MBA – Masters of Business Administration

Position yourself as a responsible leader with USB’s MBA degree

  • Modular
  • Blended
  • Course
  • Fees
  • Structure & Content
  • Learning Philosophy
  • Admission Requirements
  • Focus Areas
Course Overview
Course starts 7 February 2022
Application closes 15 Nov (SA and international) | 31 Oct (RPL)

The MBA is still the most widely-recognised business management degree in the world. USB’s triple accredited Masters of Business Administration has been designed to turn managers, professionals, specialists and entrepreneurs into exceptional decision makers, strategic thinkers, effective communicators and stewards of society.

But there is another layer of learning that is increasingly called for – the competence to take on the role of responsible leader. If your career path is pointing towards senior management positions and leadership roles, USB’s MBA degree will help you to confidently take on these responsibilities. In fact, we feel so strongly about leadership development that this module spans the entire two-year programme.

Over and above leadership competencies and quantitative skills, our MBA has a strong focus on contemporary decision-making skills, strategic thinking, cross-cultural skills and digital enterprise management. The programme includes a research assignment, and an International Study Module at an overseas business school.

  • Duration: 2 years (class programme and research assignment)
  • Advantages of modular format: Study while you work, with in-class experience and focused studies without work interruptions. The Modular Masters of Business Administration consists of blocks of classes spread over two years. Each block runs from the Monday to the Saturday. This allows you to implement your newly acquired skills at work from the start. You can therefore study at USB even if you live further afield as you only need to travel to USB a few times a year.
  • 4 streams: Generalist, Health Care Leadership, Management of International Organisations, and Project Management.

These are the dates for 2022.

Application deadlines

South African applicants: 15 November each year (SHL and application deadline)
RPL applicants: 31 October each year
Applicants from (visa-exempt) SADC countries: 15 November each year
Applicants from rest of world: 15 November each year

YEAR 1
Do 5 blocks
Block 1
07 – 12 February
Block 2
28 March – 01 April
Block 3
06 – 11 June
Block 4
15 - 20 August
Block 5
10 - 15 October

Programme tuition fees for 2021

Students from South Africa 2021 2022 Total Provisional Quote
MBA Modular (excludes ISM)* R141 280 R137 200* R278 480* Download
Students from Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries
MBA Modular (excludes ISM)* R145 780 R141 700* R287 480* Download
Students from the rest of Africa (non-SADC)
MBA Modular (excludes ISM)* R150 810 R146 730* R297 540* Download
Students from the rest of world
MBA Modular (excludes ISM)* R150 810 R146 730* R297 540* Download
Deposit payable on acceptance of admission (blended) for 2021
Students from South Africa R21 740
Students from SADC countries R72 890
International students from the rest of Africa (non-SADC) R75 405
International students from the rest of the world R75 405
Application fee and SHL tests for 2022
Application fee (non-refundable; applicable to all MBA students) R1 050
SHL selection test fee R2 950
GMAT selection test fee $250

*Fees exclude our compulsory International Study module of $5900 invoiced in year two.

  • Payment of full programme fees for South African students: Students can pay the full programme fees upon registration or they can pay 75% of the annual fees by the end of May and the balance of 25% by the end of September. Students can also spread their payment over 2 years.
  • Payment of full programme fees for international students: International admitted students pay 50% of the annual fee as deposit. The remainder is due two weeks before commencement of the programme. International admitted students can also spread their payment over 2 years.
  • Deposit: All students pay a deposit on acceptance of admission. South African students must pay a set deposit on admittance. International admitted students pay 50% of the annual fee as deposit. The deposit payable is non-refundable.
  • Application fee: The application fee must accompany the application. The application fee is non-refundable.
  • Additional fees for international students: International students pay an International Registration Fee (IRF) per academic year. Students from countries other than those in the Southern African Development Community also pay an International Tuition Fee (ITF) (i.e. students from SADC countries are exempt from the ITF).
  • Fees for 2023: The fees for the second year of enrolment (Modular MBA as well as Blended Learning MBA) will be adjusted to make provision for annual price increases. The programme fees for the Modular and Blended Learning MBA’s second year of enrolment are higher than for the first year of enrolment because the second year’s fees include the International Study Module.
  • International Study Module: The fees of the International Study Module are included in the total programme fees for the MBA. The cost of USB’s International Study Module amounts to US$5900 (2021 fee). This is linked to the rand-dollar exchange rate. Note that the fees for the 2023 International Study Module may have to be adjusted based on the exchange rate.
  • Study materials: Study fees include books and study materials.
  • Travel and accommodation: Students are responsible for their own travel and accommodation arrangements and costs.
  • Fee changes: USB reserves the right to change the fees at any time.

Overview

The MBA degree consists of 18 compulsory modules (including the International Study Module, the flagship Leadership Development Module and the Research Assignment) and two electives. You can customise up to 30% of your MBA degree, depending on which electives and International Study Module you select, and on the topic of your Research Assignment. The research part will add depth to your learning experience as it provides you with a structured method and rigorous process to answer a question or solve a real-life challenge. It will also give you the ability to make a value judgement on research presented at managerial level.

International Study Module – develop a global mindset

All Masters of Business Administration degree students travel to global destinations for the compulsory International Study Module (ISM). The aim of this academic and cultural immersion is to develop managers with a global mind-set, to prepare you for work in a global environment, and to help you turn cultural competence into a competitive advantage. The module includes company visits and cultural activities. The cost of the ISM is included in the MBA study fees at a fixed dollar rate.

In 2020, Masters of Business Administration study visits have been arranged to the UK (Managing around the World: International Roundtables for Practicing Managers), Ireland (International Healthcare Management), USA (Bentley: Creativity and Innovation, or Berkeley: Innovation and Entrepreneurship), South Korea (Innovation and Technology in Operations Management), Brazil (Innovation for Sustainability in Emerging Markets), Mexico (Strategy and International Business in Emerging Markets), Finland (High-performance Leadership), Austria (Managing International Organisations) and France (Innovation). You can also opt to do your International Study Module on Global Business Innovation at an EMBA consortium business school in Italy, Brazil, UK, India, Japan, Russia, Turkey and the USA.

