THE WITS Business School (WBS) denies claims that its MBA degree is in danger of losing international accreditation.
Last week, Wits Vuvuzela reported claims that there were less than 14 students in the full-time MBA class, below the required 20 needed to maintain its accreditation with the Association of MBAs (Amba).
WBS communications manager, Jackie Mapiloko, denied this and said there were 15 people in the class and there was no threat to the accreditation.
Mapiloko said the intake of students in 2013 was 107, including those in the full-time class.[pullquote align=”right”]“Even where one intake in a specific class has less than 20 students, Amba gives a business school an opportunity to correct that.”[/pullquote]
Mapiloko said Amba looked at more than just the number of students before a school lost accreditation.
She said it looks at the credibility of the institution as well.
“Even where one intake in a specific class has less than 20 students, Amba gives a business school an opportunity to correct that,” Mapiloko said.
“Wits has a long-standing history of being a leader in business education.
It is expected that the majority of the faculty will hold a doctorate. Nearly 80% of the faculty has PhDs,” she said.
Mapiloko said WBS had also strengthened the criteria for students who make it into the course as this was also a major part of what the Amba reviews.
Wits Vuvuzela also reported that a lecturer at WBS said problems were caused by lack of leadership.
The Financial Mail referred to a number of resignations over the past few years that may have contributed.
Mapiloko said she would not comment on the leadership prior to head of school Wendy Ngoma’s takeover and said they had faith in the current leadership at the school.
She said the curriculum for 2014 had been revamped and would provide a world-class programme for prospective students.
According to Business Day live, Ngoma said the situation had “been worsened this year by Wits Business School being included for the first time in the university’s central enrolment system”.
[pullquote]“The full-time, five-day week programme option is thus becoming less practical for prospective working students.”[/pullquote]However, Mapiloko said she did not believe administrative issues were the cause of a drop in enrolment.
She said this could be connected to the financial crisis and high demands on working people.
“There is a predominant shift in the South African market to part-time programmes.
This may be due to career management pressures, flex-ibility and the need for job security.
“The full-time, five-day week programme option is thus becoming less practical for prospective working students.”
Mapiloko said the school always looked into administrative issues when they arose. She said the report being drafted for the vice chancellor would not be made public as it was an internal matter.
THE REPUTATION of the Wits Business School (WBS) may be in danger following reports the school may lose its accreditation due to a lack of full-time MBA students.
Last week, the Financial Mail published an opinion article that said there were only 14 full-time MBA students at the school, below the required 20 needed to maintain its international accreditation with the Association of MBAs (AMBA).
The main reason cited for the drop in enrolment was blamed on Wits taking over administrative affairs at WBS and incorporating WBS enrolment into its central enrolment system.
However, the problem of poor enrolment may even be worse than first reported.
[pullquote]”As far as I am concerned, there are even fewer people in that class. The article said 14, I know there are less.”[/pullquote]”As far as I am concerned, there are even fewer people in that class. The article said 14, I know there are less,” said Rabelani Dagada, a lecturer at WBS.
“I do not agree that these issues can be attributed to administrative issues. I don’t buy that at all. This is a matter of leadership. If you are a good business school, you are a good business school. People will know,” Dagada said.
Wits Vuvuzela approached WBS head of school Wendy Ngoma for comment but did not receive a response before going to press.
Luzuko Ndzuta, a full-time MBA student who spoke to Wits Vuvuzela, agreed that the WBS administration being taken over by the main Wits administration may have contributed to the fall in applications.
“The administration is pathetic, I mean lecturers joke about it but I mean it’s a serious problem and if you have been a Witsie for quite some time you will know that this did not start now. It has been a matter for years,” Ndzuta said.
Other students however, said the reports that the MBA was at risk of losing its accreditation were taken out of context and “premature”.
[pullquote align=”right”]It’s put out of perspective, there is no chance of the school losing its accreditation.”[/pullquote]
“It’s put out of perspective, there is no chance of the school losing its accreditation,” full-time MBA student Herina Vlachos said.
Lynneth Petersen, a fellow classmate said it was important that people know there are three MBA classes at WBS and that the two part-time classes have about 50 or more students each.
“That was a very important fact that those articles left out,” Petersen said.
“They [the media] saw a gap, and they exploited it,” said Vlachos.
According to the guidelines given by AMBA, each MBA class must have a minimum of 20 students in order to achieve: “adequate group interaction”.
Petersen said regardless of the small class size she had no doubt in the education they were receiving.
Although some students said they were not worried about their qualification, Ndzuta said the controversy was damaging to the reputation of the degree.
[pullquote]“As a prospective student, when you have to go out and start looking for a job, this is not good for your confidence if your degree is in question.”[/pullquote]
Ndzuta said businesses look for “reputable brands” and would not care about reasons for the problems.
“The end market doesn’t look at those nitty gritties, they look at the headlines,” said Ndzuta.