REGISTERING for her MBA at Wits Business School was a dream realised for Maggie Ditabane but that dream would turn to a nightmare only a month later.
The Wits Business School has set aside R 2 million in scholarships for MBA students from across Africa who are in financial need.
With the conversation surrounding #Access still hot on the lips of students and staff, the Wits Business School (WBS) announced that the institution will be giving nine exceptional candidates scholarships for the 2016 academic year.
“The selection process is straight forward, we look at the candidate’s financial need, academic merit and career progression to see how they have done in the working environment. Candidates are required to submit a motivational video stating why they want to study and what they propose to do with the qualification,” said Conrad Viedge, MBA programme director at WBS.
The proposed MBA scholarships valued at over R2-million will be available to both full and part time MBA programme applicants from across Africa.
“The bursary is sponsored through the university with money sourced from our third stream income,” said Viedge.
There are different types of scholarships available: Full scholarships which cover the full tuition, textbooks, living allowance and an international study tour. The partial scholarship insures a sizable contribution towards tuition fees while merit scholarships provide for a smaller portion of the MBA tuition fees.
Before applying for the bursary, applicants must first be accepted into the MBA programme. Candidates will then be notified on the progress of their funding request.
In a statement Prof. Steve Bluen, head of the Wits Business School, said “One of our four pillars of excellence here at WBS is character excellence. Through this, WBS aims to graduate leaders that strive for inclusivity and sustainability and are driven by a desire to make a difference. But as a school we lead by example and the scholarship programme is just one instance of this in action.”
Applications for the first term of 2016 are currently closed but you can still check the WBS website for announcements regarding scholarships for the June 2016 MBA intake.
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.
- Wits Vuvuzela: MBA loses cred. July 26, 2013
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.