An assessment of the South African MBA curriculum.
The MBA programme is a management education qualification that is ideal for people wishing to develop or enhance their skills and knowledge across the entire spectrum of modern management. The MBA which originated in 1908, has been the key qualification for aspirant senior managers. The MBA has for decades been recognised by academia and industry as the same of excellence of a professional manager. However, in the recent past the MBA has come under scrutiny and has been criticised for its massification and churning out managers rather than future leaders. The MBA has also been criticised for becoming too academic and less pragmatic. The primary purpose of this study was to report on the relevance of the South African Masters of Business Administration (MBA) programmes in South Africa with regards to current South African Business requirements. This exploratory study sought to address in particular what the current landscape of the MBA curriculum looked like, and to gauge the relevance of the MBA programmes of South African business schools, based on MBA alumni perceptions. An online questionnaire was designed to examine various aspects of the MBA curriculum as well as the MBA alumni perceptions of the importance of the curriculum. A non-probability purposive sample of 90 MBA alumni was obtained from various South African business schools. The salient findings of this study showed that there was a gap between alumni perceptions of important subjects and those that the business schools gave relevance to. The study found that a general MBA programme with a large research component was needed. However, this programme should give less attention to the traditional functional management subjects and should move from a narrowly focussed MBA to one that reflects a much broader context, and to continually review the curriculum.