Scholarships open for African game changers

Cape Town - Applications can be submitted for full time and part time scholarships at the University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business (GSB).

For more than a century the MBA has been regarded as the degree of choice for creating wealth through business.

But one in five MBA graduates now believe that sustainable or responsible management is more important than the size of their salary.

This is according to new research by the Association of MBAs (Amba) conducted among 1 000 graduates from Amba-accredited business schools in 75 countries last year.

François Bonnici, director of the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the GSB, said that the Amba research indicates an important shift in the way students and business schools alike are thinking about the MBA.

“More students believe that a school’s approach to socially relevant management is imperative in realising an MBA that will enable them to plough much-needed new fields as they do operate in a world of constrained growth and inequality,” he said.
The GSB is certainly finding this to be true: Over 60% of the 2013 MBA class say that they chose to study there because of its work in social innovation and sustainable business management.

The Bertha Centre is offering five full and partial MBA scholarships each year to socially innovative and entrepreneurial individuals.

Current scholarship holder, Vusi Nondo, has for the last few years been working in the investment sector – trying to determine how investor choices influence society.

“There is a critical need for responsible social infrastructure investment on the African continent. I am interested in pursuing the development of this need into action, to create an awareness of how much benefit can come from responsible investment – for both investors and society,” he said.

Another scholarship holder, Greg Macfarlane, is already putting what he has learned to good use.

Last year he and fellow student Dianna Moore teamed up with social enterprise Reel Gardening to successfully compete in two international social venture competitions: the Global Social Venture Competition and the Clinton Global Initiative.
Bonnici said that in the past, African teams have not featured much in these global competitions, because they do not get the support or sponsorship they need from institutions and aren’t encouraged to enter in the first place.
“Complex problems such as we face in the world today need fresh thinking,” said Bonnici.

“The Amba research shows that there is a wellspring of individuals who want to apply their talent, their creativity in business thinking to the way the world is run."

- Fin24

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