University of Stellenbosch Business School

Telephone: +27 21 918-4246
Postal Address: P O Box 610, Bellville, 7535, Cape Town, South Africa
University of Stellenbosch Business School
The University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), located in the Tyger Valley business district in the northern part of Cape Town, offers a wide range of internationally accredited management and leadership programmes.

USB is recognised as a top school in the international business school network. It was the first school from an African university to receive all three international accreditations: AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA. USB has also been named the No 1 business school in South Africa for 2017 by

USB’s programmes are relevant for South Africa, other African countries and beyond. Over and above USB’s flagship MBA, which is presented over a shorter period from 2016, USB offers MPhil degrees (Development Finance, Management Coaching, Futures Studies), PhD degrees (Business Management, Development Finance, Futures Studies), postgraduate diplomas (Leadership, Project Management, Futures Studies, Development Finance, Business Management & Administration), and certificate courses in executive development.


USB’s MBA has been redesigned to better fulfil the needs of today’s students. The previous (longer) MBA, presented up till 2015, has now been restructured into a 213-credit programme on NQF Level 9. All formats of the USB MBA have been shortened and this takes effect from 2016.

Important: You must now have a 4-year Bachelor’s degree or an Honour’s degree or a 3-year Bachelor’s degree plus a Postgraduate Diploma before you are allowed entry into the new MBA.


Operate on senior management level: The USB MBA will give you an astute understanding of all aspects of business, enabling you to operate on senior management level in any industry. You will know how to implement strategies, solve complex problems in an increasingly competitive and volatile environment, operate in a global environment and understand the role of business in society. You will also be able to interpret financial statements, assess operational policies and develop marketing strategies.

Lead with responsibility: USB’s MBA is strongly committed to your development as a responsible leader, focusing on personal leadership, relationship leadership and organisational or strategic leadership, ultimately leading to organisational performance. This bespoke journey spans the entire MBA. This know-how will enable you to hold yourself, your teams and your company to a higher standard as custodians of society’s institutions and organisations.

Think strategically: You will learn how to analyse and evaluate a business environment using appropriate theories to formulate suitable strategies or strategic solutions. You will also learn how to apply cross-cultural skills and a global understanding in your business interactions. This includes an understanding of the interwoven nature of economics, politics, technology, society, demographics and culture, and its impact on economies and businesses.

Function globally: The USB MBA curriculum is designed to develop you as a leader who can function in any position, anywhere in the world. You will attend an International Study Module at a foreign business school and touch base with global companies. You will meet
international lecturers in class. In addition, USB’s partnership agreements with over 80 of the world’s top business schools hold the potential of exchange studies, participation in international competitions for MBA students, engagement and networking.

Understand the interlinked roles of organisational departments: You will acquire a thorough understanding of the interlinked roles of all the functional areas of an organisation – including finances, operations, information systems, marketing, human capital management and support services. This will enable you to manage across functional areas, gain insight, align resources and make well-informed decisions.


Three international accreditations: USB has quality guarantees in the form of AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA accreditation. USB was the first school from an African university to hold all three international accreditations for business schools.

International exposure: USB’s international participation is demonstrated by its three international accreditations, its international student body, visiting international faculty and exchange students, the compulsory MBA International Study Module at a foreign business school on the MBA programme, its presence in many parts of the African continent, and partnerships with business schools on all continents.

Africa-focused expertise: USB is your business knowledge partner in Africa. The School has become known for its African-focused expertise in areas such as development finance, ethics and corporate governance, personal leadership development, management coaching, futures research and emerging-country economics.

Leadership development: A strong focus on leadership development forms part of our programmes – in particular our MBA and Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership Development. USB’s leadership expertise is benchmarked against international standards and endorsed by a growing body of respected research institutions.

Collaborative learning: Collaborative learning is a key feature of USB’s programmes, and this intense engagement contributes to the life-changing experience of studying with us. Each student brings different qualifications, management experience and cultural knowledge to the table.

Diversity: On your study journey at USB, you will collaborate with people from a wide range of cultures and countries. Students come from all over South Africa, the rest of Africa and the world. This diversity will add depth to your learning experience and help you to build valuable networks of business contacts and fellow students that will last you a lifetime.



