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Top-ranked executive schools

See which executive schools in SA made the FT’s worldwide list.

JOHANNESBURG – In the latest 2013 Financial Times (FT) Executive Education rankings, academic institutions that offer executive programmes in South Africa have a good showing among the top 70 providers considered worldwide.

The FT rankings included two categories: customised programmes and open enrolment. The former assesses programmes developed by educational institutions for individual companies. In this category the FT looked at a number of criteria such as teaching methods and materials, new skills and learning, value for money and faculty diversity.

One educational institution that scored tops across the board in this category is Duke Corporate Education (DCE) located in the US, UK, India and South Africa. This is the eleventh year that DCE has topped the list, and according to the Financial Times its strong international exposure has been one of its keys to success. Even though its Africa regional office is located in South Africa, DCE provides programmes to 15 African countries.

Sharmla Chetty, DCE regional managing director for Africa told Moneyweb that DCE has been in South Africa for seven years and services both the public and private sectors. An alternative approach to education, such as learning outside the classroom and not only relying on academically-trained instructors but also including ex-CEOs and experienced individuals, make its programme offerings unique, says Chetty. DCE offers programmes across the board, from the top executives to the front line supervisors.

The other executive programmes that performed well in the customised programme providers category were HEC Paris in second position, followed by Iese Business School, (New York and Barcelona), Esade Business School (Barcelona) and the Centre for Creative Leadership (Brussels).

In the same category, the Gordon School of Business Science (Gibs) dropped ten positions on the rankings, moving from number 42nd in 2012 to 52nd in 2013. However, it is ranked ahead of Stellenbosch University’s (USB) executive development programme (ranked at 64th) as well as the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) (ranked at 65th).

Gibs scores for open enrolment

However, when it comes to executive education, it seems not everyone is rushing to get an MBA. Whilst companies are seeking out tailored executive education courses from academic institutions individuals are opting for shorter and more affordable open programmes.

In the open programme category, The International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland, came out tops, with Iese Business School ranked 2nd, and the Thunderbird School of Global Management (Arizona), Harvard and the University of Chicago Booth following.

Gibs is the highest ranked South African and African university in the open enrolment category. This category looks at shorter, non-degree programmes which are open to any individual. Gibs moved up four places to 43rd from 47th in 2012. USB, up six positions from last year, was ranked 56th. The Wits Business School, however, dropped seven positions – having ranked 55th in 2012, it dropped to 62nd.

The open enrolment programme category considered similar ranking criteria to the customised programmes category but also included female participation, food and accommodation, and repeat business growth. A trend that was noted by the FT was that short courses were growing in popularity. These ranged from week-long programmes to more in-depth four-week programmes.

Chetty says that there is a lot of opportunity for executive education in South Africa and Africa and a great need for building skills and capabilities on the continent. She emphasises that the war for talent is still on and uplifting Africa will require key skills.

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