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MBA South Africa
Study MBA in South Africa

University of Cape Town UCT MBA Curriculum

University of Cape Town UCT MBA Curriculum

Course designs are updated and adapted annually, therefore the topics listed for each course can be considered as a guideline of what students can expect to be covered on each course.

1. Organisations, Leadership and Values

This course seeks to introduce students to leadership theories, organisational leadership and the complexity of a number of leadership and managerial situations and to give insight into the underlying processes.  The course invites students to develop a critical attitude towards leadership theories and practices.  It aims to develop a thorough understanding of the relationships between organisations, people, and leadership.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Contextual and global considerations for leaders, leadership and organisations
  • Organisational structures, organisational culture, people in organisations
  • Various leadership theories
  • Values-based leadership
  • Organisational values
  • The dark side of leadership, toxic leadership

2. Evidence- Based Practice

The objective of this course is for students to develop the capabilities to integrate a discerning and well-informed approach to existing evidence and research into their managerial decision-making processes.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Availability, representativeness and affect heuristics
  • Confirmation bias and the halo effect
  • Anchoring, framing and mental accounting
  • Decisions under risk
  • Critical thinking
  • Cognition and cognitive closure
  • Analytical vs experiential reasoning; analytical vs holistic thinking; independent vs interdependent and dialectical self

3. Markets in Emerging Countries

The course provides an in-depth analysis of markets from various perspectives, focusing on how they differ within emerging and developing countries.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Market failures, information asymmetries and externalities in emerging countries
  • Markets in “anthropology”
  • The politics of markets: Influence of emerging political models
  • Markets and power: Exploration of different models/systems of markets in developed and emerging economies
  • Feminist economics and its interpretation of markets
  • Markets in an international context
  • Markets at the base of the pyramid

4. Business, Government and Society

During this course students will be familiarised with a variety of economic, social, environmental and political trends and developments that may impact either directly or indirectly on the strategy and operations of businesses in an emerging market economy such as South Africa. They will also be challenged to consider the role and some of the current responses of the business community to these trends.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • The complex nature of the many challenges societies face in relation to the role of the business community
  • The role of business in society
  • The role of institutions in explaining growth in emerging markets
  • Political regimes and economic growth in emerging markets
  • Identification and evaluation of successful developmental states
  • Doing business in Africa
  • Country risk assessments
  • Integrating sustainability in organisational strategy
  • The complexity of social-ecological problems
  • Cross-sector collaboration

5. Leadership and Personal Development

The course is intended to be a catalyst for personal reflection and insight into processes and concepts critical for completing the MBA successfully, as well as to provide a platform for future work and personal success.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Personal narrative and storytelling
  • Ego-states, awareness and mental models
  • Psychological archetypes and creative leadership
  • Mindfulness, becoming present and embodiment
  • Neuroscience and the brain
  • Construction of power and choice
  • Personal character
  • Self-Care and resilience
  • Team composition and leading teams

6. Economics for Business

The economy is the environment of business. Thus the purpose of the course is to outline the key principles of economics that will be of use to students in their working lives. This course is a principles course in micro and macroeconomics.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Business cycles and economic indicators
  • Macroeconomic foundations
  • Markets and prices, supply and demand
  • Monetary developments, interest rates and financial markets
  • Balance of payments and exchange rates
  • Inflation and real exchange rates
  • Government and policy

7. Accounting

The Accounting course focuses on introducing MBA students to the language of accounting and providing students with the ability to read, interpret and understand financial statements.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • The annual report, GAAP, IFRS, international developments
  • Financial analysis
  • The statement of comprehensive income
  • The statement of cash flows
  • Assets (property, plant & equipment,  investment properties, impairment, intangibles,  non-current assets held for sale, goodwill, inventories)
  • Liability (provisions, contingencies and post-balance sheet events, employee benefits)
  • Group accounting (subsidiaries, associates, joint ventures, goodwill)
  • Management accounting: CVP analysis, budgeting and cost management, financial performance measures
  • Strategic management accounting – the balanced scorecard

8. Organisational Behaviour and People Management

The OBPM course will provide an overall organisational approach to people management strategies and covers three main themes:

  1. The Individual in the organisation
  2. High performance work practice
  3. Leading and managing people

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • The organisation in context
  • The individual and the organisation
  • High performance organisations
  • High performance work practices
  • Employee participation and workplace empowerment
  • International people management, managing diversity in organisations
  • Employment equity
  • Managing organisational change
  • The attraction factor: recruitment and selection
  • Motivation and retention; coaching and mentoring
  • The challenges of leading and managing people in (South) Africa

9. Operations Management

This course aims to equip students with the ability to describe and analyse operations and to understand the key operations decision areas with respect to process, capacity, inventory, workforce, quality and measurement.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Introduction to operations and value-stream mapping
  • Operations strategy
  • Process flow analysis
  • Problem solving toolkits and product-process matrix
  • Supply chain management
  • Integrated material and production management, lean thinking
  • Operation strategies in emerging markets
  • Operations in online retail
  • Operations in service industries
  • Disruptive technologies and transformation system design
  • Operations in the health care sector
  • Operations for entrepreneurs

