University of South Africa Graduate School of Business Leadership

Telephone: +27 11 652-0000
Fax: +27 11 652-0299
Postal Address: P O Box 392, UNISA, 0003, Johannesburg, South Africa
University of South Africa Graduate School of Business Leadership
To be a world-class enterprise you need innovative leaders who understand the dynamics of the global business environment. You also need managers with the confidence and expertise to deal with the unique challenges that face Southern African Business.

The UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL) helps organisations meet today’s challenges. Through a range of management development programmes, we transform your human resources potential into an organisational success factor.

At the SBL, senior managers develop the know-how to create winning strategies and to implement those strategies in the enterprise. Middle managers learn how to manage change, turn threats into opportunities, overcome weaknesses and capitalise on the key strengths that drive success. An entry level manager acquire the hands-on skills that enable them to execute their day to day functions more effectively.

Through strategic alliances with international academic institutions we enable our staff to give you access to cutting-edge management thinking. At the same time, our educational partnerships with South African business ensure that our programmes meet the evolving needs of all our stakeholders.

Another element in the SBL’s strategy is the deployment of technology to facilitate more efficient delivery of our highly regarded management education programmes. This enables us to provide participants with intense work-related educational experience while they continue to make valuable contributions in their organisation.

Our blend of full-time teaching staff, self tuition, study groups, residential tuition and centre visits ensures that participants maintain contact with each other and with lecturers while enjoying the flexibility of distance education.

The success of our approach is demonstrated daily by the achievements of the people and organisations who have participated in our programmes. More than one hundred and fifty of our MBL graduates appear in the Who’s Who of Southern Africa, and SBL alumni hold senior positions at world class companies.
UNISA operates in accordance with the Higher Education Act 101 of 1997 as amended, and is accredited by the South African Department of Education as well as the South African Council on Higher Education and its qualifications are registered with the South African Qualifications Authority.

Apart from the above, the University of South Africa is inter alia also listed in the following publications:
  • Commonwealth Universities Yearbook, an international directory providing authoritative information on more than 600 universities in 36 Commonwealth countries
  • International Handbook of Universities, published by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and officially verified by the International Association of Universities.
Since UNISA operates in accordance with the Higher Education Act, it does not have a registration number at the Department of Education.

The UNISA SBL is a member of the Distance Education and Training Council of the United States of America (DETC), AACSB, EFMD and EMBAC.


The UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership's Master of Business Leadership (MBL) has been fully accredited by the South African Council on Higher Education.
MBA Overview


The Master of Business Leadership (MBL) is a highly professional, three-year, postgraduate management development programme which is offered on a largely distance learning platform. This distributed learning model offers a special learning opportunity and a unique self-development programme to graduates who want to follow a management career in business and public sectors.

Its unique structure incorporates lecturer contact, group and individual work, and multimedia interaction (through an Electronic Delivery System) resulting in a learning experience which is unmatched at this level.

Strategy, Leadership, Financial Management and the Value Chain are the main fields of study which are integrated into the MBL. The first two years of study deliver a broad spectrum of both theory and practice which covers aspects of management from the operational level through general management and culminate in strategic management concepts relating to all of the major areas covered.

During the final year the participant will have the opportunity to integrate the learning experience through a compulsory executive project management and a field study module and a research report. In addition, during the final year, advanced studies in certain subjects are presented as electives.

On completion of the programme the successful participant will have developed strong leadership skills through the combination of theory and practice. During the programme the participants will have had the opportunity to apply learning experiences both personally and within their work environment.

The resulting Master’s degree equips the participant for a meaningful top management role in business, public and private sectors and other organisations.
MBA Structure


The study period is three years and the programme is based on a combination of theoretical and applied content.

The first two years consist of core modules, and must be taken by all participants. The final year offers the opportunity to integrate all learning experiences through a research project, an executive project management module and an elective.

