UCT GSB
UCT's Graduate School of Business in Cape Town.
  • MBAs are popular degrees around the world.
  • South Africa is no different - and there are more than a dozen local MBA options.
  • The cost of these range from R150,000 to R500,000 for the full degree, depending on the business school, international travel component, and nature of the course.
  • This is significantly less than top international MBAs, which can cost millions.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Globally there are thousands of Master of Business Administration (MBA) options to consider - and it remains one of the world's more popular and highest paying post-graduate business degrees. 

MBAs are also common in South Africa - at least 15 respected local institutions offer the programme in various formats and a range of prices. However, not all MBAs are equal, nor are they priced as such, which means choosing which one to attend isn't a straightforward matter.

If it's global clout you're after, there are a handful of clear local standouts - at least according to international higher education analyst Quacquarelli Symonds. 

QS World University Rankings consistently ranks MBA options by the University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business, University of Pretoria's Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Stellenbosch Business School, and Wits Business School on their global list of top schools. For a list topped by Stanford, Harvard, Penn, HEC, MIT, and London Business School, a mention here is an impressive achievement. 

An MBA at a local institution is also dramatically cheaper than at those abroad.

A first-year MBA student at Stanford Business School, for example, will pay at least R2 million to attend classes and live on campus. Students at Harvard pay roughly the same. And that's if you can even get in - Harvard received 9,304 applications for its full-time MBA programme in 2020 and only accepted 859 of them.

In South Africa, admission criteria and fees are a lot more realistic. Although not exactly cheap by local standards, it's possible to pick up an MBA for anything from R100,000 to R300,000 or more, depending on which school you choose to attend. 

Here's how the various options stack up for the 2022 academic year.

Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria

The University of Pretoria's Gordon Institute of Business Science, more commonly known as GIBS, is located in the Johannesburg suburb of Illovo. The school offers a variety of business courses, but its MBA programme consistently ranks as one of South Africa's best. In 2021, it moved up to 52nd on QS's rankings, placing it in the top third globally.

According to GIBS, their MBA course "is focused on providing a broad view to business and its role in society". They also offer five streams to focus on - General Management, Entrepreneurship, Consulting, Manufacturing, and Health.

The school currently has a hybrid online and in-person based model, but assumes that 2022 will see a return to classroom-based learning.

Total Fees:

Total MBA tuition fees for GIBS in 2022 are R348 933 for two years, excluding a compulsory Global Module. This is a R31,000 increase from last year.

The Global Module ranges between R40,000 and R108,000. This puts the total GIBS tuition fee at R456 933.

Henley Business School

Henley Business School is in the Johannesburg suburb of Paulshof. The school has a strong international component, with 15 international offices and campuses, and an internationally accredited MBA programme.

Henley Business School says it offers a holistic learning system that "blends theory with practice".

Total Fees:

Total MBA tuition fees for Henley Business School in 2022 are R335,900, with discounts available for early and upfront payments and service fees for staged payments. This is a R18,994 increase from last year.

IIE MSA

The Independent Institute of Education bought the Monash University campus in 2019 and rebranded it to IIE MSA. 

The organisation offers several courses and degrees, including an MBA programme which they describe as having a "'use it now’ approach". They say this is to "enable students to apply all learnings immediately in their place of work".

Total Fees:

Total MBA tuition fees at IIE MSA in 2022 are R277,913, with discounts available on early and upfront payments.

Johannesburg Business School, University of Johannesburg

The Johannesburg Business School (JBS) at the University of Johannesburg offers several academic programmes, including an MBA programme. 

JBS is one of the newer business schools in the country, and it says its MBA programme "will challenge and hone your critical thinking, creativity, social and digital intelligence, and cross-cultural competencies".

Total Fees:

Total MBA tuition fees at JBS for 2022 are R215,000, billed over two years. An optional study tour costs between R37,500 and R82,500.

Management College of Southern Africa

Management College of Southern Africa, better known as MANCOSA, offers various business-related courses - including an MBA. The business school says its MBA allows participants to "gain in-depth understanding of the forces shaping business developments in dynamic markets."

The two-year MBA available from MANCOSA is one of the cheapest MBA options currently available in South Africa.

Total Fees:

Total MBA tuition fees at MANCOSA for 2022 are R122 580, billed over two years with discounts available for upfront and cash payments.

Milpark Business School

Milpark Education claims to be one of the first higher management education providers in South Africa. The school offers an MBA that it considers its flagship qualification, which "empowers future leaders to pursue ethical and sustainable business practices informed by the sustainable development goals". It is Association of MBAs accredited for both its contact and online distance learning programmes.

