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  • Many consider an MBA to be one of the world's foremost postgraduate degrees.
  • Suitably, there are several businesses schools in South Africa that offer these courses to students.
  • The cheapest MBAs in South Africa start at around R100,00, but can easily exceed R300,000.
  • For more stories visit Business Insider South Africa.

South Africa is not short of local Master of Business Administration (MBA) options. There are currently more than a dozen institutions here that offer various MBA programmes - and three, from the universities of Cape Town, Pretoria, and Stellenbosch, consistently rank among the top in 150 in the world.

Not all MBAs are considered equal, though. And, accordingly, not all are priced equally, either. 

The options, credibility, duration, and prices vary between organisations - in some cases significantly. The cheapest MBAs in South Africa typically start around the R100,000 mark - but these rise up higher than R300,000 or more, particularly in cases where international travel is either optional or a required component. This is how some of South Africa’s leading business school MBAs stack up.

Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria

GIBS says its MBA programme is “ideal for those who are keen to start their own business, or the general manager who is looking to gain a deeper and all-rounded understanding of business to become a more effective manager”. 

The school, which runs through the University of Pretoria, regularly ranks among the best in South Africa - in May this year, the UK Financial Times Executive Education rankings placed it 60th in the world, and top in the country.

Total Fees:

Basic tuition fees for GIBS are R317,790 - excluding their compulsory Global Module. 

The Global Module ranges between $2,700 and $7,230 US. Using the highest estimate at current exchange rates, this puts the GIBS tuition fee at R443,192.

Henley Business School

Henley Business School claims to offer a holistic learning system, and according to its documentation, its MBA is the only international business school accredited course of its kind in South Africa.

This, the school says, means “you get recognised wherever you are in the world, ensuring your global future”.

Total Fees:

Fees for Henley Business School’s MBA in 2021 are R316,905 - with discounts available for early and upfront payments.

IIE MSA

The Independent Institute of Education bought the Monash University campus in 2019 and rebranded it to IIE MSA. The organisation’s vision is to “contribute to the development of societies and enabling students to achieve their full potential.” According to its website, it has over two decades of educational excellence”, and they offer a wide range of courses across various departments.

Total Fees:

An upfront settlement cost of R150,000.

Johannesburg Business School, University of Johannesburg

The University of Johannesburg offers an MBA programme through its Johannesburg Business School. It claims to be the newest business school in the city, and says it’s “well placed to promote collaborative learning and industry insights through our strong relationships with business leaders and entrepreneurs in Johannesburg and throughout the continent”.

Total Fees:

Fees for 2021 have not yet been finalised, but are estimated to be R 215,000. There is an optional international study tour elective as well, which costs between $2 500 to $5 500. 

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”.

It also positions itself as one of the more affordable and accessible MBA programmes in South Africa - which is borne out in its lower than typical fees.

Total Fees:

Its MBA programme runs over two years and year one and two combined, and paid in cash on registration at the start of each year, costs R99,850.

Milpark Business School

Milpark Education was founded in 1997, and it claims to be one of the first higher management education providers in South Africa. Among many other degrees and diplomas, the school offers an MBA that it considers its flagship qualification. It received AMBA accreditation in 2018, and according to its website its MBA curriculum consists of “a purposefully selected blend of modules that ensure the development of managers skilled in the areas of social responsibility, the environment and corporate citizenship”.

Total Fees:

Milpark offers both contact and online options, which attract different fees. It’s in-person course currently costs R236,300.

Nelson Mandela University Business School

NMU’s Business School offers an internationally accredited MBA that it says “is built on the cornerstone of leadership development”. The university says its MBA is for “self-motivated professionals and requires energy, creativity, honest self-reflection, self-awareness and self-discipline”.

Total Fees:

Estimated MBA fees - split over two years and subject to a 10% increase in year two - amount to R113,834. This excludes a seemingly optional international field trip that costs R50,000 for those selected to participate.

NWU Business School

North-West University offers an MBA through the NWU School of Business & Governance. It’s a degree that is accredited by the Higher Education Quality Council in South Africa, and internationally by AMBA in the United Kingdom, and the AABS in Africa.

According to the NWU website, the faculty of the NWU Business School is “focused on combining theory and practice, in order to fully develop the strategic leadership potential of business managers. The programme content and standard of the NWU Business School’s MBA ensures that participants acquire skills with regard to best business practice and thought-leadership that can successfully be applied to the multi- disciplinary challenges encountered.”

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 on 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 internationally accredited through the Association of MBAs.

Total Fees:

The fees for 2021 have not yet been released, but the university says part-time students should budget for R181,000 split over three years; while full-time students can expect to pay R172,500 for the two-year course.

University of Free State Business School

The UFS Business School offers several business-related courses, of which their MBA is the flagship degree. They have accreditation from the Council for Higher Education, and the Central and East European Management Development Association International Accreditation. It’s also a member of AMBA.

Total Fees:

UFS charges a selection fee of R2,200, and a registration fee of R1,160. Thereafter, the course is charged on a per-module basis. Per module, their five credit module costs R6,500; their 10 or 8 credit module is R8,000.

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, and 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 achieved the highest position of all South African business schools in the latest QS rankings.

Total Fees:

A full time MBA at UCT’s Graduate School of Business costs R271,640, with an acceptance fee of R25,000.

University of KwaZulu-Natal Graduate School of Business and Leadership

The Graduate School of Business and Leadership at UKZN claims it has “an established track record in providing management education and training to business and public sectors. Based on both high-quality scientific research and intensive corporate relations, we give our students up-to-date education that combines extensive theoretical studies with experience of real business life”. 

According to its enrolment brochure, “in keeping with most other accredited business schools in South Africa, the GSB&L is a Full Member of the Association of African Business Schools and a Member of the South African Business Schools Association. Our MBA programme is internationally recognised and accredited by the Council on Higher Education of South Africa”.

Total Fees:

Including all registration fees, levies, and tuition over two years, an MBA at UKZN costs R156,190.

University of South Africa Graduate School of Business Leadership

UNISA offers an MBA programme to learners - a postgraduate 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:

A UNISA MBA costs R187,793 - 50% of which is due on registration.

University of Stellenbosch Business School

USB offers another popular and decorated MBA degree. It’s triple accredited and, according to their website, “has been designed to turn managers, professionals, specialists and entrepreneurs into responsible leaders, exceptional decision makers, strategic thinkers, effective communicators and stewards of society”.

USB was recently rated among the top 150 business schools in the world, and the third-best in South Africa, by QS.

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

Total Fees:

The combined fees of both years is currently R278,480.

Wits Business School

The WBS offers a full MBA, that is the school's flagship academic programme. 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 course runs over two years, part time, and focuses around five themes: Context in Africa, Context in South Africa, Sustainability, Entrepreneurial Action, and Critical Engagement.

Total Fees:

In 2020, an MBA through the Wits Business School cost R249,920.

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