These 2 South African business schools are climbing the global rankings

A new Financial Times ranking of the best business schools for executives includes two South African institutions – Gordon Institute of Business Science at UP, and UCT Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB).

Iese Business School in Spain, and the US, was ranked as the world’s leading provider of executive education courses, followed by Duke Corporate Education, and IMD Business School, in Switzerland.

The rankings, based primarily on ratings provided by students and companies which have participated in the courses, include assessments of course design, faculty, teaching methods and facilities.

“They provide insight into the training needs from employers and executives in an increasingly diverse and competitive market. Unicon, a network of over 100 business schools offering executive education around the world, estimates that its members alone generate $2bn in annual fees, which has been growing by about six per cent annually in the past few years,” FT said.

Gordon Institute of Business Science at University of Pretoria (UP), was ranked top institution in South Africa, 45th overall. UCT GSB was ranked 51 for its customised programmes. While both schools improved their rankings from 2018, the latter climbed 16 places in 2019.

Both institutions placed well in the global rankings when it comes to value for money.

According to the ranking, GIBS stood out when it came to criterion such as:

  • ‘Growth’ which looked at revenue growth for both custom and open programmes as well as repeat business, where the school ranked 5th and 13th respectively;
  • With regards to the ‘Future use’ criterion, GIBS was ranked 26th in the world with clients saying they were highly likely to reuse the school for other customised programmes in the future;
  • GIBS’ commitment to diversity: The ranking highlights that 50% of open programme participants are women, and this has placed the school 19th in the world with regards to ‘female representation’;
  • When it came to ‘faculty’ which looked at the quality of teaching, GIBS scored the near median of 37 out of 80 schools under open programmes; and
  • In custom programmes, the school ranked 13th for ‘partner schools’ where some of components of the teachings were delivered in conjunction with other Equis and ACCSB accredited business schools. The school has partnered with schools such as Harvard Business School, giving delegates a holistic perspective of the global landscape.

GIBS Business school survey

School 2019 Rank 2018 Rank
International clients 62 71
Overseas programmes 37 43
Growth 5 66
Partner schools 13 24
Faculty diversity 72 77

“GSB was ranked top in Africa in terms of faculty diversity, meaning that its faculty is gender representative and draws on a rich mix of nationalities. It also scored in the top 50 worldwide in terms of value for money and future use – the likelihood that clients will use the school again,” it said.

“In recent years we have worked hard to strengthen our offering and facilities – including opening a state-of-the-art training facility in Sandton, Johannesburg, to expand our footprint and bring us closer to our clients in that region and on the rest of the African continent,” said Kumeshnee West, director of executive education at the UCT GSB.

UCT Business school survey

School 2019 Rank 2018 Rank
International clients 62 46
Overseas programmes 53 73
Growth 24 70
Partner schools 52 56
Faculty diversity 40 36

To participate in the annual Financial Times ranking, schools must be internationally accredited by either Equis or AACSB and have earned revenues of $2 million during the preceding financial year.


Overall ranking

2019 2018 School Country
1 1 Iese Business School Spain / US
2 2 Duke Corporate Education US / UK / Africa / Asia
3 3 IMD Business School Switzerland
4 7 SDA Bocconi Italy
5 12 Essec Business School France
6 5 HEC Paris France
7 4 London Business School UK
8 14 Fundação Dom Cabral Brazil
9 10 University of North Carolina: Kenan-Flagler US
10 27 Edhec Business School France
45 51 Gordon Institute of Business Science at UP South Africa
51 67 UCT Graduate School of Business South Africa

Read: MBA graduates are doubling their salaries – these are the top business schools in the world

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These 2 South African business schools are climbing the global rankings