EDHEC MBAs shared the privilege of experiencing South Africa

Written on 06 December 2013.

EDHEC’s 2014 MBAs with traditional South African tribal face paint

The MBA participants returned from a study trip to South Africa last week, which was undertaken in partnership with the University of Stellenbosch Business School in Capetown. The participants learned first-hand about South Africa ’s business environment and returned to campus with a new understanding of Mandela’s cherished spirit of Ubuntu.

“I think we were unusually privileged to visit the country just before this happened and see the real-world results of the changes Mandela and his counterparts brought about.”
Elizabeth De Hoff, EDHEC Global MBA 2014
This week-long study trip is the fruit of a long-term and valued relationship for EDHEC with USB in Capetown, organized by Johan Burger, who leads USB’s International Programs. The goal of the trip is to give participants an opportunity to understand South Africa’s unique social, economic, political, and business environment, as well as draw important lessons about doing business in emerging markets. Part of the BRICS group of countries Brazil, Russia, India, and China, which are home to many of the MBA participants – South Africa is the largest economy on the African continent, contributing to a quarter of the continent’s GDP.

The trip was composed of classroom-based lectures presented by USB professors and local experts, enhanced by real-case examples in a program of onsite company visits. Participants had the opportunity to gain insight from leading South African executives in firms like SABMiller, Vodaphone, Massmart, Capetown Stadium, and Backsberg winery. It also included time for Global MBA participants to gain a first-hand understanding of local culture and to better understand the social context of living, working and doing business in South Africa.

One of the highlights of the week was the focus on Social Entrepreneurship by Rhoda Kadalie, Executive Director of the Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust and Richard Lord, General Manager of Distell, and formerly Managing Director of Rothesay. These sessions were followed by an on-site visit to Fairhills Fairtrade Project and the Nyanga Township. This was an extraordinary chance for MBAs to see entrepreneurship in action as well as engage and share with local pupils at the Nyanga elementary school.

This was also the opportunity to visit some of the amazing sites Cape Town has to offer, including the emblematic Cape of Good Hope, the World Cup Stadium, and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held in prison and launched his legendary path to freedom with the people of South Africa. The energy of “Ubuntu,” roughly translated “I am because we are,” prevails in South Africa and is a vital part of Mandela’s legacy. In just a short week, it transformed the MBA class, who both embody and embrace the diversity, multiculturalism and the spirit of inter-connectedness that defines South Africa.

Economic Overview of South Africa: Past, Present & Future
Leadership & Change in South Africa
South Africa’s Political Arena: Issues and Challenges
Business Models in South Africa
Marketing Segmentation & Branding in South Africa
Social Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Countries

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