  • 3 international accreditations: AACSB, EQUIS, AMBA. USB was the first school from an African university to hold all three international accreditations for business schools
  • 2017 rankings: No 1 School in South Africa (
  • Membership of 2 PhD research organisations: EDAMBA (first member of European Doctoral Programmes Association in Management and Business Administration from outside Europe) and EFMD’s Global Doctoral Alliance
  • EFMD’s Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative: USB is a GRLI member, helping to reframe the purpose of management education
  • UN’s Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME): USB is one of first 100 signatories promoting corporate responsibility and sustainability in business education
  • Global Business School Network: GBSN member, helping to promote management education as a critical component of international development strategies
  • Membership of leading business school associations: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), Global Business School Network (GBSN), management development organisation CEEMAN, Association of African Business Schools (AABS) and the SA Business Schools Association (SABSA).
MBA Overview


USB’s MBA is aimed at producing managers, professionals and entrepreneurs who can lead responsibly, make sound decisions, think strategically, communicate effectively and act as stewards of society. If you are aiming towards senior management positions and leadership roles, the MBA will prepare you for this.

USB’s MBA is rigorous. It balances solid quantitative modules with personal development and leadership skills to deliver well-rounded graduates. Collaborative learning – where students learn from each other – is a key feature of the USB MBA. Our MBA students are mature people: 34% of them have between 7 and 11 years of work experience while 42% have 12 or more years of work experience. Also, the students are diverse in terms of their undergraduate studies, work experience, geographies and cultures. The unique knowledge that each student brings to the table adds considerable richness to collaborative learning, enabling students to work with different perspectives.

USB’s MBA offers a generalist stream, for those who want to manage the functional areas of any business at senior manage level (career switchers), and two specialisation streams, for those who want domain expertise at senior management level in either in Health Care Leadership or Managing International Organisations:

  • MBA with generalist modules, which can be applied in any business sector
  • MBA with stream-specific modules in Managing International Organisations (MIO), which can be applied in international organisations, multinational for-profit organisations and development agencies or NGOs
  • MBA with stream-specific modules in Health Care Leadership (HCL), which can be applied in the public and private health care industry.

It is important to note that the core modules of all the MBA streams are the same. Two of the MBA streams have concentrations of modules that allow students to acquire specialised knowledge of the management of either international organisations or health care. These streams do not denote separate MBAs. All students will graduate with an MBA from Stellenbosch University.

  • NQF level: 9
  • Flexible formats: Full-time MBA (1 year), Modular MBA (2 years), Blended Learning MBA (2 years)
  • Language: All the formats are presented in English.
  • Learning activities: Lectures, guest lectures by practitioners, tutorials, syndicate groups, practical workplace experience and independent self-study.
  • Specialisation options: Health Care Leadership and Managing International Organisations
  • Online support: All classes are supplemented by USB’s learning management system (Learning Hub). The course content is embodied in a series of lectures and group discussions, blended with course material composed of comprehensive course outlines, text books and journal articles. Students have to be thoroughly prepared for all lectures so as to extract the optimal benefit from contact sessions and collaborative learning.
  • Place of delivery: Classes are presented at the USB campus in the Tyger Valley business district in northern Cape Town or via the pioneering glocal classroom where students join the class via an internet-linked device in real time and from anywhere in the world.
MBA Structure


USB’s MBA is structured into 18 compulsory modules and a choice of electives. The compulsory modules include the Research Assignment, which spans the entire MBA, and the International Study Module at a foreign business school.


  • Accounting for Decision-Making (8 credits)
  • Business Communication Skills (4 credits)
  • Business in Society (8 credits)
  • Contemporary Decision-Making (12 credits)
  • Corporate Finance (12 credits)
  • Digital Enterprise Management (8 credits)
  • Economics for Managers (8 credits)
  • Human Capital Management (8 credits)
  • Integrated Case Studies (8 credits)
  • International Study Module (8 credits)
  • Operational Excellence (8 credits)
  • Perspectives on African Frontiers (8 credits)
  • Managerial Accounting (8 credits)
  • Managerial Statistics (8 credits)
  • Research Methodology and Assignment (45 credits)
  • Strategic Management (12 credits)
  • Strategic Marketing and Branding (8 credits)
  • Leadership Development (16 credits)