Core Modules

The 18 core modules are compulsory:

  • Accounting for Decision-Making (8 credits)
  • Business Communication Skills (4 credits)
  • Business in Society (8 credits)
  • Contemporary Decision-Making (12 credits)
  • Corporate Finance (12 credits)
  • Digital Enterprise Management (8 credits)
  • Economics for Managers (8 credits)
  • International Study Module (8 credits)
  • Leadership Development (16 credits)
  • Managerial Accounting (8 credits)
  • Managerial Statistics (8 credits)
  • Operational Excellence (8 credits)
  • Organisational Behaviour (8 credits)
  • Perspectives on African Frontiers (8 credits)
  • Research Methodology and Assignment (45 credits)
  • Strategic Analysis (8 credits)
  • Strategic Management (12 credits)
  • Strategic Marketing and Branding (8 credits)

Electives

Choose 2 electives from a list of topics clustered into these themes:

  • Decision Sciences
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Ethics and Sustainability
  • Finance and Economics
  • Human Resources and Leadership
  • Information and Technology Management
  • Marketing Management
  • Operations and Project Management
  • Strategic Management

Research assignment

Concurrent with the latter part of the Masters of Business Administration, you need to compile a Research Assignment of 50 to 70 pages on a management-related problem. This assignment may be based on a problem in your work environment. Results obtained from the research could therefore benefit both you and your employer.

The research assignment will add depth to your learning experience as it provides you with a structured method to answer a question or solve a real-life challenge. This assignment therefore serves as an example of how to handle business challenges by following a robust research process.

This experience will also give you the ability to make a value judgement on research presented at managerial level in the workplace.

USB’s Masters of Business Administration degree aims to develop you into a responsible leader, expert decision maker, strategic thinker, effective communicator and steward of society.

Our MBA is rigorous, as can be expected from a programme with three international accreditations. It balances solid quantitative modules with personal development and leadership skills. Management tools and techniques from disciplines such as strategic management, economics, operations, finance and marketing are important core competencies of the MBA graduate. This is balanced by competencies such as responsible leadership, communication and understanding the role of business in society in order to develop the skills of adaptability, flexibility, self-awareness and contextual awareness – all of which are in high demand in the business environment.

One of the key differentiators of USB’s Masters of Business Administration degree is the Leadership Module which focuses on responsible leadership and allows you to develop your own authentic leadership style. The International Study Module at a foreign business school offers you a global perspective that supports the other elements of this course. Collaborative learning – where students learn from each other – is a key feature of the USB Masters of Business Administration degree. The unique knowledge from each student adds depth to collaborative learning.

Our MBA provides you with a transformative learning experience to acquire the leadership skills, thinking frameworks and capabilities you need to find your way forward – regardless of whether you see your future self in an executive, managerial, specialist or entrepreneurial position.

This is what you need to apply for an MBA at USB:

Academic qualifications
The South African Council on Higher Education requires MBA applicants to have one of the following qualifications:

  • 4-year Bachelor’s degree (NQF level 8), OR
  • Honours/Postgraduate degree (NQF level 8), OR
  • 3-year Bachelor’s degree (NQF level 7) plus a postgraduate diploma (NQF level 8)

Note:

  • International students require a South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) evaluation certificate to evaluate their degrees according to South African standards. USB’s International Affairs Office will handle the credential evaluations of international students free of charge. You therefore need to complete the online application, and upload all certificates to your application. The International Office will, as part of the application process, conduct an in-house credential evaluation after you have submitted your application.
  • All degrees undergo a formal vetting process to eliminate fraudulent applications.

Other requirements

  • At least 3 years of relevant full-time working experience, preferably on managerial level
  • Mathematics at NSC (Grade 12) level or equivalent is highly recommended
  • A comprehensive CV
  • 2 essays, showing the candidate’s level of motivation and working experience (see below)
  • Satisfactory selection test results (see below)
  • Additional requirement for students enrolling for MBA stream in Project Management: A Project Management course on NQF level 8, for which credits can be considered in respect of required elective

Recognition of Prior Learning

USB provides wider access to its programmes through its Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process. In line with the requirements of the Council on Higher Education (CHE), USB may admit up to 10% of its student body under RPL. Candidates who wish to be admitted under the RPL policy will firstly have to submit all the documentation and tests as required for all prospective students. In addition, prospective MBA students under the RPL policy have to adhere to the following:

  • Have at least an NQF 6 qualification (all school and academic certificates are required).
  • Exemption to this rule is available for outstanding applicants who hold a Senior Certificate (NQF 4) and who have provided evidence of high performance and likely success on the MBA through admission selection scores that are at least 20% higher than the average scores achieved by USB MBA students (currently SHL score > 7; GMAT score > 650) and relevant work experience of 10 years. The approval for
    such RPL candidates requires the head of the department’s support in addition to the RPL Committee’s decision on the application.
  • Have at least SIX years of working experience after obtaining the qualification mentioned in the first bullet point, of which at least THREE years should have been in a management or a related professional position.
  • Submit a comprehensive CV, indicating, in detail, areas of responsibility in the work environment as well as activities outside the work environment.
  • Provide USB with at least two referents who can testify about the candidate’s managerial or related professional abilities (typically current or former line managers). The referents will be asked to give a detailed personal reference of the candidate on forms that can be download under the guideline documents in the application form.
  • Submit the SHL/GMAT selection test results.
  • Write and submit two motivational essays (specific topics are provided).
  • Conduct an in-depth interview with the Head of the MBA programme and one other USB academic staff member constituting the RPL Committee.

The RPL selection process entails the following:

  • The programme head and another academic will conduct an in-depth interview with the candidate and make a recommendation about admission.
  • USB’s Admissions Committee will consider the full application including the interview recommendation and the inputs received from the references for admission.
  • A notice of admission is sent via USB’s Academic Planning Committee to the Board of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences for notification.
  • Important: RPL candidates need to apply by 31 October of each year to allow sufficient time for the assessment process.

SHL selection test

You need to complete the SHL abilities selection test as part of your application process. The test consists of a verbal critical reasoning assessment, numerical critical reasoning assessment, inductive reasoning test, and Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) on behavioural preferences, which are used for selection and for the identification of your development areas.

