Africa's top business school, the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) has been awarded a place on the Top 40 2015 Corporate Knights Better World MBA Ranking - making it the only business school on the continent to achieve this status.
Corporate Knights is a media, research and financial information organisation based in Toronto, Canada, and focuses on promoting an economic system with strong social development ties.
The organisation's Toby Heaps confirmed that the GSB was among some of the world's top business schools identified for its socially and environmentally aware MBA programme. In first place - the York University Schulich School of Business and others in the Top 10 include the MIT Sloan School of Management and Harvard Business School.
Heaps says the ranking rates business schools on their track record in business sustainability education and the list includes some of the world's most prestigious schools, along with the 100 schools ranked in the 2015 Financial Times Global MBA ranking.
GSB director, professor Water Baets says the business school is delighted by the announcement.
"International rankings like the 2015 Corporate Knights Better World MBA Ranking show that our MBA programme is not only comparable with what is being offered in the rest of the world but is one of the finest business education programmes available," Baets says.
The GSB is one of three business schools in Africa to receive triple-crown accreditation from the AMBA (Association of MBAs); EQUIS (from the European Foundation of Management Education); and AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools), and the only business school on the continent ranked in the Financial Times Full-Time Top 100 for its full-time MBA programme. It's the 12th consecutive year that the programme has been listed.
According to Baets, the 2016 GSB MBA curriculum will also be the first in the world to incorporate social innovation as a core subject. "The GSB is trying to establish a bigger African focus, not only in its curriculum and faculty but in its models of education as well. It is setting out to become the premier thought leadership centre for emerging market business thinking - not merely copying the traditional Western executive education approaches. Achieving sustainable growth in a world of constrained resources and economic instability is one of Africa's biggest challenges and the GSB wants to help the continent's future business leaders to find innovative solutions," he says.
The 2015 Corporate Knights Better World MBA Ranking assessed business schools on three indicators: curriculum, institutes & centres and faculty research. Thirty percent of the school's final score was derived from the total number of relevant publications authored or co-authored per faculty member.
Corporate Knights' media and research division includes the award-winning business and society magazine Corporate Knights and a research division that produces corporate rankings like the 2015 Corporate Knights Better World MBA Ranking.
The Better World MBA Ranking aims to identify which business schools teach MBAs that equip graduates best to change the world for the better.
"As the march to a more inclusive, socially, and ecologically just form of capitalism gathers steam, it is our hope that these new graduates will not only produce the highest returns for society and the planet, but they will also be handsomely rewarded by the market for doing so," says the organisation's website.
The ranking envisions a future where business leaders know how to integrate social and environmental factors into their thinking, from doing full-cost accounting and building inclusive leadership and governance structures, to engaging in ethical marketing. The ranking allows students to identify which schools are on the cutting edge of making the world a better place.
Baets says the GSB is committed to these ideas and has founded specialist centres like the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Allan Gray Centre for Values-based Leadership and the MTN Solution Space - an innovation hub at the heart of its campus.
One of the Bertha Centre's many projects includes the Philippi Village development, which aims to nurture entrepreneurs and support skills development and job creation in Philippi outside Cape Town. A joint venture between The Business Place and the Bertha Centre, Business Place Philippi offers free business support services to local businesses, and the first phase of Philippi Village - a 600sqm business hub has been approved for development.
"We are honoured to be recognised by the ranking. It acknowledges that the GSB is willing not only to talk the talk of social innovation in business education, but is actively promoting academic programmes to achieve that," he says.