South Africa’s top-ranked executive MBAs

The University of Cape Town GSB and the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) have been ranked among the top institutions globally in the world by the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Executive MBA Ranking 2021.

Out of 176 EMBA accredited programmes from around the world, these tertiary offerings ranked inside the top 30% globally – placing 51st and 52nd, respectively.

The University of Stellenbosch Business School placed outside the top 151 courses.

The rankings are open to business schools that have AACSB, AMBA, or EQUIS accreditation. The ranking methodology considers five metrics: including Employer Reputation, Thought Leadership, Executive Profile, Career Outcomes, and Diversity.

HEC Paris ranked as the top institution in 2021, rising from third place last year. Penn (Wharton) in Philadelphia (PA), San Francisco, slipped down one position from 2020, to rank second, followed by Spain’s IESE Business School, which was in second place before.  

MIT (Sloan) retained its spot in fourth place, and Oxford (Said) climbed three spots from eighth to fifth. Chicago (Booth) also retained its spot in sixth place.  

INSEAD and London Business School are tied ranked seventh, with INSEAD retaining its spot and London Business School sliding two spots from fifth last year. 

ESADE Business School rose five spots from 14th last year to equal ninth this year. Berkeley (Haas) shared the equal ninth spot, Quacquarelli Symonds said.

Overall, GIBS scored 88.3 points out of 100 for Diversity, ranking among the top 4.5% globally, and the top 11.8% in the Middle East and Africa region.

“This is consistent with the recently confirmed BEE Level 3 status for GIBS. In the Career Outcomes category, GIBS received an overall score of 87.7 out of 100, putting the School in the top 8.5% globally and the top 17.6% in the Middle East and Africa region, further underscoring, the value of a GIBS MBA, the institution said in a statement on Wednesday (23 June).

Dr Morris Mthombeni, interim dean of GIBS, said: “At GIBS we strive to make businesses healthier, enabling them to not only survive tough times such as the world is currently experiencing, but also to thrive. This ethos reflects in our MBA programme, which is one of the reasons it is well respected by students and employers alike.”

“The programme not only offers participants a deep and all-round understanding of business influenced by a global perspective and local understanding, it also develops highly e­ffective leaders. GIBS MBA is particularly tailored to business in an African and dynamic global market context,” it said.

Tuition fees for the three local institutions range between R350,000 and R400,000 over two years.


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South Africa’s top-ranked executive MBAs