  • Duration: Approximately 3 hours.
  • Preparation: No preparation is required. However, you are encouraged to perform a practice test to familiarise yourself with the test format. See shl.com/shldirect/en-us/practice-tests/
  • About the test: The SHL test is done online. (Random verification might be requested.) You will be provided with a link to the SHL test once you have paid your PGDip BMA application fee and SHL selection test fee, and after you have submitted your application form and have received your provisional student number. (You need to use this provisional student number when writing the SHL.)
  • Cost: For fees, please see usb.ac.za/mba (click on Fees tab). See bank details under How to apply and use your provisional student number as reference. The application fee and SHL selection test fee can be paid online.
  • Link to the SHL selection test: You do not have to arrange with USB to write the SHL test. You will receive a link to the test once the relevant payments have been received and you have submitted your application form. USB will receive your results directly from SHL and will upload it to your application form on your behalf.
  • Additional information: shl.com/en/assessments/cognitive-ability/
  • Important: The SHL selection test is valid for 18 months. If your SHL selection test results are older than this, you should ideally rewrite the test as people grow and develop and assessments need to take this into account. USB does not consider SHL tests from other institutions as you may have written a different type or level of test, or you may have been compared to a different comparison group. If you have completed the SHL with USB during the past 18 months, you do not have to rewrite the test.

Four streams to choose from

USB’s MBA offers a generalist stream, for those who want to manage the functional areas of any business at senior manage level, and three focal-area MBAs, for those who want senior-level business management expertise in Health Care Leadership, Managing International Organisations or Project Management:

  • MBA with generalist modules, which can be applied in businesses ranging from entrepreneurial start-ups to multinational corporations in any business sector
  • MBA stream with modules in Managing International Organisations (MBA MIO), which can be applied in international development organisations – like the UN, development agencies and global foundations
  • MBA stream with modules in Health Care Leadership (MBA HCL), which can be applied in the public and private health care industry.
  • MBA stream in Project Management (MBA PM), which can be applied in any industry to ensure the successful delivery of projects in a competitive environment based on a thorough understanding of the business management of projects.

The stream-specific modules of the MBA MIO, MBA HCL and MBA PM are offered during the second year of enrolment in the Blended Learning format, irrespective of the format chosen for the first year of study (i.e. Modular or Blended Learning).

All students will graduate with an MBA from Stellenbosch University. If the student followed a focal area – i.e. Health Care Leadership, Management of International Organisations, or Project Management – this will be displayed on their MBA degree certificates.

MBA stream in Managing International Organisations (MBA MIO)
The MBA focal area in Managing International Organisations (MIO) equips students with the tools, theories and frameworks to lead successfully in international development organisations that play a fundamental role in shaping the trajectory of global sustainable development at the interface of international politics, business and society.

International development organisations include the UN and its specialised agencies (like the World Health Organization, World Tourism Organization and International Fund for Agricultural Development), global organisations like the World Bank, Red Cross, International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the African Union, the World Economic Forum, the International Labour Organisation, and the broad spectrum of global philanthropic foundations. It also includes organisations working in environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) contexts.

The stream-specific modules of the MBA MIO, which are offered during the second year of enrolment, will enable students to integrate and apply their learning from the MBA core modules within the context of international organisations. Some of these lectures will be presented by senior UN leaders from the UN System Staff College who have co-designed the MBA MIO with USB.

If you are looking for a meaningful career at an international development organisation, USB’s MBA MIO will stand you in good stead.

Click here for details about our MBA Managing International Organisations​ Programme.

MBA stream in Health Care Leadership (MBA HCL)
USB’s MBA with modules focused on Health Care Leadership is aimed at high achievers who want to lead positive change in the complex and changing health care environment. The knowledge and skills acquired on this stream can be applied in the public and private health care industry.

The MBA HCL covers all the functional areas of management while giving you a contextual understanding of the principles of health care governance and current health care reform programmes such as National Health Insurance, the policy landscape and health systems for value-based care. The stream-specific modules and electives focus on the challenges of finance and funding in health care, taking cognisance of the limited-resource context in South Africa and in Africa.

If you want to play in role in professionalising leadership in the health care industry, this MBA stream will serve you well.

Click here for details about our MBA Health Care Leadership​ Programme.

MBA stream in Project Management (MBA PM)
Project management is universally accepted as a scarce skill. Proficient project managers are in high demand. It is therefore completely understandable that Fortune Magazine has identified project management as the number one career choice.

Companies are looking for professionals who are proficient in both project management fundamentals and key business disciplines such as strategy, finance, operations management and marketing. These highly skilled professionals offer a unique value proposition as they are able to bridge the understanding between the project management and business management elements of the entity. Traditionally, project management has been associated with the construction, engineering and energy sectors. Now, newer industries such as IT management, health care management, financial services and research also employ project managers.

By honing your project leadership skills and project management skills on MBA level, you will help to create a strategic value chain that gives your company an edge on competitors.

Click here for details about our MBA Project Management.

  • Course
  • Fees
  • Structure & Content
  • Learning Philosophy
  • Admission Requirements
  • Focus Areas
Course Overview
Course starts 24 January 2022
Application closes 15 Nov (SA and international) | 31 Oct (RPL)

The MBA is still the most widely-recognised business management degree in the world. USB’s triple accredited Masters of Business Administration has been designed to turn managers, professionals, specialists and entrepreneurs into exceptional decision makers, strategic thinkers, effective communicators and stewards of society.

But there is another layer of learning that is increasingly called for – the competence to take on the role of responsible leader. If your career path is pointing towards senior management positions and leadership roles, USB’s MBA degree will help you to confidently take on these responsibilities. In fact, we feel so strongly about leadership development that this module spans the entire two-year programme.

Over and above leadership competencies and quantitative skills, our MBA has a strong focus on contemporary decision-making skills, strategy thinking, cross-cultural skills and digital enterprise management. The programme includes a research assignment, and an International Study Module at an overseas business school.