10. Finance

The MBA Finance course focusses on both theory and practice at a corporate and investor level. This course will enable students to develop an understanding of the practical aspects of finance.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Introduction to finance and South Africa’s financial economic history
  • Corporate Governance Theory, Integrating EESG criteria into corporate valuation
  • Role of the shareholders, board and executive management: Corporate Governance today
  • Modern portfolio theory
  • Efficient market hypothesis (EMH), Security market line (SML), Capital asset pricing model (CAPM), Behavioural finance
  • Cost of equity, cost of debt, weighted average cost of capital
  • Capital budgeting
  • Capital restructuring mergers and acquisitions (M&A), leverage, Modigliani & Miller (M&M) theorems
  • Interest, present and future values, perpetuities and annuities, bonds, shares
  • Financial forecasting, valuation of unlisted companies
  • The role of financial markets and institutions

11. Marketing

This course provides students with an overview of the marketing function and is designed to give students confidence in their ability to apply marketing theory in business practice.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Marketing and marketing planning
  • Marketing analysis: Evaluating opportunities and focusing marketing strategy
  • Consumer and organisational buyer behaviour
  • E-marketing / digital marketing
  • Product strategy
  • Distribution strategy
  • Integrated marketing communications strategies
  • Personal selling and sales management
  • Pricing strategy

12. Social Innovation Entrepreneuring

This course offers MBA students an introduction to the rapidly emerging field of social innovation. While there are many emerging perspectives on social innovation, most generally a social innovation can be understood as an intentional, positive, creative shift in systemic social-ecological patterns.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Theories and practices of social Innovation
  • Frameworks and tools for social entrepreneuring
  • Perspectives on social innovation
  • Organisational forms and purposes, hybridisation
  • Social innovation in emerging countries

13. Strategy

The course aims to introduce students to the fundamental principles and concepts of strategic management. It serves as an opportunity to develop their skills for strategic thinking and analysis. Students learn about business strategy and corporate strategy formulation relevant to the macro-environmental industry and competitive drivers facing the organisation, as well as the role that purpose, resources and capabilities play in strategy formation and action. An important aim is that the student develops rigour and confidence in their own ability to think and work in a strategic context.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Statements of strategy – business models
  • Strategy from the inside out
  • Competitive forces that shape strategy
  • Pragmatic strategy
  • The link between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility
  • Business-level and corporate-level strategy
  • Executing strategic change
  • Strategy in emerging economies
  • Strategy for turbulent times

14. Social Innovation Lab

This course emphasises the practical application of social innovation concepts in real-world contexts. It is structured as a lab that builds on the conceptual material introduced in the Social Innovation Entrepreneuring core course.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Exploring contemporary social innovation in South Africa
  • Innovating business models towards social change
  • Planning for social impact
  • Innovations in social finance
  • Action learning projects

After completion of this course, students are able to:

Develop concepts, mind sets, skills, and relationships that will enable them to engage and evolve as active social innovators throughout their careers, regardless of position or sector.

15. Business Model Innovation Lab

The Business Model Innovation Lab will provide students with the opportunity to critically explore, through the combined use of integrative and systems thinking, business models and innovation. In resonance with the broader vision of the GSB, this course uses the emerging market context as the backdrop within which to explore the intriguing developments of innovation responsive to a highly volatile, uncertain, and yet, promising economy such as South Africa.

The following topics are covered on this course:

  • Integrative thinking – the opposable mind
  • Modelling problem spaces using systems thinking
  • Systems thinking
  • Complexity and generative reasoning
  • Cross sector innovation
  • Organisational design
  • Design thinking
  • Systematic inventive thinking
  • The innovation ecosystem

16. Research Methods and Research Report

This course is delivered in two parts. The first part will assist in preparing students for the MBA research project, by training them to develop a well-reasoned, empirically rigorous argument and how to make decisions on the basis of existing evidence and research. During the second part of the course, students will take what they have learned and apply this to writing up their research topic.

After completion of phase one students will be able to:

  • Prepare an academically sound and practically relevant research proposal,
  • Undertake a research project under the guidance of a supervisor and on the basis of the proposed research, which illustrates the sound and diligent application evidence-based decision making skills, and the writing of a research report
  • Understand varying models of decision-making and how these relate to data, analysis and extant research, and applying appropriate techniques and practices
  • Modelling cause-effect relationships and considering probabilities in framing and making decisions in professional organisational practices
  • Appreciate and apply appropriate methods for measuring diverse forms of variables pertinent to organisational practices

After completion of the research report, students are able to:

  • Demonstrate their understanding of the characteristics of good business research and are able to critically assess and review research of others
  • Demonstrate their understanding of the business research process and how it can be applied to solve business problems
  • Appropriately select a research design, select data resources and data collection methods
  • Develop and complete a sound research proposal and dissertation
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