The distributed distance learning element comprises self-tuition and group work in which the participant must do both prescribed and recommended reading, complete assignments and contribute to group activities and assignments. Attendance at the compulsory study schools and group meetings give the students an opportunity to network with fellow students and to interact with lecturers.

Examinations will be written at the end of the year (Oct/Nov).


First and second year:
All participants must attend the compulsory study schools and centre visits in their first and second year of study. One five day full-time study school is held at Midrand for all participants during the first half of the year. For MBL 1 this study school will be during the last week of February and first week in March.

Third year:
During the last year of study a one-week full-time study school will be held at the SBL, Midrand. The study school will be structured as a conference with a formal programme and will cover those elective subjects where there are sufficient students to warrant inclusion within the formal programme.

Individual or small group meetings may be arranged by students who are registered for subjects for which no formal conference has been scheduled.

Interactive study groups
Each participant is allocated to a study group comprising five or more members in a specific geographical area. In exceptional cases a group of less than five members may be allowed. Group members meet on a weekly basis for interactive study and the preparation of group assignments. These sessions usually last a few hours. Participants will be allowed to form “virtual groups” which will function largely by using electronic media such as the eds online, e-mail, Internet, fax and telephone.

Centre meetings
In the second half of the first two years compulsory centre meetings between participant groups and lecturers are held at Midrand and, if there are enough students, also in the main study centres. This five day meeting supplement the learning experience, increase participant/lecturer contact, and networking with each other.

Assignments and tests
Assignments contribute 24% towards the final mark per module. The tests are written at approved Unisa examination centres during May and contribute 16% towards the final mark.

The programme ends in October/November with one four-hour open-book examination per module. It contributes 60% per module towards the final mark. Examinations will be held at centres designated by Unisa. Examination eligibility will be according to the rules and procedures applicable to the MBL.


Course material and contact with the SBL, lecturers and fellow students are provided through the Electronic Delivery System. The eds online is on-line 24 hours a day and connects students and staff through the Internet. Study guides and other material supplied by the SBL are available through the eds online. Assignments are submitted through the eds online. Students can use the eds online to interact with their own group and also with other students, groups and lecturers. Using the eds online means that distance between participants, members of their group and the SBL becomes less important. The electronic delivery system improves access to the MBL programme, and makes course delivery efficient.

eds online requirements
Students will be required to have access to a computer and the Internet. The minimum hardware requirements are as follows:

  • Pentium MMX (166MHZ); SVGA monitor; CD-ROM (16 x speed); Modem (28Kbps); 32MB RAM; Windows 95; mouse, IE6 and Internet access.

Language medium
Prescribed material is available in English. Participants may submit assignments and do examinations in English or Afrikaans. The language medium for study schools is English.


The first and second years consist of core modules which must be taken by all participants. Students must register for all modules at the beginning of the year. An elective is offered in the third year in conjunction with the research projects.

First year

  • Human resource management and employment relations (MBL911K)
  • Operations management (MBL912L)
  • Marketing management (MBL913M)
  • Financial and management accounting (MBL914N)
  • Strategic management (MBL915P)
  • Economics and the global business environment (MBL916Q)

Second year (Programme to start in 2004)

  • Leadership and organisational dynamics (MBL921M)
  • Strategic financial management (MBL922N)
  • Strategy dynamics and international business (MBL923P)
  • Information resource management (MBL924Q)
  • Business research (MBL925R)
  • Business ethics (MBL926S)

Third year

  • A compulsory year module: Executive Project Management and a field study
  • A research report (MBLREP-P)
  • An elective module


  1. All the elective modules will not necessarily be offered each year.
  2. The student’s choice is subject to the approval of the Director and Executive Officer, SBL.

The current elective modules of the third year must be chosen from the following list:

Faculty & Staff
The SBL boasts a staff complement of 80 full-time employees, of which around 30 fulfil academic responsibilities. The rest of the staff members are appointed in a supportive capacity. The SBL comprises four directorates, under the leadership of the Executive Director. These directorates include Academic, Human Resources and Operations, Finance, Marketing and Communication

Our blend of full-time teaching staff, self tuition, study groups and residential tuition ensures that participants maintain contact with each other and with lecturers while enjoying the flexibility of distance education.