  • Duration: 2 years (class programme and research assignment)
  • Advantage of blended learning format: Study while you work with the flexibility of digital class attendance, which means minimum time away from work. The Blended Learning Masters of Business Administration has one on-campus study block at the start of Year 1 and two on-campus blocks during Year 2. In between, you attend weekly classes online (via an internet-connected laptop) or on campus (depending on Covid-19 lockdown levels). This format requires the minimum leave from work. It also lowers the opportunity cost to do an MBA at USB as it reduces travel costs. See how blended learning works at USB.
  • 4 streams: Generalist, Health Care Leadership, Management of International Organisations, and Project Management.

These are the dates for 2022.

Application deadlines

South African applicants: 15 November each year (SHL and application deadline)
RPL applicants: 31 October each year
Applicants from (visa-exempt) SADC countries: 15 November each year
Applicants from rest of world: 15 November each year

Year 1
Do 1 block followed by weekly classes
Block 1
24 January – 05 February (On campus)
Thereafter
8 February – 09 December (every Wednesday from 16:00-20:15)

These are the fees for 2021. The fees for 2022 will be added once they have been finalised.

Programme tuition fees for 2021

Students from South Africa 2021 2022 Total Provisional Quote
MBA Modular (excludes ISM)* R141 280 R137 200* R278 480* Download
Students from Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries
MBA Modular (excludes ISM)* R145 780 R141 700* R287 480* Download
Students from the rest of Africa (non-SADC)
MBA Modular (excludes ISM)* R150 810 R146 730* R297 540* Download
Students from the rest of world
MBA Modular (excludes ISM)* R150 810 R146 730* R297 540* Download
Deposit payable on acceptance of admission (blended) for 2021
Students from South Africa R21 740
Students from SADC countries R72 890
International students from the rest of Africa (non-SADC) R75 405
International students from the rest of the world R75 405
Application fee and SHL tests for 2022
Application fee (non-refundable; applicable to all MBA students) R1 050
SHL selection test fee R2 950
GMAT selection test fee $250

*Fees exclude our compulsory International Study module of $5900 invoiced in year two.

  • Payment of full programme fees for South African students: Students can pay the full programme fees upon registration or they can pay 75% of the annual fees by the end of May and the balance of 25% by the end of September. Students can also spread their payment over 2 years.
  • Payment of full programme fees for international students: International admitted students pay 50% of the annual fee as deposit. The remainder is due two weeks before commencement of the programme. International admitted students can also spread their payment over 2 years.
  • Deposit: All students pay a deposit on acceptance of admission. South African students must pay a set deposit on admittance. International admitted students pay 50% of the annual fee as deposit. The deposit payable is non-refundable.
  • Application fee: The application fee must accompany the application. The application fee is non-refundable.
  • Additional fees for international students: International students pay an International Registration Fee (IRF) per academic year. Students from countries other than those in the Southern African Development Community also pay an International Tuition Fee (ITF) (i.e. students from SADC countries are exempt from the ITF).
  • Fees for 2023: The fees for the second year of enrolment (Modular MBA as well as Blended Learning MBA) will be adjusted to make provision for annual price increases. The programme fees for the Modular and Blended Learning MBA’s second year of enrolment are higher than for the first year of enrolment because the second year’s fees include the International Study Module.
  • International Study Module: The fees of the International Study Module are included in the total programme fees for the MBA. The cost of USB’s International Study Module amounts to US$5900 (2021 fee). This is linked to the rand-dollar exchange rate. Note that the fees for the 2023 International Study Module may have to be adjusted based on the exchange rate.
  • Study materials: Study fees include books and study materials.
  • Travel and accommodation: Students are responsible for their own travel and accommodation arrangements and costs.
  • Fee changes: USB reserves the right to change the fees at any time.

Overview

The Masters of Business Administration degree consists of 18 compulsory modules (including the International Study Module, the flagship Leadership Development Module, and the Research Assignment) and two electives. You can customise up to 30% of your MBA degree, depending on which electives and International Study Module you select, and on the topic of your Research Assignment. The research part will add depth to your learning experience as it provides you with a structured method and rigorous process to answer a question or solve a real-life challenge. It will also give you the ability to make a value judgement on research presented at managerial level.

International Study Module – develop a global mindset

All MBA students travel to global destinations for the compulsory International Study Module (ISM). The aim of this academic and cultural immersion is to develop managers with a global mind-set, to prepare you for work in a global environment, and to help you understand cultural differences in order to turn cultural competence into a competitive advantage. The module includes company visits and cultural activities. The cost of the ISM is included in the MBA study fees at a fixed dollar rate.

In 2020, all the ISMs were virtual as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic’s travel restrictions. The Masters of Business Administration study visits included the UK (Managing around the World: International Roundtables for Practicing Managers), Ireland (International Healthcare Management), USA (Bentley: Creativity and Innovation, or Berkeley: Innovation and Entrepreneurship), South Korea (Innovation and Technology in Operations Management), Brazil (Innovation for Sustainability in Emerging Markets), Mexico (Strategy and International Business in Emerging Markets), Finland (High-performance Leadership), Austria (Managing International Organisations) and France (Innovation).

You can also opt to do your International Study Module on Global Business Innovation at an EMBA consortium business school in Italy, Brazil, UK, India, Japan, Russia, Turkey and the USA.

Note: Students in the HCL, MIO and PM streams may be restricted in the ISM destinations from which that they can choose.

Core modules

The 18 core modules are compulsory:

  • Accounting for Decision-Making (8 credits)
  • Business Communication Skills (4 credits)
  • Business in Society (8 credits)
  • Contemporary Decision-Making (12 credits)
  • Corporate Finance (12 credits)
  • Digital Enterprise Management (8 credits)
  • Economics for Managers (8 credits)
  • International Study Module (8 credits)
  • Leadership Development (16 credits)
  • Managerial Accounting (8 credits)
  • Managerial Statistics (8 credits)
  • Operational Excellence (8 credits)
  • Organisational Behaviour (8 credits)
  • Perspectives on African Frontiers (8 credits)
  • Research Methodology and Assignment (45 credits)
  • Strategic Analysis (8 credits)
  • Strategic Management (12 credits)
  • Strategic Marketing and Branding (8 credits)

Electives

Choose 2 electives from a list of topics clustered into these themes:

  • Decision Sciences
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Ethics and Sustainability
  • Finance and Economics
  • Human Resources and Leadership
  • Information and Technology Management
  • Marketing Management
  • Operations and Project Management
  • Strategic Management

Research assignment

Concurrent with the latter part of the Masters of Business Administration, you need to compile a Research Assignment of 50 to 70 pages on a management-related problem. This assignment may be based on a problem in your work environment. Results obtained from the research could therefore benefit both you and your employer.

