MBA SPECIALISATION STREAMS

The UCT GSB offers six MBA specialisation streams, allowing you to enhance your generalist MBA training with a set of in-demand specialised skills. This way you can tailor your degree to match your areas of interest, knowledge and unique skills. As employers are increasingly looking for a balance of generalist and specialist skills, this may increase your employability and help you define your career path.

The specialisation streams are made up of specific combinations of MBA core courses and electives. Please note that each specialisation stream has core course minimum grade requirements, so we cannot guarantee that you will be accepted into your first choice of specialisation stream. Also, due to timetabling, logistics and minimum class sizes, specific electives may not be run every year.

WE OFFER SIX SPECIALISATION STREAMS

Management consulting skills, whether performed as a career or used as part of a managerial toolbox, are a key MBA competency. This stream focuses on the depth and breadth of knowledge and skills required for strategic business management; and those needed to become an effective management consultant.

Well-trained management consultants are in demand

The complexities of modern business mean that executives don’t always have the capacity or knowledge to tackle every aspect of their business. This reality has given rise to the management consulting industry which supports executives in dealing with a range of challenges whether relating to strategy development, profit enhancement, productivity improvement, organisational redesign or facing competitive threats.

Gain marketable skills from leading academics and consultants

The Management Consulting specialisation stream offers:

  • Promising career opportunities in management consulting firms, corporations and start-ups;
  • Future-focused marketable skills, particularly in value creation, problem solving and solution design;
  • Specialist knowledge from practitioners and academics. The course is convened by a senior partner at a leading global management consulting firm and includes frequent interaction with senior practising consultants and strategy managers.
Is this stream for me?

You will find this stream highly beneficial if you:

  • Have an interest in management consulting or strategic management;
  • Want to understand and master overall business skills, rather than one business function;
  • Have the drive to solve complex business problems and facilitate implementation of solutions;
  • Are interested in identifying and generating business value;
  • Have a mix of analytical and creative skills. 
Key outcomes

On completion of the core courses and electives in this stream, you will be able to:

  • Apply a consulting approach to a range of business challenges and contexts;
  • Analyse business scenarios and develop relevant, workable solutions that take into account a wide range of relevant factors – from control systems to change management;
  • Synthesise all of your course work towards value creation;
  • Use your specialised skills for business problem solving and solution implementation;
  • Use your highly developed communication skills in a consulting or managerial role.

Career prospects
  • Internal consulting
  • Strategy – within a corporation
  • General Manager with strategic focus
  • Management consulting – whether large, generalists or niche
Requirements and Curriculum

Core courses

  • Strategy 
  • Company Analysis 
  • Operations Management
  • Markets in Emerging Countries
  • Business, Government and Society
  • Organisational Leadership and Values
  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Leadership
  • Organisational Behaviour and People Management
  • Research Methods
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Social Innovation and Entrepreneuring
  • Business Model Innovation Lab
  • Research Report

Electives

  • Management Consulting
  • Change Management
  • Leading Organisations in a VUCA World
  • Management Control Systems
  • Company Valuations

Course Convenor: Athol Williams

This stream allows students to specialise in all aspects of marketing and marketing strategy. This is valuable for those choosing a career in marketing, particularly in senior management roles, or for entrepreneurs needing the skills to grow their businesses in a competitive environment.

As the digital revolution gives rise to increasing competition, marketing is more important than ever.

Businesses face increasing competition and creating and delivering customer value is an essential component for success. The Marketing Management stream will equip you to make good strategic decisions based on relevant data, strategically manage brands in the complex emerging market context and use digital marketing tools to create maximum customer value.

Gain a full understanding of all areas of marketing and marketing strategy

The Marketing Management stream offers specialised knowledge in:

  • Marketing Strategy;
  • Brand Management;
  • Digital Marketing;
  • Marketing Metrics.
Is this stream for me?

