Developing a competitive edge

In a “flat” world, national competitiveness and attention to developing it is becoming increasingly important. South Africa has a spirit of resilience but it needs to build a more tough-minded approach to competitiveness to grow the economy, create jobs and reduce poverty.

This is according to Professor Nick Binedell, director of the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gibs), who said that economic growth is the oxygen of any economy and that business schools have a useful role to play in developing the leadership, managerial and entrepreneurial capacity of a country. “Leading business schools are embedded in the business community in which they operate. This applied approach lies at the heart of all professional disciplines such as medicine, engineering, law and business,” he said.

“Where they’ve done well, business schools have ­partnered with business and ensured their growth through improved skills,” Binedell said.

The modular format of the Gibs MBA forces students to connect what they encounter in the ­programme with what they are facing in management positions. Jonathan Cook, senior lecturer at Gibs, said: “We also believe that for South Africans to create competitive organisations, they must have an appreciation of the speed at which business is moving globally. For this reason, we have made the global elective compulsory, when MBA students have to study either the economy of the United States or that of the East.”

Gibs is also focusing on the personal development of students. “We want our business leaders to develop deeper self insight at this early stage of their careers and lay the foundation for effective leadership as their careers develop,” said Cook.

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