The research assignment will add depth to your learning experience as it provides you with a structured method to answer a question or solve a real-life challenge. This assignment therefore serves as an example of how to handle business challenges by following a robust research process.

This experience will also give you the ability to make a value judgement on research presented at managerial level in the workplace.

USB’s Masters of Business Administration degree aims to develop you into a responsible leader, expert decision maker, strategic thinker, effective communicator and steward of society.

Our MBA is rigorous, as can be expected from a programme with three international accreditations. It balances solid quantitative modules with personal development and leadership skills. Management tools and techniques from disciplines such as strategic management, economics, operations, finance and marketing are important core competencies of the MBA graduate. This is balanced by competencies such as responsible leadership, communication and understanding the role of business in society in order to develop the skills of adaptability, flexibility, self-awareness and contextual awareness – all of which are in high demand in the business environment.

One of the key differentiators of USB’s Masters of Business Administration degree is the Leadership Module which focuses on responsible leadership and allows you to develop your own authentic leadership style. The International Study Module at a foreign business school offers you a global perspective that supports the other elements of this course. Collaborative learning – where students learn from each other – is a key feature of the USB Masters of Business Administration degree. The unique knowledge from each student adds depth to collaborative learning.

Our MBA provides you with a transformative learning experience to acquire the leadership skills, thinking frameworks and capabilities you need to find your way forward – regardless of whether you see your future self in an executive, managerial, specialist or entrepreneurial position.

This is what you need to apply for an MBA at USB:

Academic qualifications
The South African Council on Higher Education requires MBA applicants to have one of the following qualifications:

  • 4-year Bachelor’s degree (NQF level 8), OR
  • Honours/Postgraduate degree (NQF level 8), OR
  • 3-year Bachelor’s degree (NQF level 7) plus a postgraduate diploma (NQF level 8)

Note:

  • International students require a South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) evaluation certificate to evaluate their degrees according to South African standards. USB’s International Affairs Office will handle the credential evaluations of international students free of charge. You therefore need to complete the online application, and upload all certificates to your application. The International Office will, as part of the application process, conduct an in-house credential evaluation after you have submitted your application.
  • All degrees undergo a formal vetting process to eliminate fraudulent applications.

Other requirements

  • At least 3 years of relevant full-time working experience, preferably on managerial level
  • Mathematics at NSC (Grade 12) level or equivalent is highly recommended
  • A comprehensive CV
  • 2 essays, showing the candidate’s level of motivation and working experience (see below)
  • Satisfactory selection test results (see below)
  • Additional requirement for students enrolling for MBA stream in Project Management: A Project Management course on NQF level 8, for which credits can be considered in respect of required electives

Recognition of Prior Learning

USB provides wider access to its programmes through its Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process. In line with the requirements of the Council on Higher Education (CHE), USB may admit up to 10% of its student body under RPL. Candidates who wish to be admitted under the RPL policy will firstly have to submit all the documentation and tests as required for all prospective students. In addition, prospective MBA students under the RPL policy have to adhere to the following:

  • Have at least an NQF 6 qualification (all school and academic certificates are required).
  • Exemption to this rule is available for outstanding applicants who hold a Senior Certificate (NQF 4) and who have provided evidence of high performance and likely success on the MBA through admission selection scores that are at least 20% higher than the average scores achieved by USB MBA students (currently SHL score > 7; GMAT score > 650) and relevant work experience of 10 years. The approval for
    such RPL candidates requires the head of the department’s support in addition to the RPL Committee’s decision on the application.
  • Have at least SIX years of working experience after obtaining the qualification mentioned in the first bullet point, of which at least THREE years should have been in a management or a related professional position.
  • Submit a comprehensive CV, indicating, in detail, areas of responsibility in the work environment as well as activities outside the work environment.
  • Provide USB with at least two referents who can testify about the candidate’s managerial or related professional abilities (typically current or former line managers). The referents will be asked to give a detailed personal reference of the candidate on forms that can be download under the guideline documents in the application form.
  • Submit the SHL/GMAT selection test results.
  • Write and submit two motivational essays (specific topics are provided).
  • Conduct an in-depth interview with the Head of the MBA programme and one other USB academic staff member constituting the RPL Committee.

The RPL selection process entails the following:

  • The programme head and another academic will conduct an in-depth interview with the candidate and make a recommendation about admission.
  • USB’s Admissions Committee will consider the full application including the interview recommendation and the inputs received from the references for admission.
  • A notice of admission is sent via USB’s Academic Planning Committee to the Board of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences for notification.
  • Important: RPL candidates need to apply by 31 October of each year to allow sufficient time for the assessment process.

SHL selection test

You need to complete the SHL abilities selection test as part of your application process. The test consists of a verbal critical reasoning assessment, numerical critical reasoning assessment, inductive reasoning test, and Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) on behavioural preferences, which are used for selection and for the identification of your development areas.

  • Duration: Approximately 3 hours.
  • Preparation: No preparation is required. However, you are encouraged to perform a practice test to familiarise yourself with the test format. See shl.com/shldirect/en-us/practice-tests/
  • About the test: The SHL test is done online. (Random verification might be requested.) You will be provided with a link to the SHL test once you have paid your PGDip BMA application fee and SHL selection test fee, and after you have submitted your application form and have received your provisional student number. (You need to use this provisional student number when writing the SHL.)
  • Cost: For fees, please see usb.ac.za/mba (click on Fees tab). See bank details under How to apply and use your provisional student number as reference. The application fee and SHL selection test fee can be paid online.
  • Link to the SHL selection test: You do not have to arrange with USB to write the SHL test. You will receive a link to the test once the relevant payments have been received and you have submitted your application form. USB will receive your results directly from SHL and will upload it to your application form on your behalf.
  • Additional information: shl.com/en/assessments/cognitive-ability/
  • Important: The SHL selection test is valid for 18 months. If your SHL selection test results are older than this, you should ideally rewrite the test as people grow and develop and assessments need to take this into account. USB does not consider SHL tests from other institutions as you may have written a different type or level of test, or you may have been compared to a different comparison group. If you have completed the SHL with USB during the past 18 months, you do not have to rewrite the test.