Choose electives to acquire areas of specialisation

Students can choose two electives from an extensive list of topics. The electives are clustered into themes:

  • Innovation
  • Technology
  • Operations
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Leadership
  • Finance
  • Project management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Other / Management enhancement


USB is introducing two new MBA streams over and above its generalist MBA stream. The new streams are:

  1. MBA stream in Managing International Organisations (MBA MIO), which can be applied in both for-profit and non-profit international organisations and in international development agencies. This degree is jointly presented by USB and senior UN leaders.
  2. MBA stream in Health Care Leadership (MBA HCL), which can be applied in the public and private health care to industry. This stream will benefit high achievers who want to lead positive change in the complex and changing health care environment.

Use the International Study Module to grow a global mind-set

All MBA students need to do a compulsory MBA International Study Module (various options) at a foreign business school to enhance their international exposure. The cost of this module is included in the MBA study fees.

Gain business knowledge through the Research Assignment

Concurrent with the MBA and building on the content of the MBA, students should write a Research Assignment of 50 to 70 pages on a management-related problem. The research assignment serves as an example of how to handle business challenges by following a robust research process. This experience also gives students the ability to make a value judgement on research presented at managerial level in the workplace.

Optional: Exchange studies abroad

MBA students can choose to complete part of their studies at one of USB’s overseas partner schools. This will enable them to earn credits towards the USB MBA by doing a module or summer school abroad. Exchange studies are optional. 

Please note that USB reserves the right to modify the contents of subjects and to combine subject matter for better integration of learning areas. This is in the interest of continuous improvement of the curriculum.

Faculty & Staff
Besides its full-time and part-time academic staff, many of whom have distinguished themselves as organisational leaders, USB welcomes international academics and experts to lecture on its MBA. This gives students exposure to academic learning and real-world experience from across the globe. Find more details on USB’s academic staff and support staff at
Student Body


On the ideal MBA programme, students will be learning from each other just as much as from their lecturers. As a result, USB likes to ensure a diverse student profile in terms of nationality, gender, ethnicity and experience, making for a rich collaborative experience. This, to a large extent, reflects what is happening in the workplace every day.

This is what typical MBA students at USB looked like in 2015:

  • Work experience: At least 36% of the students had between 7 and 11 years of work experience while another 43% had 12 years of work experience or more.
  • Work areas: These range from management and finance to IT, law, HR, production, marketing, strategy and engineering. About 42% of the students came from a management or financial background. In total, 6% came from a strategy and planning background, 3% came from an IT background, 12% from an engineering background and 6% from a marketing background.
  • Age: About 22% were under 30 years of age. About 41% were between 31 and 36 years, while 34% were 37 years or older.
  • Industry: Around 10% of the students worked in the financial services industry, while 20% came from a minerals and engineering background. Another 8% came from the agricultural, food and beverages industries while 2% came from health and medical professions. Around 10% came from engineering and construction.
Facilities & Resources

Facilities, resources and services

  • ICT facilities: These include wireless broadband internet access campus-wide, an e-learning platform, individual workstations and break-away rooms, network connections for notebooks and access to software packages and databases.
  • Library: The Bellville Park Campus library provides access to printed and online local and international publications, books, journals and database (including SA-e- Publications, Scopus, Ebscohost, Gartner and Emerald), as well as a repository of master’s and doctoral theses (SUNSCHOLAR). See
  • Support services: The Client Liaison and Sales Office, Admissions Office and Academic Administration provide advice and continuous support to prospective and current students. The International Affairs Office provides assistance to foreign and exchange students, and the Alumni Relations Office engages with USB alumni of all degree programmes and postgraduate diplomas. The Careers Office provides career planning and development services.
  • Lecture theatres: All the auditorium-style and flat-floor lecture theatres are equipped with the latest audio-visual equipment and network facilities.
  • Business services: This facility offers e-mail, phone, photocopying, printing, courier and related services to students.
  • Accommodation and cafeterias: The Bellvista Lodge ( on the campus provides accommodation and a restaurant. Two other cafeterias offer meals and refreshments.
  • Surrounding areas: The USB campus is close to main access routes, the Cape Town International Airport, shopping malls, sports facilities, entertainment and first-class medical facilities. Also within easy reach are our world-famous winelands, Cape Point, Table Mountain (a World Heritage site), the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and Robben Island.
Admission Requirements