You will find this stream highly beneficial if you:

  • Are planning a career change from a generalist to a specialist role;
  • Have followed a career in marketing and want to move into a senior marketing role;
  • Are an entrepreneur seeking marketing skills to grow your business in a competitive digital environment.
Key outcomes

On completion of the core courses and electives in this stream, you will be able to:

  • Make sound business and strategic marketing decisions to create customer value based on market research and diverse data sources;
  • Strategically manage a brand in complex traditional and digital contexts.
Career prospects
  1. Senior management positions in marketing and brand management
  2. Digital marketing
  3. Product development
  4. Business development
  5. General management
  6. Entrepreneurship and growing business start-ups
Requirements and curriculum

Core courses:

  • Operations Management
  • Markets in Emerging Countries
  • Business, Government and Society
  • Organisational Leadership and Values
  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Leadership
  • Organisational Behaviour and People Management
  • Research Methods 
  • Marketing 
  • Finance
  • Social Innovation and Entrepreneuring
  • Business Model Innovation Lab
  • Strategy
  • Company Analysis
  • Research Report

Electives:

  • E-marketing
  • Digital Market-making
  • Strategic Marketing
  • Branding in Emerging Markets
  • Marketing Metrics

Course convenor: Associate Professor Mignon Reyneke

An entrepreneurial mindset, whether applied to creating new business ventures or innovating within an organisation, is a critical component to success in any business context. The Innovation and Entrepreneurship stream is a future-looking specialisation that focuses on innovation and the creation and scale-up of new ventures. The overall aim is to provide excellence in the entrepreneurial process – a skill that is essential for a fast-moving environment.

Focus on society’s greatest challenges from a business perspective

The world is full of opportunities to create new firms. And in a world facing major challenges, we also need individuals who can provide solutions through new ventures. Large corporations, too, are in dire need of individuals that can lead and develop new income streams and new products and services. This stream focuses on the creation of venture opportunities, covering key components from the creation of the actual venture to the launch and establishment of the firm. It focuses on real impact and targets societies greatest challenges from a business perspective.

Learn through research and experience

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship stream is research and experience based, offering:

  • State-of-the-art innovation and entrepreneurship research as a foundation for the programme;
  • An experience-based process in three simultaneous streams:
    • Foundation – working with a generic scale-up model that could be reproduced over different venture opportunities and contexts
    • The venture process – participants scale-up a real company in real time
    • Close collaboration with industry – the UCT GSB provides exclusive support from experts in areas such as IP law and pricing who also offer input in the venturing process.
Is this stream for me?

You will find this stream highly beneficial if you:

  • Want to scale-up a new venture with high impact;
  • Have an interest in corporate entrepreneurship – working within a large organisation on innovation and new ventures.
Key outcomes

On completion of the core courses and electives in this stream, you will be able to:

  • Use a toolkit of entrepreneurial skills to design new business ventures or solutions in existing enterprises;
  • Analyse the role and process of innovation and entrepreneurship in an emerging market context;
  • Create and scale-up new ventures as independent start-ups or within an established organisation.
Career prospects
  • Entrepreneurship
  • New ventures for an existing company that needs to renew its market offering
  • Head of Business Innovation
  • Head of Business Development
Requirements and curriculum

Core courses:

  • Operations Management
  • Markets in Emerging Countries
  • Business, Government and Society
  • Organisational Leadership and Values
  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Leadership
  • Organisational Behaviour and People Management
  • Research Methods
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Social Innovation and Entrepreneuring 
  • Business Model Innovation Lab 
  • Strategy
  • Company Analysis
  • Research Report
Electives:
  • Venture Launch
  • Venture Exploitation

Course convenor: Associate Professor Mikael Samuelsson

Global businesses need ethical, responsible and self-aware leaders who are able to balance the business’ financial success with its social, environmental and ethical impact now more than ever. The Leadership and Change specialisation stream will equip you with the necessary skills to lead in times of change and disruption.

Interpersonal capabilities and personal competencies are crucial in today’s ever-changing workplaces

Personal resilience and self-care, complex decision-making, adaptive problem-solving, and the courage to work with imperfection are increasingly more important for high-performing organisations. You will find yourself having to make ethical decisions in ambiguous situations, working with diverse others and having to shape inclusive environments grounded in values and compassion. To succeed, you will have to hone your personal purpose alongside your ability to switch between dialogue and negotiation and leading and implementing change. It is essential to know how to manage yourself in order to manage others and, ultimately, organisations. This stream supports the personal development and maturity necessary for effective leadership.

