The pre-decision expectations versus the post-decision experiences of MBA students.
The role of the student is central in the process of teaching and learning and therefore forms an invaluable source of information for quality control and performance excellence. The quality perceptions of students are linked to the success of business schools and in the competitive arena of education their views cannot be ignored. With the student as the customer, quality in higher education can be viewed as the difference between the students’ pre-decision expectations and their-post decision experiences of their university Master of Business Administration (MBA) education. The contention raised in the literature review is that the needs of the student have been ignored in the debates that have focused on the contributions of MBA programmes and their limitations in reaching their educational goals. There has been no recent research on the student’s expectations and experiences of the MBA programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Graduate School of Business and Leadership (UKZN GSB&L). The aim of this study was to determine the relationships that exist between MBA students’ pre-decision expectations versus their post-decision experiences and thereby fill the gap that exists. The study focused on MBA students that were enrolled at the UKZN GSB&L in 2013. The population included MBA students studying on the block release and full time classes on the MBA first, second and third year programmes. The population of the classes comprised of 305 students. The data collected was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The salient findings from the study showed that the main reason for the students’ pursuing an MBA qualification was the development of managerial knowledge and personal skills. The majority of students had considered other Graduate School of Businesses (GSB’s) before enrolling at the UKZN GSB&L. The areas that students rated highly when considering the UKZN GSB&L were the accreditation, reputation and the rating of the institution. The study has shown that the majority of the students were satisfied with the overall experience of the MBA programme at the UKZN GSB&L. On a personal level, the MBA programme has improved the students’ confidence level and communication skills. The majority of the students would recommend the MBA programme offered by the UKZN GSB&L to people that they know. The recommendations to improve the satisfaction level of the students at the GSB&L have been provided and the limitations identified serve as a catalyst for further research in this field.