An increase in MBA credentials yields positive economic results

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Peter von Loesecke | MBA Tour

Investing in education and the right skills have become vital elements to a country’s economic growth, development and competitiveness in a global setting.

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According to a SA government statement at a WEF workshop entitled “Shaping the Future of Education and Skills,” the Minister in the Presidency Mr. Jeff Radebe said: “We are all eminently aware that competing in today’s globally interconnected, and almost daily shifting, economy is a complex affair. Our countries not only need advanced education, both technical and vocational, [but also] they need dynamic, fast-paced and ever evolving skills, and also, a flexible workforce that can adjust to these rapid shifts in demand.”

The demand for highly qualified business leaders is growing at a significant rate. Research and trends over the years indicate that the critical skills of tomorrow include not only problem-solving and creativity, but also innovation, design thinking, adaptability and communication skills — not to mention high levels of personal accountability.

Furthermore, The Future of Jobs and Skills in Africa report highlights that education and work in Sub-Saharan Africa will determine the livelihoods of nearly a billion people in the region and drive growth and development for generations to come. As one of the youngest populations in the world, it is imperative that adequate investments are made in education and learning that holds value in the labour market and prepares citizens for the world of tomorrow.

Africa’s role as a hub for economic growth and empowerment opportunities continues to gather pace. There do however remain critical challenges, in particular the need to create a significant number of jobs for the growing populations, as well as develop home-grown business leaders able to access global markets and drive growth in a sustainable and inclusive manner.

One of the key skills future leaders will need is the ability to learn and adapt at a rapid pace, and this can be achieved through studying for an MBA. The degree enables students to become innovative and dynamic managers in a broad range of industries and sectors, including entrepreneurial organisations as well as private and public institutions. The programme helps develop strategic, innovative, and entrepreneurial thinking in a global business context.

The MBA essentially involves understanding how businesses and organisations can be transformed to a competitive advantage. While the MBA degree is an end result, it is how one is taught to think during MBA study that is most important for business transformation.

Due to technology and innovation in most industries, services and products have become specialised and production processes are more sophisticated than ever. Several jobs these days require workers with advanced skills and higher levels of education. Therefore, the overarching value of an MBA lies in its ability to accelerate learning. In a world in which information comes at us from all angles, this is fundamentally important. However, as leaders, MBA graduates cannot just do this for their personal learning: they need to build and develop organisations that learn rapidly. Building the right talent for Africa’s jobs of today and tomorrow is critical.

I believe an MBA is an essential qualification for promotion in certain industries like Finance and Management Consulting.  An MBA combined with other experience like engineering or operations can help someone differentiate themselves in the workplace.

It is additionally an essential qualification to understand how strong brands prevail in the marketplace, why well-managed distribution channels often define market success rather than the product itself, and how powerful supply chains become a competitive global advantage.

The actual significance of an MBA is invaluable, and it is well worth the cost if you have the right combination of experience, motivation to succeed, and a career path in mind.  Many successful entrepreneurs began their careers in business, but were able to exploit “disrupters” in their industries to build a new business model for delivering goods and services after completing their MBA

In order to attract and retain skilled workers, then, it is important for organisations to strike the right balance between developing these new skills and offering strong economic incentives. Increasing attainment levels, better employment prospects, and the higher earnings that come with higher educational attainment can all contribute to growth and prosperity.

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