Four streams to choose from

USB’s MBA offers a generalist stream, for those who want to manage the functional areas of any business at senior manage level, and three focal-area MBAs, for those who want senior-level business management expertise in Health Care Leadership, Managing International Organisations or Project Management:

  • MBA with generalist modules, which can be applied in businesses ranging from entrepreneurial start-ups to multinational corporations in any business sector
  • MBA stream with modules in Managing International Organisations (MBA MIO), which can be applied in international development organisations – like the UN, development agencies and global foundations
  • MBA stream with modules in Health Care Leadership (MBA HCL), which can be applied in the public and private health care industry.
  • MBA stream in Project Management (MBA PM), which can be applied in any industry to ensure the successful delivery of projects in a competitive environment based on a thorough understanding of the business management of projects.

The stream-specific modules of the MBA MIO, MBA HCL and MBA PM are offered during the second year of enrolment in the Blended Learning format, irrespective of the format chosen for the first year of study (i.e. Modular or Blended Learning).

All students will graduate with an MBA from Stellenbosch University. If the student followed a focal area – i.e. Health Care Leadership, Management of International Organisations, or Project Management – this will be displayed on their MBA degree certificates.

MBA stream in Managing International Organisations (MBA MIO)
The MBA focal area in Managing International Organisations (MIO) equips students with the tools, theories and frameworks to lead successfully in international development organisations that play a fundamental role in shaping the trajectory of global sustainable development at the interface of international politics, business and society.

International development organisations include the UN and its specialised agencies (like the World Health Organization, World Tourism Organization and International Fund for Agricultural Development), global organisations like the World Bank, Red Cross, International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the African Union, the World Economic Forum, the International Labour Organisation, and the broad spectrum of global philanthropic foundations. It also includes organisations working in environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) contexts.

The stream-specific modules of the MBA MIO, which are offered during the second year of enrolment, will enable students to integrate and apply their learning from the MBA core modules within the context of international organisations. Some of these lectures will be presented by senior UN leaders from the UN System Staff College who have co-designed the MBA MIO with USB.

If you are looking for a meaningful career at an international development organisation, USB’s MBA MIO will stand you in good stead.

Click here for details about our MBA Managing International Organisations​ Programme.

MBA stream in Health Care Leadership (MBA HCL)
USB’s MBA with modules focused on Health Care Leadership is aimed at high achievers who want to lead positive change in the complex and changing health care environment. The knowledge and skills acquired on this stream can be applied in the public and private health care industry.

The MBA HCL covers all the functional areas of management while giving you a contextual understanding of the principles of health care governance and current health care reform programmes such as National Health Insurance, the policy landscape and health systems for value-based care. The stream-specific modules and electives focus on the challenges of finance and funding in health care, taking cognisance of the limited-resource context in South Africa and in Africa.

If you want to play in role in professionalising leadership in the health care industry, this MBA stream will serve you well.

Click here for details about our MBA Health Care Leadership​ Programme.

MBA stream in Project Management (MBA PM)
Project management is universally accepted as a scarce skill. Proficient project managers are in high demand. It is therefore completely understandable that Fortune Magazine has identified project management as the number one career choice.

Companies are looking for professionals who are proficient in both project management fundamentals and key business disciplines such as strategy, finance, operations management and marketing. These highly skilled professionals offer a unique value proposition as they are able to bridge the understanding between the project management and business management elements of the entity. Traditionally, project management has been associated with the construction, engineering and energy sectors. Now, newer industries such as IT management, health care management, financial services and research also employ project managers.

By honing your project leadership skills and project management skills on MBA level, you will help to create a strategic value chain that gives your company an edge on competitors.

Click here for details about our MBA Project Management.

89%

The percentage of USB’s alumni rating the quality of the lecturers on USB’s core courses as excellent. – Financial Mail, 2019

Most improved abilities after an MBA at USB?

• To think strategically: 92%
• To think critically: 89%
• To solve problems: 88%
• To work as a team member: 85%

– Financial Mail, 2019

PROGRAMME HEAD
Dr Jako Volschenk

Dr Jako Volschenk is the Programme Head of USB’s MBA. He has a special interest in how companies can thrive by addressing big sustainability issues. His bottom line: “No business should exist if it does not make the world a better place.”

Programme Ambassadors

These programme ambassadors are current students and alumni who support prospective students in their new stage of life and share their personal experience about studying at USB.


  • Who should enrol?
  • What will you gain?
  • Selection tests
  • Leadership development

Masters of Business Administration with generalist modules

  • Those who want senior-level business management expertise to apply in businesses ranging from entrepreneurial start-ups to multinational corporations in any business sector.
  • Managers, professionals, specialists and entrepreneurs who want to acquire responsible leadership skills, exceptional decision making skills, strategic thinking skills, effective communication skills and an understanding of the role of business in society.

Masters of Business Administration stream with modules in Managing International Organisations (MBA MIO)

  • Professionals or managers working in international organisations, development agencies, and foundations or NGOs, and who want to fast-track their careers
  • Managers from private and public sector institutions who want to expand their cross-sector agility, especially by improving their skills for leadership in complex and conflict-ridden multi-stakeholder contexts
  • Professionals who want to transition to working in international development organisations or in organisations with a strong environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) agenda

Masters of Business Administration stream with modules in Health Care Leadership (MBA HCL)

  • Clinicians and general practitioners who want to take on managerial and leadership roles in the health care industry, group practices or government
  • General practitioners who wish to scale up and broaden their contextual understanding of business
  • Managers and professionals in private-sector and public-sector health care delivery systems and institutions, in pharmaceutical or health technology businesses, in regulatory, oversight and other organisations (such as SAMA, HPCSA, HASA, SAIHCM), or in public-sector positions (such as Deputy Director-General, CEO or Superintendent)
  • Senior nurses in public or private hospitals who lead large teams and operate on senior level with high-impact responsibilities
  • Health insurance specialists, medical aid specialists, underwriters and claims processing team leaders and managers
  • Anyone who would like to prepare themselves for a career in in health care leadership, even if they do not have a background in health care.

