Business Model Innovation Lab will provide students with the opportunity to critically explore, through the combined use of integrative and systems thinking, business models and innovation. In resonance with the broader vision of the GSB, this course uses the emerging market context as the backdrop within which to explore the intriguing developments of innovation responsive to a highly volatile, uncertain, and yet, promising economy such as South Africa.
The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Integrative thinking – the opposable mind
  • Modelling problem spaces using systems thinking
  • Systems thinking
  • Complexity and generative reasoning
  • Cross sector innovation
  • Organisational design
  • Design thinking
  • Systematic inventive thinking
  • The innovation ecosystem

16. Research Methods and Research Report

This course is delivered in two parts. The first part will assist in preparing students for the MBA research project, by training them to develop a well-reasoned, empirically rigorous argument and how to make decisions on the basis of existing evidence and research. During the second part of the course, students will take what they have learned and apply this to writing up their research topic.
After completion of phase one students will be able to:

  • Prepare an academically sound and practically relevant research proposal,
  • Undertake a research project under the guidance of a supervisor and on the basis of the proposed research, which illustrates the sound and diligent application evidence-based decision making skills, and the writing of a research report
  • Understand varying models of decision-making and how these relate to data, analysis and extant research, and applying appropriate techniques and practices
  • Modelling cause-effect relationships and considering probabilities in framing and making decisions in professional organisational practices
  • Appreciate and apply appropriate methods for measuring diverse forms of variables pertinent to organisational practices

After completion of the research report, students are able to:

  • Demonstrate their understanding of the characteristics of good business research and are able to critically assess and review research of others
  • Demonstrate their understanding of the business research process and how it can be applied to solve business problems
  • Appropriately select a research design, select data resources and data collection methods
  • Develop and complete a sound research proposal and dissertation


MBA Full-Time Programme

2019 Term Dates

Term 1 11 January – 12 April 2019
Term 2 22 April – 5 July 2019
Term 3 13 July – 13 September 2019
Term 4 28 September – 9 December 2019

MBA Modular Programme – 1st year

2019 Cohort Module Dates

Module 1 11 January – 2 February 2019
Module 2 4 May – 18 May 2019
Module 3 31 August – 14 September 2019

MBA Modular Programme – 2nd year

2019 Cohort Module Dates

Module 4 23 February – 9 March 2019
Module 5 13 July – 27 July 2019
Module 6 28 September – 12 October 2019

Students with outstanding balances on their fees accounts will not have any subsequent application processed until the debt has been settled in full.


The GSB MBA programme is geared toward talented and mature adults who have proven academic ability and business experience, and who are highly motivated to succeed. Students are selected, inter alia, on their capacity for personal and professional development. The GSB uses a number of criteria in selecting candidates.

To be considered for the GSB MBA candidates need to:

  • Be 25 years or older
  • Have a minimum of three years work experience.
  • Be fluent in English. Applicants whose mother tongue is not English will be required to produce a TOEFL certificate to verify fluency in English.
  • Have completed either a Bachelor Honours degree or Postgraduate Diploma or a cognate Bachelor’s Degree equivalent at level 8 through relevant work experience. Candidates not meeting the degree requirement can apply through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) route and submit the Portfolio of Learning (POL) assessment form.
  • All applicants are required to write the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) and obtain an acceptable GMAT score. A GMAT score of 550 will ordinarily be required.   The GSB offers a five-day GMAT Preparation Course to help students prepare for the GMAT.

In addition to the above criteria the GSB uses a number of other indicators including essays about life experience, goals, attitudes and values, evaluations from two referees as well as details of job, educational and extramural activities.


May be required. Applicants will be informed.
Admission is also guided by considerations such as whether or not the applicant will make a contribution to the programme, not to mention, benefit from it.