The full-time MBA programme at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (GSB) has been ranked 76th in the latest Financial Times (FT) of London's Global MBA Top 100 - released today - beating Washington University, Brigham Young, Melbourne Business School and the University of British Columbia, among others.
This year, a record 159 schools participated in the rankings with a number of Chinese and US schools entering the top 100.
The result represents a continued victory for the GSB. For more than a decade the school has been the only African school and one of only a handful of emerging market business schools to place in the rankings. GSB director Walter Baets said that the achievement comes against a backdrop of increasingly competitive markets.
"It is rewarding to see that we are still being acknowledged as a school that is maintaining its edge in this hard market."
"Demands are constantly shifting, and it is a challenging tightrope walk to maintain local relevance while also ensuring global competitiveness. Achieving success in this arena requires constant attention to detail and a degree of responsiveness to what people really need from a business school," Baets said.
He added that as one of the oldest business schools in South Africa - the GSB celebrates its 50th anniversary this year - the school has an important role to play in setting high standards. But he cautioned that the quest for international consequence is set to become more challenging for South African business schools in the years to come.
A weak economy, political instability and an unpredictable studying environment will play a role in future rankings, Baets believes.
"In the current debate on higher education, a key future challenge will be to keep up a quality of education that compares favourably to international standards," he said.
GSB spokesperson Saskia Hickey said the school's graduates remained sought-after employees even in the current tough economic climate, with the rankings indicating that the majority of GSB MBA graduates were employed at three months after graduation. The GSB MBA was also ranked as being the eighth-best value for money programme in the world and 26th for career progress.
The FT rankings are globally recognised as the pre-eminent benchmark for business schools, and Hickey said the ranking has important implications for all the school's customers - students and companies - who want to know that the business school they select has international recognition.
This is the twelfth consecutive year that the GSB has been listed. The school is also one of just 73 business schools worldwide to be triple-crown accredited, with accreditation from the European Foundation for Management Development (EQUIS); the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); and The Association of MBAs (AMBA).
At the top of the Financial Times Top 100 were Insead in first place, Harvard in second place, and London Business School in third place.