Masters of Business Administration stream in Project Management (MBA PM)

  • Project managers looking to transition into senior business manager roles
  • Project managers looking to transition into a senior project manager role, such as a Chief Project Officer
  • Project or business managers looking to transition into programme or portfolio manager roles
  • Project managers looking to move into a different industry
  • Project managers who intend to become (or who are) independent consultants
  • Business managers wishing to improve their understanding of project management in the business context
  • MBA candidates with a keen interest to develop their competencies and understanding of project management
  • USB Postgraduate Diploma in Project Management graduates who wish to further their careers in this field
  • Entrepreneurs looking to capitalise on the growth in the project management domain
  1. Responsible leadership skills: USB is strongly committed to your development as a responsible leader. You will explore personal, relationship and organisational or strategic leadership, ultimately leading to organisational performance. This bespoke journey spans the entire Masters of Business Administration.
  2. The ability to operate on senior management level: You will gain an astute understanding of all aspects of business, enabling you to operate at senior management level in any industry. You will know how to design and implement strategies, solve complex problems, operate in a global environment, and understand the role of business in society.
  3. The ability to function globally: The competencies acquired can be applied in any industry and in any country. You will also attend an International Study Module at an international business school and touch base with global companies (depending on Covid-19 travel restrictions).
  4. Expert decision-making skills: You will acquire decision-making skills based on a combination of numeric methods and qualitative techniques. This will enable you to analyse and contextualise information, and to support complex business decisions.
  5. Strategic thinking: You will learn how to analyse and evaluate a business environment and to formulate suitable strategies or strategic solutions. You will also learn how to apply cross-cultural skills and a global understanding in your business interactions.
  6. An understanding of the interlinked roles of organisational departments: This will allow you to manage across functional areas, gain insight into the workings of the organisation and make well-informed decisions.

You need to do a selection test as part your application process. USB accepts the SHL and GMAT selection tests. These tests are recognised internationally. Arrange with USB to do the SHL selection test online, or contact GMAC at www.gmac.com for the GMAT.

SHL
The SHL consists of a verbal critical reasoning assessment, numerical critical reasoning assessment, inductive reasoning test, and Occupational Personality Questionnaire on behavioural preferences.

  • Duration: About 3 hours. No preparation is required beforehand.
  • When and where: Applicants need to arrange with USB to do the test online. A link will be sent to you once you have paid the relevant fees.
  • Book: Contact USB on telephone 021 918 4239 or at [email protected]
  • Additional information: Go to www.shl.co.za

GMAT
The GMAT consists of three timed sections: an analytical writing assessment, a quantitative assessment and a verbal assessment.

  • Duration: About 4 hours.
  • When and where: This test is not administered by USB. International students need to contact the Regional Registration Centre in the Netherlands on 0931 320 239 593 or go to https://accounts.gmac.com/Account/Register. SA students need to contact Pearson VUE Professional Centre in Johannesburg on +27 (0)11 784 3093 or 0800 995 044 or at [email protected] A copy of the results will be forwarded to USB.
  • Additional information: Go to gmac.com.

USB believes leaders are developed, not born. Therefore, each MBA student follows a bespoke Personal Leadership Development Journey in the Leadership Development Module. This journey focuses on personal leadership, relationship leadership and organisational or strategic leadership to deliver organisational performance. On this journey, you will acquaint yourself with the theory and practice of responsible leadership through:

  • Exploring and enhancing personal authentic leadership
  • Narrative learning
  • Experiential learning
  • Work-based and action learning
  • Reflective learning and confronting “knowledge” that is “not true”
  • Leveraging strengths and development potential
  • Cutting-edge research in neuroleadership

Testimonials from our alumni

 

Justin Siljeur, MBA alumnus,

    

Salman Kajie, MBA alumnus of Stellenbosch Business School,

‘USB’s MBA curriculum is well-designed with an optimal balance of subjects and a good focus on leadership development. This qualification has transformed and expanded my thinking horizon, personally, in business and within my community.’

Set-son Shifidi, Modular MBA, Technical Executive: Lithon Project Consultants, Namibia,

‘My USB MBA journey was both challenging and inspiring. Alongside gaining many skills that have enabled me to take my career to the next level, the MBA course required deep introspection and encouraged me to be a better person and a stronger leader in business, in my personal life and in society.’

Katherine Persson, Modular MBA, Project Portfolio Manager, Windlab, Cape Town, South Africa,

‘The USB MBA has equipped me with the strategic and business skills required to broaden my career path. However, more than just academic teaching, the MBA played a significant role in my journey towards purpose-driven and effective leadership. Highlights include networking with diverse local and international colleagues; global exposure through the business tour to India and thought-provoking electives at the end of the MBA. These components make it a privilege to be associated with a triple-crowned global business school.’

Dr Denise Botha, Full-time MBA, Clinical Executive, Metropolitan Health Group MMI, Cape Town, South Africa,

‘The USB MBA has enabled me to have a systemic view of business decisions, problem solving and strategy formulation and provided world class tools and frameworks to help facilitate an holistic view of my global organisation. The Leadership Module was integral in gaining deep personal insight into what drives my decision making and provided excellent practical frameworks that helped me to become a more authentic leader with an immediate positive impact.’

Dr Michael Datt, Modular MBA, Senior Manager: Chemical Conversions Group, Sasol Research & Technology, Sasolburg, South Africa,

‘The USB MBA allowed me to explore and find the kind of leader I am and the kind of leader I want to evolve to be. The Leadership Module, International Study Module and electives give USB the edge over other similar programmes and have shaped my perspective on management, leadership and doing business on the continent.’

