General MBAs beneficial in business - CNBC Africa

General MBAs beneficial in business

Southern Africa

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Business schools are vital to the economic empowerment of South Africa's citizens. PHOTO: Getty Images

“What we see is people thinking very hard about what an MBA is and we’ve always believed that MBA’s and running big businesses are about general management – what are the good things to do. Following the crisis, a lot of people jumped from a general MBA, [saying] let’s have an MBA in, for example, financial services,” John Board, head of Henley Business School International, told CNBC Africa.

“What happens then is you lose the focus that you need. A lot of the criticism has been about these over-focused MBAs. If you look at the crisis, the way things have followed on from that, what people are now saying is there are sensible things to do when you’re running any business and one of the worst things you can do is focus so closely say all I do is run financial services, nothing else.”

Businesses are important to the fiscal growth of a country as well as to job creation and economic empowerment. Small businesses however are still battling to stand on their own after the financial crisis and this is why business schools have become so vital.


“The way the business school is developing is very much managing it in a way that allows Henley to contribute properly to South African higher education,” Board explained.

“The ability of an international business school starting from a relatively small base to be up there with business schools is a large triumph for us. Where we’ll be in a couple of years time? A lot closer.”

Board added that acquiring MBAs online however should be seen as a style of delivery and a social development.

“Five years ago people would have said distance learning is a poor relation of coming and studying full time. What we see now is it’s a mode of study – almost like a lifestyle choice. Take that and have the right amount of physical face-to-face support to allow networking and personal development,” he said.