Presented by Wits Business School

The need for contextually relevant executive education

The business environment is constantly evolving as it navigates broader socio-political change, and often difficult economic conditions.

To successfully manage such complexities, many business leaders are challenged not only to hone their own leadership skills, but to ensure they are providing skills development in their organisations that are in line with changing market needs.

It is for this reason that executive education has an important role to play in both leadership development and management training; and educators have a responsibility to ensure that they are truly meeting the needs of their clients, whether individuals or companies.

Wits Business School’s (WBS) Executive Education, which was ranked no.1 globally for repeat business and growth in 2016 by the UK Financial Times, offers a variety of open courses (targeted at all levels of management) as well as in-company programmes that provide customised learning that addresses the client’s fundamental business needs and overall strategy.

Lamese Abrahams, Deputy Director of Executive Education at WBS, explains the School’s different offerings: “Our open programmes (‘off-the-shelf’ short courses) provide accelerated learning for an individual wanting to grow in a certain area critical to their role. For companies, our customised programmes are co-designed to address organisational growth and complexity challenges.”

The School believes that the evolving business world of the 21st century, particularly in the context of emerging markets in the fourth industrial revolution, requires a new relationship between educators and organisations – one based on collaboration and a shared vision.

“We put emphasis on the co-design concept, meaning that we create programmes in close consultation with our clients, which entails an in-depth diagnosis and needs analysis,” says Abrahams.

“Our programmes are also designed around a Return on Investment (ROI) discussion, meaning that the programmes are considered more of an investment in the individuals and organisation involved, rather than a cost.”

WBS, which celebrates its 50th birthday in 2018, is proud of its long-standing reputation for academic and teaching excellence.

Apart from the highly qualified full-time faculty (most of whom have PhDs), students also benefit from the many visiting lecturers who bring their practical business expertise and experience to the classroom.

Top of the School’s agenda, in both academic and executive education offerings, is to ensure that teaching material is contextually relevant and underpinned by rigorous emerging market research.

This is based on the premise that, while Africa has some of the fastest growing economies in the world, it lacks skilled managers to effectively oversee the growth and development of these economies.

“There is a dire need for quality management education both in South Africa and beyond our borders. But If we are to produce a new generation of business leaders who are equipped to do business in Africa, academic programme directors need to understand that business education is a continuous process of interrogating and shaping our curricula, so that we remain relevant to business challenges specific to Africa,” says Abrahams.

For more information, visit the WBS website.

This article was published in partnership with Wits Business School.

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The need for contextually relevant executive education