An analysis of the benefits of a masters in business administration (MBA) degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
The Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree has seen a steady rise in popularity and proliferation in the past four decades. Critics have had plenty to say as well, sometimes from within the ranks of the MBA programme itself. The degree is widely publicized in the media, by way of advertisements, criticisms and featured press in business magazines and other such correspondence. Numerous studies have been conducted, globally and nationally to ascertain the benefits of such a qualification to the graduate and the extent of such benefit, if at all any exists. In this study, research was conducted to assess the extrinsic and intrinsic benefits of the MBA degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) post merger, and to identify any significant demographic relationships between these perceived benefits. To obtain this information, the researcher utilised a questionnaire, which was completed by 44 UKZN MBA alumni. The study had identified the weaknesses in previous studies on the perceived benefits of the MBA degree, in that the focus was solely on extrinsic benefits – clearly, in a changing economic landscape, the intrinsic benefits need to be considered as equally. The researcher introduced the viewpoints of critics of the MBA degree, and also looked at gender issues relevant to the UKZN MBA. The study also looked into the South African perspective of the MBA market, and the extent of benchmarking based on those MBA degrees with a history of excellence – hence the need to study the newer UKZN MBA degree benefits and identify the views of these specific graduates. Several recommendations were made through the course of this study, including guidelines for future research on the topic. The implications of this study are widespread, as the potential exists for the UKZN GSB to consider some of the findings in future curriculum development. Further, the study can also assist in either dispelling or supporting the constant media tendency (Furlonger, 2008) to quote pre merger graduates, in the context of a newer, updated degree.