Click here for a complete listing of our faculty and staff.
Student Body
The information is currently not available. Please feel free to check back again at a later stage.
Facilities & Resources
Alumni Association
The strategic intent of the Alumni Association of the Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL) is to develop and expand the transformational leadership base in southern Africa in order to build winning organisations.

The SBL Campus in Midrand
The SBL occupied various Unisa buildings in downtown Pretoria until 1993, but moved into its own premises in Midrand in January 1994, after the Midrand City Council made a generous donation of 7,5 ha of prime property to Unisa. Midrand is the fastest growing metropolitan area in South Africa and lies in the centre of the country’s economic activity, midway between the capital (Pretoria) and Johannesburg (these two cities are only 50 km apart). The strategic location of the SBL’s premises is further enhanced by its high visibility, directly adjacent to the highway connecting the two cities.

The SBL campus consists of a three-storey office block with more than 90 offices (see Figure 1.3). Also included are three auditoriums, four breakaway or seminar rooms, an information centre (linked to the main library of Unisa in Pretoria), a computer laboratory, six meeting rooms, an executive boardroom and VIP lounge, and a cafeteria.

From the technological viewpoint, the auditoriums are equipped with the latest teaching aids, including those for video conferencing. Apart from being linked to the Unisa computer network, the SBL also maintains its own intranet and Electronic Delivery System (EDS) which is used for student communication and the delivery of study material and assignments. The EDS is continuously upgraded and now enables students who cannot join a physical syndicate group to belong to virtual groups.

Approximately 60 percent of the SBL’s property is currently utilised for buildings, parking and landscaped gardens, which leaves ample space for further expansion. Such expansion is already in the planning phase and includes additional lecturing facilities, breakaway rooms and on-campus accommodation.
Admission Requirements


In order to be considered for admission to the first year of study, students must:

  • hold a three year Bachelors degree (360 SAQA credits).
  • have at least three years’ work experience to ensure that participants can contribute meaningfully in group discussions, assignments and at study schools.
  • have access to a computer and the Internet. Please see eds online requirements on page 3.
  • an evaluation of the applicants academic performance and the motivation to enrol for the MBL.

Applications for admission will only be accepted from the beginning of October each year for registration of the following year. No late applications will be accepted.

How to Apply


Application for admission must be made before 5 November. Successful candidates will be notified.

NB: The application for admission form is the programme brochure which can be downloaded by clicking here.

  • Complete history of your work career
    (On separate page, use the following guideline and list all your full-time positions, starting with the most recent)
    • Firm/Employer
    • Nature of business
    • Date of assumption and termination of service
    • Job title (e.g. Managing Director)
    • Your duties
  • A two page double spaced document motivating why you want to obtain a MBL degree
  • A recommendation from your employer which supports your application for selection and acknowledging your study obligations, using the guidelines below.
    • Name of employer
    • Job title (e.g. Managing Director)
    • Company
    • Address
    • Recommendation
    • A acknowledgement
    • Signature
  • Original official academic records issued by every university you have attended, indicating the symbol or percentage obtained for each course. (An academic record is an original declaration issued and signed by the Registrar of a university, indicating all courses passed or failed (with percentages/symbols), and showing whether or not the qualification was completed.) Kindly note that copies, certified copies, or faxes of your academic records are NOT acceptable.

  • Also include certified copies of your degree(s) and certificate(s).

  • Original documentary proof of at least three years’ work experience (e.g. a letter from your employer (on an official company letterhead) indicating your period of service or a certificate of service.) If you operate your own business, the statement can be made by your auditor, accountant , attorney or partner.

