12 OCT 2023
Henley Africa ranked no. 1 by corporates in PMR.africa survey
For the sixth year running Henley Business School Africa has been awarded one of the most prestigious accolades available to accredited business schools in South Africa, a Diamond Arrow Award, from PMR.africa. In simple terms: Henley Business School Africa’s MBA graduates are rated top in the country.
“Not all awards are created equal and this is certainly one of the top honours out there because it is an award that is decided by the corporates that employ MBA graduates,” says Henley Africa dean and director Jon Foster-Pedley.
“This is where the rubber meets the road – how do MBAs from various institutions actually apply their education, and how effective are they in their workplaces? So, respondents are reflecting on a graduate’s knowledge, leadership ability, and, essentially, their character: How do they communicate? Do they conduct themselves ethically? Do they work well with others?”
Each year PMR.africa conducts an annual national survey, questioning a random sample of 300 employers – listed and large companies, national and provincial government – about MBA graduates they work with. These representatives evaluate graduates based on 20 different criteria – everything from academic knowledge of their industry, entrepreneurial skills, innovation, financial marketing and strategic management, to environmental awareness and insight into sound sustainable development. Responses are rated from 1-10, where zero is poor and 10 is outstanding.
Henley Africa sees the Diamond Arrow Award as an important benchmark and a way of staying accountable to the highest standards, says Foster-Pedley. “And the fact that Henley Africa has been granted this award for a sixth year in a row, is also affirmation of the school’s radical approach to business education on the continent.
“We aren’t like most institutions. Whereas doing an MBA used to be primarily about joining an elite club of business leaders to prop up business-as-usual, we want to turn our students into change makers – be it for racial equity, equal pay, zero tolerance for corruption, decolonising education and workplaces, or fighting against debilitating climate change. We mean for our students to shake things up and do things better.”
And as more and more conscientious, ethically minded, purpose-driven MBAs enter industries and government, gradually perceptions about which qualities are most valued in a business context are also changing.
Johan Hattingh, CEO of PMR.africa says purpose-driven leadership has emerged as a crucial attribute in this year’s survey. “Employers value graduates who possess a clear sense of purpose and are committed to creating positive change in their organisations and society at large. This is indicative of a broader societal shift towards a more responsible and conscious approach to business, and it’s clear that companies believe Henley Africa is preparing its MBA graduates accordingly.”
Foster-Pedley adds that while Henley Africa has pushed especially hard in the last few years to keep pace with rapid change in education and business wrought by the pandemic and global geopolitical uncertainty – its guiding purpose has remained the same. “In all things we seek to ‘build the people who build the businesses, that build Africa,” he says, asserting that, at its essence, it’s about investing in people.
“In fact, any time we innovate – whether we’re creating a satellite campus or flexible hybrid and online class formats that make our programmes more accessible for busy, working professionals; building the continent’s largest self-funded scholarship programme to broaden access; or adopting solar and clean-air technologies on our campus to not only teach but demonstrate that our business cares about the future of our planet – we’re considering how our actions will impact our students because they’re the ones ultimately responsible for shaping the future.”
This is an important award for Africa’s business school community, says Foster-Pedley, who is also the chairperson of the Association for African Business Schools. “I’d like to commend PMR.africa for continuing to run these annual awards. Some may argue that they are less significant than the global benchmarking rankings and accreditations, but they are setting a high standard of excellence for local corporations and their people. We all operate in a network of businesses and higher education and if we keep pushing standards higher and higher, the entire ecosystem will thrive.”
That’s certainly the spirit that drives Henley Africa, he adds. “It may be the sixth time we’ve won this award, but the shine does not wear off. The fact that we are number one now just makes us strive even harder to be better for our students, our staff, our clients, our stakeholders and our partners.”
At the core of Henley’s philosophy is the belief that we need to develop managers and leaders for the future. We believe the challenge facing future leaders is the need to solve dilemmas through making choices. We work with both individuals and organisations to create the appropriate learning environment to facilitate the critical thinking skills to prepare for the future.
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