Total Fees:

Total MBA tuition fees at Milpark Business School for 2022 are R275,150, representing an increase of R38,850.

Nelson Mandela University Business School

Nelson Mandela University Business School offers a range of business degrees and diplomas, with an MBA serving as its flagship offering. NMU says its MBA "is for self-motivated professionals and requires energy, creativity, honest self-reflection, self-awareness and self-discipline."

Total Fees:

Total MBA tuition fees at NMU Business School for 2022 are R201,230, split over two years. This excludes an optional international field trip for those selected, which costs R50 000.

North West University Business School

North-West University offers an MBA through the NWU Business School. It's a degree accredited by the Higher Education Quality Council in South Africa and internationally by AMBA and AABS.

NWU says its MBA graduates "will walk away with real-world skills, international accreditation and pioneering research."

Total Fees:

NWU does not disclose its fees in its MBA manifesto and instead encourages prospective students to contact them for a quote.

Rhodes Business School

Rhodes University offers a fully accredited MBA through its Rhodes Business School. 

Its MBA is accredited by the Council for Higher Education, and the school is a member of the South African Business Schools Association and African Association of Business Schools. Their MBA programme is also accredited through the Association of MBAs.

According to the school, its "MBA is designed to equip practising and potential managers to assist in the creation, development and leadership of successful organisations in a competitive business environment".

Total Fees:

Total MBA tuition fees at Rhodes Business School for 2022 are R178,000, split over two years. A three-year part-time option costs R182,000.

University of Free State Business School

The University of Free State offers an MBA programme through its UFS Business School. They have accreditation from the Council for Higher Education and the Central and East European Management Development Association International Accreditation. They're also a member of AMBA.

UFS says its MBA course "enhances and develops managers and leaders, broadly covering all aspects and challenges which managers and leaders might face in today's ever-changing business environment".

Total Fees:

Total MBA tuition fees at UFS Business School for 2022 are roughly R181,000 split over two years, depending on the number of modules and annual increase.

University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business

The UCT Graduate School of Business runs one of the most popular and high-ranking MBAs in South Africa. They are affiliated with the European Foundation for Management Development, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and the Association of MBAs. 

According to their website, their "teaching, learning and research is directed towards building a more economically prosperous, equitable and integrated continent. The school is constantly investing in quality scholarship and strong partnerships to support these aims."

The GSB is the only school in Africa to make the Financial Times 2021 MBA ranking.

Total Fees:

Total MBA tuition fees at UCT's Graduate School of Business for 2022 are R271 640, with an acceptance fee of R25,000 and an application fee of R1,850.

University of KwaZulu-Natal Graduate School of Business and Leadership

The Graduate School of Business and Leadership at UKZN offers several business-related courses and degrees, including an MBA programme.

UKZN says their MBA "requires a high level of theoretical engagement and intellectual independence. It also demands a demonstration of the ability to relate knowledge to resolving complex problems in appropriate areas of professional practice".

Total Fees:

Total MBA tuition fees at UKZN Graduate School of Business and Leadership for 2022 are R156,190, split over two years.

University of South Africa Graduate School of Business Leadership

UNISA offers an MBA programme to students - a post-graduate degree that it says "is structured to turn a manager into a holistic leader capable of steering an organisation and its people to success." 

Total Fees:

Total MBA tuition fees at UNISA for 2022 are R200,970, split over two years, and total registration fees of R87,005. This is a R13,177 increase from last year.

University of Stellenbosch Business School

University of Stellenbosch Business School offers another popular and decorated MBA degree. According to their website, it's triple-accredited. It is "designed to turn managers, professionals, specialists and entrepreneurs into responsible leaders, exceptional decision makers, strategic thinkers, effective communicators and stewards of society".

The MBA course there runs over two years, is in a flexible modular format, and has four different streams.

Total Fees:

Total MBA tuition fees at USB for 2022 are R293,380, split over two years. This is a R14,900 increase from last year. This excludes a compulsory international study module that costs R103,755, bringing the total amount to R397,135.

Wits Business School

The MBA is Wits Business School's flagship offering. According to their website, "the curriculum uses a combination of cutting-edge theory and guided practical application to develop the skills you need to be a great manager or leader in Africa and globally."

The part-time course runs over two years and focuses on five themes: Context in Africa, Context in South Africa, Sustainability, Entrepreneurial Action, and Critical Engagement.

Total Fees:

Total MBA tuition fees at WBS for 2022 are R251,010.

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