USB’s stringent admission criteria result in higher retention and pass rates. From 2016 onwards, the Council on Higher Education (CHE) in South Africa will, based on new regulations, requires all MBA applicants to have a 4-year degree, a 3-year Bachelor’s degree plus a postgraduate diploma, or an honours degree. The minimum admission requirements for USB’s MBA include:

Academic qualifications

  • An appropriate 4-year Bachelor’s degree at NQF level 8 and at least 3 years of relevant full-time working experience, preferably on managerial level
  • OR
  • An Honours degree at NQF level 8, plus 3 years of relevant full-time working experience, preferably on managerial level.
  • OR
  • An appropriate 3-year Bachelor’s degree at NQF level 7 and a Postgraduate Diploma at NQF level 8, and at least 3 years of relevant working experience, preferably on managerial level

Other requirements

Assessment and Recognition of Prior Learning:

USB provides wider access to its programmes through its Assessment and Recognition of Prior Learning (ARPL) process. In line with the requirements of the Council for Higher Education (CHE), USB may admit up to 10% of its student body under ARPL. Candidates who wish to be admitted under the ARPL policy will firstly have to submit all the documentation and tests as required for all prospective students. In addition, prospective MBA students have to adhere to the following:

  • Have at least an NQF 6 qualification.
  • Have at least SIX years of working experience after obtaining the above-mentioned qualification, of which at least THREE years should have been in a management or related professional position.
  • Submit a comprehensive CV, indicating detailed areas of responsibility as well as information on activities outside the work environment.
  • Provide USB with at least two references (typically current or former line heads) who can testify about the candidate’s managerial or related professional abilities. These references will be required to give a detailed personal reference about the candidate on forms provided by USB.
  • Next, USB’s Admissions Committee (head of the programme and another academic) will conduct an in-depth interview with the candidate.
  • If the Committee is of the opinion that the candidate has the ability to cope with the demands of the MBA programme, he/she may be admitted.
  • A recommendation of admission is sent via USB’s Academic Planning Committee to the Board of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences for notification.
  • Note that ARPL candidates need to apply by 30 October each year to allow sufficient time for the assessment process.
How to Apply



  1. Apply online: Go to and complete the online MBA application form. You will be able to complete the form in steps without losing information. The application process is the same for South African and foreign students
  2. Do a selection test: USB accepts the SHL or GMAT selection test. Both tests are recognised internationally. Make an appointment with USB to do the SHL selection test, or contact GMAT at
  3. Pay your application fee: Bank: Standard Bank. Account name: US Business School. Type of account: cheque account. Account number: 073003069. Branch name: Stellenbosch. Branch code: 050610. SWIFT code: SBZAZAJJ. Proof of payment of your application fee can also be e-mailed to
  4. Upload your supporting documentation online:
    • Proof of application fee payment
    • Comprehensive CV
    • 3 essays of 250 words each
    • Copies of degree certificates (please note that the original certificate must be shown on the day one, or shown together with a transcript of the subjects)
    • Proof of school-leaving mathematics results
    • SHL or GMAT selection test results (if these were not sent to USB directly)
    • Copy of your ID (or passport for non-South African students)
    • A marriage certificate (where the applicant’s new surname does not match that on the degree certificates)

Proof of payment of your application fee can also be e-mailed to

Dates & Fees
The information is currently not available. Please feel free to check back again at a later stage.
Bursaries & Scholarships

USB’s Bursary Scheme provides partial bursaries and financial assistance to a number of deserving students who have been admitted to the MBA programme.

For more details on how to apply for bursaries, contact Marie Willows on 021 918 4243 or at The closing date for bursary applications is 30 November each year.

Only students who have been accepted onto the MBA may apply for a bursary.

