UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) MBA Course

UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) MBA Course

The MBA at the GSB is a life-changing programme. It will give you a solid grounding in international business with a strong focus on emerging markets. Emerging market business is confronted with a high degree of uncertainty, complexity, and often, excessive inequality. Such a world needs new ideas and solutions, and we’re focusing our energy on developing teaching and research that responds to this need.

The MBA programme is offered as a one-year, full-time course or in a two-year, modular format for delegates who are unable to study full-time.


1. Organisations, Leadership and Values

This course seeks to introduce students to leadership theories, organisational leadership and the complexity of a number of leadership and managerial situations and to give insight into the underlying processes.  The course invites students to develop a critical attitude towards leadership theories and practices.  It aims to develop a thorough understanding of the relationships between organisations, people, and leadership.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Contextual and global considerations for leaders, leadership and organisations
  • Organisational structures, organisational culture, people in organisations
  • Various leadership theories
  • Values-based leadership
  • Organisational values
  • The dark side of leadership, toxic leadership

2. Evidence- Based Practice

The objective of this course is for students to develop the capabilities to integrate a discerning and well-informed approach to existing evidence and research into their managerial decision-making processes.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Availability, representativeness and affect heuristics
  • Confirmation bias and the halo effect
  • Anchoring, framing and mental accounting
  • Decisions under risk
  • Critical thinking
  • Cognition and cognitive closure
  • Analytical vs experiential reasoning; analytical vs holistic thinking; independent vs interdependent and dialectical self

3. Markets in Emerging Countries

The course provides an in-depth analysis of markets from various perspectives, focusing on how they differ within emerging and developing countries.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Market failures, information asymmetries and externalities in emerging countries
  • Markets in “anthropology”
  • The politics of markets: Influence of emerging political models
  • Markets and power: Exploration of different models/systems of markets in developed and emerging economies
  • Feminist economics and its interpretation of markets
  • Markets in an international context
  • Markets at the base of the pyramid

4. Business, Government and Society

During this course students will be familiarised with a variety of economic, social, environmental and political trends and developments that may impact either directly or indirectly on the strategy and operations of businesses in an emerging market economy such as South Africa. They will also be challenged to consider the role and some of the current responses of the business community to these trends.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • The complex nature of the many challenges societies face in relation to the role of the business community
  • The role of business in society
  • The role of institutions in explaining growth in emerging markets
  • Political regimes and economic growth in emerging markets
  • Identification and evaluation of successful developmental states
  • Doing business in Africa
  • Country risk assessments
  • Integrating sustainability in organisational strategy
  • The complexity of social-ecological problems
  • Cross-sector collaboration

5. Leadership and Personal Development

The course is intended to be a catalyst for personal reflection and insight into processes and concepts critical for completing the MBA successfully, as well as to provide a platform for future work and personal success.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Personal narrative and storytelling
  • Ego-states, awareness and mental models
  • Psychological archetypes and creative leadership
  • Mindfulness, becoming present and embodiment
  • Neuroscience and the brain
  • Construction of power and choice
  • Personal character
  • Self-Care and resilience
  • Team composition and leading teams

6. Economics for Business

The economy is the environment of business. Thus the purpose of the course is to outline the key principles of economics that will be of use to students in their working lives. This course is a principles course in micro and macroeconomics.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Business cycles and economic indicators
  • Macroeconomic foundations
  • Markets and prices, supply and demand
  • Monetary developments, interest rates and financial markets
  • Balance of payments and exchange rates
  • Inflation and real exchange rates
  • Government and policy

7. Accounting

The Accounting course focuses on introducing MBA students to the language of accounting and providing students with the ability to read, interpret and understand financial statements.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • The annual report, GAAP, IFRS, international developments
  • Financial analysis
  • The statement of comprehensive income
  • The statement of cash flows
  • Assets (property, plant & equipment,  investment properties, impairment, intangibles,  non-current assets held for sale, goodwill, inventories)
  • Liability (provisions, contingencies and post-balance sheet events, employee benefits)
  • Group accounting (subsidiaries, associates, joint ventures, goodwill)
  • Management accounting: CVP analysis, budgeting and cost management, financial performance measures
  • Strategic management accounting – the balanced scorecard

8. Organisational Behaviour and People Management

The OBPM course will provide an overall organisational approach to people management strategies and covers three main themes:

  1. The Individual in the organisation
  2. High performance work practice
  3. Leading and managing people

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • The organisation in context
  • The individual and the organisation
  • High performance organisations
  • High performance work practices
  • Employee participation and workplace empowerment
  • International people management, managing diversity in organisations
  • Employment equity
  • Managing organisational change
  • The attraction factor: recruitment and selection
  • Motivation and retention; coaching and mentoring
  • The challenges of leading and managing people in (South) Africa

9. Operations Management

This course aims to equip students with the ability to describe and analyse operations and to understand the key operations decision areas with respect to process, capacity, inventory, workforce, quality and measurement.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Introduction to operations and value-stream mapping
  • Operations strategy
  • Process flow analysis
  • Problem solving toolkits and product-process matrix
  • Supply chain management
  • Integrated material and production management, lean thinking
  • Operation strategies in emerging markets
  • Operations in online retail
  • Operations in service industries
  • Disruptive technologies and transformation system design
  • Operations in the health care sector
  • Operations for entrepreneurs

10. Finance

The MBA Finance course focusses on both theory and practice at a corporate and investor level. This course will enable students to develop an understanding of the practical aspects of finance.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Introduction to finance and South Africa’s financial economic history
  • Corporate Governance Theory, Integrating EESG criteria into corporate valuation
  • Role of the shareholders, board and executive management: Corporate Governance today
  • Modern portfolio theory
  • Efficient market hypothesis (EMH), Security market line (SML), Capital asset pricing model (CAPM), Behavioural finance
  • Cost of equity, cost of debt, weighted average cost of capital
  • Capital budgeting
  • Capital restructuring mergers and acquisitions (M&A), leverage, Modigliani & Miller (M&M) theorems
  • Interest, present and future values, perpetuities and annuities, bonds, shares
  • Financial forecasting, valuation of unlisted companies
  • The role of financial markets and institutions


The GSB MBA programme is geared toward talented and mature adults who have proven academic ability and business experience, and who are highly motivated to succeed. Students are selected, inter alia, on their capacity for personal and professional development. The GSB uses a number of criteria in selecting candidates.

To be considered for the GSB MBA candidates need to:

  • Be 25 years or older
  • Have a minimum of three years work experience.
  • Be fluent in English. Applicants whose mother tongue is not English will be required to produce a TOEFL certificate to verify fluency in English.
  • Have completed either a Bachelor Honours degree or Postgraduate Diploma or a cognate Bachelor’s Degree equivalent at level 8 through relevant work experience. Candidates not meeting the degree requirement can apply through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) route and submit the Portfolio of Learning (POL) assessment form.
  • All applicants are required to write the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) and obtain an acceptable GMAT score. A GMAT score of 550 will ordinarily be required.   The GSB offers a five-day GMAT Preparation Course to help students prepare for the GMAT.

In addition to the above criteria the GSB uses a number of other indicators including essays about life experience, goals, attitudes and values, evaluations from two referees as well as details of job, educational and extramural activities.


May be required. Applicants will be informed.

Admission is also guided by considerations such as whether or not the applicant will make a contribution to the programme, not to mention, benefit from it.