1. The recent COP26 summit has highlighted the urgency of climate action - how is the UCT GSB addressing this challenge?
Understanding the risks and opportunities raised by climate change and biodiversity degradation are becoming increasingly important at all organisational levels. At the UCT GSB, we prepare students and professionals to identify ways to mitigate and adapt to these environmental degradations while unlocking opportunities. We are cognisant that the transition to a carbon-neutral future will only be achieved if done in a socially inclusive manner, where the transition will stimulate job generation and identify new opportunities for value creation. Hence, we aim to develop leaders who can create solutions for a just transition that will contribute to the development of the country and continent, and especially our most vulnerable citizens.
In 2019, SDG-relevant content accounted for 80% of all student research and 70% of the UCT GSB’s published articles and books. Our programmes are designed to integrate and to increase an awareness to our students on the urgency of climate action. Our faculty also play a key role on this outside of the classroom – for example, we are co-hosts (with the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University in Canada) of the Embedding Project, a global sustainability initiative that helps companies integrate social and environmental factors into their decision-making.
The Financial Times has consistently placed the UCT GSB among the top dozen schools, globally, in corporate social responsibility, ranking the School at 12th in the world for corporate social responsibility in 2020.
Most recently the UCT GSB was ranked 22nd in the world for its MBA programme out of 147 programmes on the Corporate Knights’ 2021 Better World MBA list of the top 40 global business schools - making it the top African business school on this list. This international rating system recognises business schools that are responding to the strong demand for sustainability in business, by shaping business leaders who prioritise the integration of responsible and environmental priorities into their business practice.
2. What role does sustainability play in the UCT GSB's academic programmes and what type of leaders do you aim to create?
As an institution of higher education involved in the development of current and future managers, we are dedicated to creating business leaders with purpose. We are also dedicated to realising the sustainable development goals through responsible management education. The UCT Graduate School of Business is an Advanced Signatory and Champion of the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), a United Nations-supported initiative founded in 2007.
The UCT GSB naturally aligns with the international effort to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the work of the UN Global Compact. Our commitment to championing the SDGs is made even greater by our desire to ensure that today’s business students have the skills and insights to successfully deliver change, as well as the ability to drive inclusive growth and inspire others to follow suit, while also holding themselves accountable and contributing towards a more sustainable world for all. UCT GSB students are encouraged to not only develop managerial and leadership skills during their time at the UCT GSB, but to emerge with a greater sense of self-awareness and an appreciation of context that will help them to operate effectively and to develop sustainable solutions in the problems that they solve.