  • The bursaries will be awarded to a full-time MBA.
  • All the bursaries will be awarded on academic merit.
  • Applicants from previously disadvantaged groups (in the case of South Africans) will be given preference.
  • Applicants must provide evidence of financial need and not be recipients of any other form of study sponsorship (e.g. from their companies).
  • Further terms and conditions apply to each bursary.
  • Every application will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Other bursaries
The National Research Foundation offers bursaries.

Additional Information


The triple accredited USB offers an MBA, MPhil degrees (Management Coaching, Development Finance, Futures Studies), PhD degrees (Business Management, Development Finance), postgraduate diplomas (Business Management and Administration, Development Finance, Futures Studies, Leadership, Project Management) and executive development.

  • MBA: USB’s triple accredited MBA gives students an astute understanding of business, enabling them to take on positions on senior management level in any industry. It also allows them to lead with confidence, think critically, function globally, build business connections and apply business knowledge to the benefit of society. The programme consists of core modules, electives, a research assignment and a compulsory International Study Module at a foreign business school (costs included in MBA fees). USB offers a Full-time MBA (1 year), and Modular MBA (2 years; blocks of classes; various intakes). All programmes are presented in English, except the one modular MBA commencing in February, which is mainly Afrikaans. Find more information at
  • MPhil in Development Finance: The MPhil in Development Finance (MDevF) covers all aspects of development finance, including a thorough understanding of the theories underpinning development finance practices. It also focuses on enterprise-level development finance and sustainable growth. This makes the MDevF a critical-skills degree for Africa. It is aimed at people who are involved with finance and financial management issues in developing countries. This is a two-year modular programme (3 blocks of 2 weeks each on the USB campus). A research assignment must be completed. Find more information at
  • MPhil in Management Coaching: This degree will enable you to confidently coach managers and leaders towards reaching their full potential. This programme adheres to international best practice while also emphasising management coaching in a uniquely African context. This 2-year programme consists of 5 one-week modules and a research assignment. Find more information at
  • MPhil in Futures Studies: USB’s internationally accredited MPhil in Futures Studies builds on the School’s Postgraduate Diploma in Futures Studies to deepen your understanding of futures concepts and futures tools. As such, it is aimed at anyone who wants to bring about a more desirable future. It is also aimed at turning you into a professional futurist. This qualification will therefore equip decision makers and strategic planners with essential skills to make strategic long-term decisions so that they can deal with rapid and complex changes both locally and internationally. This is the only MPhil degree of its kind in Africa. This 2-year programme consists of about 25 blended learning sessions and a research assignment. Find more information at
  • PhD in Business Management and Administration: This doctoral programme focuses on in-depth research to develop employable knowledge that can be applied directly in the workplace. It is a non-structured programme that allows students to determine their own timing. Participants may enrol for full-time or part-time studies. Find more information at
  • PhD in Development Finance: The purpose of USB's internationally accredited PhD in Development Finance is to contribute to a crucial understanding of development finance and to support the growth agendas of South Africa, the greater African continent and beyond. It also leads to employable expertise. It is structured into a course-work component (2 blocks of 2 weeks each on campus) and a research component during the second and subsequent years of registration. Find more information at
  • PhD in Futures Studies: This research degree forms part of USB’s Futures Studies cluster of programmes. It allows students to become specialists in this field by acquiring in-depth knowledge through doctoral research. The programme is aimed at professional futurists, decision makers and strategic planners who would like to distinguish themselves through in-depth research aimed at helping people to bring about a more desirable future. This is the only PhD degree of its kind in Africa. Find more information at
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management and Administration: This programme allows students to acquire entrepreneurship skills and an entrepreneurial approach to business, as well as general management skills and an understanding of business in Africa. It can also provide access to an MBA. Graduates continuing with USB’s MBA will get recognition for 32 credits (15%) on the MBA. This learn-while-you-earn programme over 1 year is delivered in two formats: Choose between Blended learning (combination of on-campus and online classes) and Modular (5 blocks of on-campus classes). Find more information at
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Development Finance: This programme provides managers with a clear understanding of the role of development finance, especially in Africa. Outcomes include the ability to contribute meaningfully to the design and implementation of development finance policies and projects. This is a modular programme (2 on-campus blocks of classes spread over 1 year), which allows you to study while you work. Find more details at
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Futures Studies: This programme will equip decision makers and strategic planners with essential skills to make strategic long-term decisions so that they can deal with rapid and complex changes both locally and internationally. This programme can also provide access to USB’s MPhil in Futures Studies. Both USB’s Postgraduate Diploma and MPhil in Futures Studies are the only programmes of their kind in Africa. It is delivered in 1 on-campus block (4 days) and about 25 blended learning sessions, allowing students to study while they work. Find more details at
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership Development: This programme acknowledges leadership as the prime driver of a culture of performance. That is why the programme focuses on your development as a leader and not on managerial functions such as finance, marketing and economics as well. These leadership competencies can be applied in any industry, anywhere in the world. The programme is aimed at managers in the private and public sector, professionals who want to prepare for managerial positions, and those who want to broaden their leadership competencies. It is presented in 4 study blocks over 1 year. Find more information at
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Project Management: This programme focuses on strategic project management and upper management skills to produce professional project managers. The modules include risk, procurement, communication and cost management, as well as project leadership. It is presented in 6 study blocks (1 week each) spread over 2 years. Project management is listed as a scarce skill in South Africa. Find more details at
  • Executive education: USB Executive Development Ltd (USB-ED) offers comprehensive programmes for managers from entry to executive level as well as discipline-specific programmes. Find more information at
  • Programmes for visiting groups of students: The USB structures programmes for visiting or incoming groups from foreign business schools. These groups typically follow a one-week or two-week programme which includes classroom lectures, live case studies based on the industries of their choice, engagement and networking, company visits, cultural activities and sightseeing to let students experience the USB and South Africa first-hand. Find more information at