  • Initial payment.
    Your signature on the application for selection form implies that:

    • The required documents are included with the application for admission.
    • You declare that you will obey the Rules of the University and that you will attend the study schools and centre meetings.
    • You accept that lecturers will be conducted predominantly in English.
    • You will be responsible for all fees and book costs.

A limited number of students are selected every year and it may happen that a person who meets all the above requirements does not gain admission in a particular year.

NB: No faxed application forms will be accepted. Courier or personal deliveries must be send to the physical address.

In the terms of the admission requirements, students must register simultaneously for all the prescribed modules of the particular year.

A student may only register for the modules of the following year if no more than one module of any previous year still has to be passed and the outstanding module is taken concurrently with the present year’s modules.

Dates & Fees
The information is currently not available. Please feel free to check back again at a later stage.
Bursaries & Scholarships
Unfortunately, there are currently no available bursary or scholarship opportunities. Please feel free to check back again at a later stage.
Additional Information


  • To be the leading business school in Africa, internationally recognised for the development of leadership and management competencies.


  • We develop leaders and managers for the international management community with particular emphasis on the African continent and emerging economies.
  • We provide action-learning tuition, readily accessible through a combinationof multi-media technology, part-time and residential studies.
  • We engage in ongoing research and wide-ranging consultancy to enhance our development opportunities and tuition model.

Strategic Objectives

  • To satisfy leadership and management development needs on a continuous basis through our product range
  • To optimally exploit multi-media delivery systems and related technologies in the performance of our functions.
  • To initiate and conduct appropriate research, including consultancy, which informs and supplements the execution of our functions.
  • To contribute to the community as a good corporate citizen.
  • To develop our staff to their fullest potential as stakeholders of the business school.
  • To form and broaden corporate and other alliances which directly and demonstrably promote our interests.
  • To develop our position and capacity as an international institution.
  • To establish full operational autonomy within the university structures.
UNISA SBL a leader in management education
The far-reaching official investigation into the quality of South African MBA degrees by the Council for Higher Education (CHE), culminating in the reaccreditation of South African MBAs, is over.

The University of South Africa's (Unisa) Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL), one of the top business schools in the country, is proud to announce that its flagship qualification, the Master of Business Leadership (MBL), was fully accredited by the CHE. The MBL, one of the foremost postgraduate business qualifications offered in South Africa was first conferred in 1969, and places emphasis on leadership development as opposed to administration. The MBL has a strong presence in the market, in that, the SBL produces more than 40% of graduates in the MBL/MBA market. Alumni, to date accounts for more than 7500 graduates. Some of the alumni who have completed the MBL include, Allan Knott Craig, (Group CEO Vodacom); Peter Watt, (CEO Comparex Africa); prominent business and other leaders in South Africa such as Brian Gilbertson (Ex-CEO of BHP-Billiton); and Lindiwe Msengana-Ndlela (Director-General, Department of Provincial and Local Government).

The SBL is one of the oldest business schools in South Africa and has received many prestigious awards for excellence. A unique tuition model in management development made this school a pioneer in distance education in the world. In line with the leadership philosophy of the SBL, and as result of market demands for responsiveness and innovative flexibility in management education, operational autonomy was granted to the SBL effective form 1 January 2004. Operational autonomy comprises the establishment of the SBL as a separate entity within Unisa with delegated authority for operational decision making and full control over revenues and expenses. The SBL is governed by the SBL Board B a standing committee of the Unisa Council. The new SBL Board was constituted on 17 March 2004. Dr Bongani Khumalo was appointed as the Chairperson of the new SBL Board. Dr Khumalo is, inter alia, the Chairman of Transnet and a former Deputy Chief Executive at Eskom. His background includes corporate and political communications as well as philanthropic work. With his wealth of expertise and experience in governance, Dr Khumalo is sure to lead the SBL to new frontiers.
Contact Us
Please feel free to contact us for further information:
Cilla Boucher (Communication and Marketing Specialist)
Telephone: +27 11 652 0334
Fax: +27 11 652 0299
E-mail: Send me an e-mail

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