These South African executive MBAs are listed among the best in the world – here’s how much graduates earn

Three South African business schools have been ranked among the top 150 in the world, in the latest QS Global Executive MBA Rankings for 2020.

According QS, the rankings are compiled by combining input from thought leaders in business and management alongside the perceptions of global employers who recruit from the world’s best EMBA programs.

This is further enhanced by program-specific indicators.

The results bring together over 150 schools and programs, each of which were surveyed between December 2019 and February 2020. A total of 161 programs were ranked, 20 of which are joint EMBA programs, it said.

In order for a school to be eligible, two preconditions must be met:

  • Schools must have at least one graduating class.
  • Schools must have either AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS or EPAS accreditation.

The methodology looks at the QS Employer Survey and Academic Surveys, which account for 30% and 25 % of the ranking weight, respectively.

Executive Profile, which includes average years’ work experience, managerial experience, and c-suite experience make up 15% of the ranking weight.

Career Outcomes make up 20% of the ranking weight, which includes salary uplift within a year of graduation, as well as the percentage of students who were promoted within a year of graduation.

The remaining 10% of the ranking weight is Diversity of class, which includes both the representation levels of women and number of nationalities among a program’s students.

South African MBAs

Three South African universities made the cut for the 2020 ranking.

The University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business tops the local ranking, placing 45th overall. This is followed by the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gibs), ranking 53rd overall, and the University of Stellenbosch’s Business School, placing outside the top 100.


University of Cape Town GSB

The UCT GSB  is an applied master programme aimed at senior and executive managers who have proven themselves in the business world and would like to enhance their abilities to respond effectively to change and conjure new solutions to old challenges.

  • Global rank: 45
  • Duration: 24 months
  • Cost: $50,000 – $60,000 (R850,000 – R1.02 million)
  • Accreditation: AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS
  • Class size: 70
  • Average work experience: 18 years
  • Average salary (post 3 months): $190,000 (R3.2 million)

University of Pretoria GIBS

The GIBS MBA degree is targeted at individuals who are self-driven, highly motivated and entrepreneurial-minded.

The MBA programme is ideal for those who are keen to start their own business, or the general manager who is looking to gain a deeper and all-rounded understanding of business to become a more effective manager, the school said.

  • Global rank: 53
  • Duration: 24 months
  • Cost: $20,000 – $30,000 (R340,000 – R510,000)
  • Accreditation: AACSB, AMBA
  • Class size: 335
  • Average work experience: 12 years
  • Average salary (post 3 months): $89,505 (R1.5 million)

University of Stellenbosch BS

USB offers a short-block Modular MBA (various one-week blocks spread over two years) aimed at those who want to study while they work.

This allows students to start implementing their newly acquired skills at their place of work right from the start. This format therefore offers flexibility for those who work full-time.

Modular students will be able to complete their class programme and research assignment within two years, the school said.

  • Global rank: 101+
  • Duration: 18 months
  • Cost: $20,000 – $25,000 (R350,000 – R420,000)
  • Accreditation: AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS
  • Class size: 206
  • Average work experience: 10 years
  • Average salary (post 3 months): $32,000 (R545,000)

Global MBAs

According to the QS ranking, Penn (Wharton) in the US has retained its top spot for its world-leading MBA for Executives program.

Following Penn, Spain’s IESE Business School took the second spot, rising two ranks from its fourth position in the 2019 rankings.

In third position, HEC Paris also rose two ranks, coming fifth in last year’s rankings.

MIT (Sloan) in the US unfortunately saw its position drop two places, from second last year to fourth in 2020.

Finally, rounding out the top five is London Business School, which dropped two places from third last year.

Among the top universities, the cost of the courses vary, but range from $80,000 at HEC Paris, to over $120,000 at places like UCLA and London Business School.

In terms of average salaries (post 3 months), this also ranges from $190,000 at Penn, to $300,000 at HEC Paris.

The full top 10 list for the QS EMBA Rankings 2020 are as follows:

  1. Penn (Wharton)
  2. IESE Business School
  3. HEC Paris
  4. MIT (Sloan)
  5. London Business School
  6. Chicago (Booth)
  7. INSEAD
  8. Oxford (Said)
  9. UCLA (Anderson)
  10. Berkeley (Haas)

Read: Only one South African university climbed the latest global ranking

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These South African executive MBAs are listed among the best in the world – here’s how much graduates earn