Careers: Did you know you can study a cultural MBA?

2014-05-18 15:00

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DJ Sbu’s doing it. So is Johnny Clegg. Did you know that you can now study a cultural MBA? Gugulethu Mhlungu finds out more

Henley Business School, an institution that has been operating in South Africa for 24 years, recently launched a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in the music and creative industries.

The first of its kind, the MBA has been hailed as a timely initiative for the creative industry. The programme builds on Henley’s internationally accredited executive MBA with extra teaching and time for the creative and music industry.

This affords its students the regular MBA programme and the time to contextualise and discuss industry-specific ­issues.

Dean Jon Foster-Pedley told #Trending: “We had a record uptake for the first intake, and it is not just creatives, but also a wide variety of professionals and business people seeking to better understand the creative industry.”

He says some of the professionals in the programme range from radio presenters from top stations, leading ­anchors from the SABC, a recipient of the Design Indaba scholarship for theatre,

music schools and radio station managers to directors of music and creative agencies, government officials and financial directors. Popular record company executive, TV presenter and Metro FM presenter DJ Sbu is one of the candidates.

The programme is suitable for artists and creatives looking to manage themselves or their brands, and to senior executives looking to make the transition and build their own enterprise in the creative industry.

It also provides opportunities for other sectors to better understand the creative industry as clients and suppliers of services and goods.

Working with top local and international managers and creatives, the programme has modules looking at managing creatives and innovation; managing finance and business economics; managing copyright, intellectual property and government legislation; ­understanding branding, sponsorship and endorsements; and ­corporate governance, strategy and international ­policy and leadership.

Celebrated musician Johnny Clegg has also entered into a collaboration with the school to offer a scholarship for the MBA.

“As an artist, I had to learn about the business side of music through trial and error. In many real respects, I was self-taught,” says Clegg.

“With more than 30 years in the industry, what I’ve learnt is that information is power – and to date, very little has been offered by academia to address how our work in the arts is structured and plays out. I’m excited to be part of empowering artists through this scholarship, and working with Henley to share this opportunity with the right candidate.”

The Johnny Clegg Scholarship will be awarded to an applicant who has demonstrated a commitment to the creative industries, a keen interest in professionalising the sector, and an understanding of the critical intersection of creativity and business savvy that results in a vibrant, successful commercial enterprise.

The programme started on May 11 and applications for next year are now open. Visit for more information


1 The National Planning Commission has identified creative industries as a potential node for economic development, citing the department of arts and culture, which estimated 17% of employed South Africans worked in creative industry.

The creative industry was reported to contribute 2.8% to South Africa’s gross domestic product. UN data suggest the creative industry grew at a rate of 14% between 2000 and 2005.

2 Business and Arts SA now offers what it calls the Art Sponsorship Management Toolkit. It’s a nifty guide to applying for funding and accounting for it. Download it for free at

3 The Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of SA has identified the creative industry, particularly the craft and film sectors, as one of the drivers of sustainable economic opportunities and livelihoods for local communities.

4 A guide for craft producers, designers and other creatives commissioned by the department and put together by the Cape Craft and Design Institute has been launched.

Growing Your CreativeBusiness takes you through each step of the process of developing, producing and selling your product. Download it for free at

5 Recognising the role of the creative industry as a key driver of economic growth, Western Cape developed a design strategy to “unlock the potential of design to play a role in economic development by ­embedding it in business and organisational practice across all sectors”.

The province is currently the only one with a design strategy.

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