Various centres at USB undertake specialised research, publish articles and journals, and offer workshops, programmes and conferences. Among them are the Centre for Corporate Governance in Africa, the African Centre for Dispute Settlement, the Centre for Leadership Studies, the Base of the Pyramid Learning Lab and the Institute for Futures Research. Find more information at


USB’s main social initiatives are its Small Business Academy (SBA), its subsidised Management Programme for Non-profit Organisations and a bursary programme.

Through its Small Business Academy – launched in May 2012 – the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) aims to give life to its vision of meaningful engagement with society at large. USB hopes to contribute in its area of expertise, namely business education.

With the Small Business Academy, the business school wants to make a difference to the lives and businesses of small business owners in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain. The school has therefore made a commitment to share knowledge and work closely with these small business owners in an effort to develop business skills. USB works with corporate sponsors and other stakeholders to achieve this. Find more information at


Over the past five decades, USB has continually improved its MBA programme to meet complex challenges in the South African, African and global business environment. In 2016, USB will introduce its new professional MBA programme. This MBA has been redesigned into significantly shortened formats, namely the Full-time MBA over one year and the Modular MBA over two years. Both are presented at NQF level 9. The professional MBA aims to train professionals who can contribute to the development of knowledge and to innovative leadership. The MBA degree is therefore a relevant and solid investment that prepares individuals for advanced and specialised professional employment.

One of the greatest benefits of doing an MBA is that students can immediately start to implement their learning in their work environment to help resolve problems.

Management tools, techniques and hard skills such as strategic management, economics, finance and marketing are important core competencies of the MBA graduate. However, the soft skills acquired on the programme are especially valued by employers and students. Soft skills such as leadership and communication skills, adaptability, flexibility and self-awareness can be applied across a myriad of professional environments, and are in high demand in the business environment.

One of the key differentiators of USB’s MBA is the Leadership Module which develops leaders as individuals with their own authentic leadership styles. The International Study Module at foreign business schools offers students a global perspective that supports the other elements of the MBA. To further enhance global perspectives most electives are presented by international faculty. The collaborative approach to learning through group work, the analysis of case studies and networking combined with individual work support the analysis of business problems and the development of solutions.

USB’s professional MBA provides a transformative experience, with new and different viewpoints on current and future business challenges. This enhances the MBA graduate’s relevance in the business environment.

Prof Marlize Terblanche-Smit
Head: MBA Programme, University of Stellenbosch Business School
Contact Us
Please feel free to contact us for further information:
Sales And Client Liaison ()
Telephone: +27 21 918 4246
E-mail: Send me an e-mail

©Copyright SURREAL 2020. All rights reserved.