Sivenasen Moodley, Modular MBA, Account Lead, Unilever South Africa, Durban, South Africa,

‘The USB MBA stimulated and empowered me in so many ways – from someone with a passion and a profession, to a leader with a mission! The excellent curriculum, with an emphasis on leadership development and strategic management and integration, as well as the international exposure through the executive MBA consortium programme, firmly marks USB as a world class institution.’

Dr Renata Schoeman, Modular MBA, Psychiatrist in private practice; Senior lecturer: Leadership, USB, Bellville, South Africa,

‘The USB MBA was a formulation and confirmation of theories and principles that I had been exposed to through my 15 years’ work experience prior to starting with the programme. The Leadership Module allowed me to be critical of myself and to identify weaknesses that I needed to improve. The USB MBA gave me the confidence to start my own business midway through the programme.’

Seraj Toefy, Modular MBA, Managing Director, Bespoke Media (Pty) Ltd, Cape Town, South Africa,

FAQs

You can choose the Modular MBA degree or the Blended Learning MBA, both running over two years. Both formats are aimed at those who want to study while they work.

Advantages of the Modular MBA
The Modular degree consists of blocks of classes spread over two years. Each block runs from the Monday to the Saturday. This allows you to implement your newly acquired skills at work from the start. You can therefore study at USB even if you live further afield as you only need to travel to USB a few times a year.

  • Duration: 2 years (class programme and research assignment)
  • Advantages: Flexibility. Study while you work, with in-class experience and focused studies without work interruptions.

Advantages of the Blended Learning MBA
The Blended Learning degree has one on-campus study block at the start of Year 1 and two on-campus blocks during Year 2. In between, you attend weekly classes online or on campus. This format requires the minimum leave from work. It also lowers the opportunity cost to do an Masters of Business Administration degree at USB as it reduces travel costs. This format is popular with students from the greater Cape Town area who can attend classes on campus one evening a week, as well as with students from further afield, including other African countries and beyond, who can attend one evening class per week via any internet-connected laptop.

  • Duration: 2 years (class programme and research assignment)
  • Advantages: Study while you work with the flexibility of digital class attendance, which means minimum time away from work.
  • See how blended learning works at USB.

Both formats of USB’s Masters of Business Administration – i.e. Modular and Blended Learning – allow you to study while you work. However, you need to be aware of the time demand of MBA and you need to arrange study time with your employer and family beforehand. Here is a rough guideline: For every 1 hour spent in class, you need to set aside 3 hours for preparation and self-study (reading, assignments, group work, etc.). The Masters of Business Administration class programme takes up around 448 hours. This makes prioritisation crucial.

All of these tests are recognised internationally, and USB accepts all of them. The tests measure language skills, verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and learning potential. The SHL selection test is usually the preferred option for most students who hold a degree recognised by Stellenbosch University. No preparation is required for the SHL.

Students are assessed on a continuous basis. Each module has a minimum number of assessments based on the number of credits for that module. The final performance mark therefore includes multiple individual assessments and often a group assessment component. Tests for Blended Learning MBA students are scheduled on Monday evenings between classes. Tests for Modular MBA students are scheduled on Monday evenings between blocks.

Firstly, relevant work experience is a requirement of USB’s international EQUIS accreditation. Secondly, collaborative learning – where students learn from each other – forms an important part of USB’s Masters of Business Administration. The expertise, depth and value that each participant brings to the class depend largely on authentic work experience.

Tests focus primarily on the application of knowledge and insight into business problems. Hence, all tests are open book and require the analysis of problems or cases. These summative assessments simulate real-life situations and the application of the theory and techniques covered in a particular module. In the assessment of pre-reading, multiple-choice questions or reflective essays are often used prior to attending class. Many lecturers make past test papers available as a learning resource.

Yes. Graduates of USB’s PGDip in Business Management and Administration who continue with USB’s Masters of Business Administration will get recognition for 32 credits (15%) on the MBA if they continue with the MBA within 5 years of completing the PGDip.

Short courses done via executive education cannot be presented as prior learning for credit recognition in the South African education system. However, for RPL students, any previous short courses will have a positive impact on the assessment of their application.

Yes, but on a volunteer basis only. USB alumni offer to mentor students during their studies and to provide career or industry advice. This service is offered in association with USB’s Alumni Relations Office and Career Leadership Office.

Academic assistance is offered via a web-based learning environment, various software and database resources, small-team study groups, informal learning groups and tutorials for certain modules.

This will depend on each lecturer and on the subject – as some subjects require a substantial amount of group work, while others require less group work. The weight varies from 0% (no group work) up to 40%. It is imperative that Masters of Business Administration students can communicate electronically to work on their assignments. There is no need to meet physically.

Modular students will receive their first batch of study material three weeks prior to the beginning of the programme and thereafter at the end of every modular block for the following block.

Blended Learning students will receive their first batch of study material three weeks prior to the beginning of the programme and at regular intervals thereafter.

Yes. South African students must pay a set deposit on admittance. 75% of the annual fee is payable by the end of May and the balance of 25% by the end of September. International admitted students pay 50% of the annual fee as deposit. The remainder is due two weeks before commencement of the programme.

The closing dates for each programme appear on the web page for that programme. In general, the closing dates for international applicants from non-SADC African countries and rest of world close approximately three months prior to the closing date for applicants from South Africa and (visa-exempt) SADC countries. Obtaining a study permit (study visa) from the South African authorities takes up to 12 weeks from the date of being offered a place on a programme at USB – hence the early application deadline for international students. RPL candidates (all programmes) need to apply by 31 October each year. Applications must be fully completed (all documents uploaded and SHL test completed) by the stipulated closing date.

You will improve your chances of selection by making an effort with your application and essays. Also make sure that you meet the basic requirements – such as work experience. Submit a fully completed and accurate application pack. An incomplete application pack leads to unnecessary delays and referrals.

Being fully prepared for each class session is extremely important. This starts with the compulsory reading and completion of online work prior to the contact sessions on campus. When you make time available to spend with the learning material prior to each block you will not fall into a pattern of playing catch-up at the time. This will help you to enjoy your studies, contribute in class and succeed in your studies.

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