Gain deep leadership capability

The Leadership and Change specialisation stream offers:

  • Personal development and self-awareness;
  • The capabilities and competencies to navigate effectively in a complex, changing and diverse work environment;
  • The development of a nuanced and adaptable leadership approach.
  • The confidence to lead and negotiate change effectively;
  • The enhancement of the necessary courage to take, and follow-through on, responsible and ethical decision-making.
Is this stream for me?

You will find this stream highly beneficial if you want to be an effective leader in a complex world.

Key outcomes

On completion of the core courses and electives in this stream, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a deeper understanding of how to overcome personal challenges and ‘imperfections’;
  • Practise greater rigour in understanding the power of your beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and motivations;
  • Demonstrate greater rigour in your understanding of the effects of judgement in your life;
  • Explain the power and valence of your commitment (or non-commitment) to positive purposeful choices;
  • Demonstrate a greater acceptance of who you are (flaws and all);
  • Actively engage in skilful dialogue and debate;
  • Link behaviour to effective outcomes – personal and organisational;
  • Be able to more rigorously effect responsible and ethical decisions;
  • Better understand the risks and challenges around organisational responsibility;
  • Know how to apply complexity thinking to your current and future work.
Career prospects
  • General Manager
  • Management Consultant
  • Strategist
  • Entrepreneur
  • Diversity & Inclusion Managers/Specialists
  • Organisational Development Specialist
  • Personnel Development Specialist
  • Human Resource Professional
  • Project Manager
  • Non-Profit Executive
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Organisational Trainer
  • Political Advisor
  • Politician
  • Sales Manager
Requirements and curriculum

Core courses:

  • Operations Management
  • Markets in Emerging Countries
  • Business, Government and Society
  • Organisational Leadership and Values 
  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Leadership  
  • Organisational Behaviour and People Management
  • Research Methods
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Social Innovation and Entrepreneuring
  • Business Model Innovation Lab
  • Strategy
  • Company Analysis
  • Research Report

Electives:

  • Advanced Leadership
  • Coaching
  • Change Management
  • Negotiation
  • Leading Organisations in a VUCA World

Course convenor: Professor Kurt April

There is a large and growing demand for managers who are able to steer complex, ever-changing and frequently disrupted business operations, particularly in emerging markets. The Operations and Supply Chain Management specialisation stream focuses on the analytical and practical skills needed to meet these challenges and find innovative ways to get services and products to the end consumer.

Traditional concepts of operations and supply chain management have been disrupted

The advent of new types of companies, ways of working and platform businesses (such as Uber and Airbnb) have transformed traditional concepts of operations management, supply chains, customer needs and business processes. Now more than ever, organisations are looking at their operations and supply chains to survive. This stream equips business leaders in a volatile emerging market context, particularly with regards to mobilising new technologies for competitive gain.

Gain targeted analytical and practical skills

The Operations and Supply Chain Management stream offers specialised knowledge in:

  • Global Supply Chain Management;
  • Change Management;
  • Lean Thinking;
  • Operational Excellence;
  • Project Management;
  • Service delivery processes.
Is this stream for me?

You will find this stream highly beneficial if you:

  • Are considering expanding your firm into new markets;
  • Want to educate yourself about operations best practice and supply chain management across service and manufacturing industries;
  • Seek to transition from a technical position into a management role;
  • Are interested in service or manufacturing industry supply chains.
Key outcomes

On completion of the core courses and electives in this stream, you will be able to:

  • Design and manage operational approaches to control business processes, even in the face of constant change;
  • Analyse complex contemporary supply chains and propose effective solutions for emerging market contexts;
  • Develop operations and supply chain processes, solve problems and develop innovative solutions;
  • Make operational and strategic decision and implement long-term plans.
Career prospects

This stream will prepare you for operations and supply chain management roles in diverse service and manufacturing industries.

Curriculum

Core courses:

  • Operations Management 
  • Markets in Emerging Countries
  • Business, Government and Society
  • Organisational Leadership and Values
  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Leadership
  • Organisational Behaviour and People Management
  • Research Methods
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Social Innovation and Entrepreneuring
  • Business Model Innovation Lab
  • Strategy
  • Company Analysis
  • Research Report

Electives:

  • Global Supply Chain Management
  • Change Management
  • Negotiation
  • Lean Thinking and Operational Excellence
  • Project Management

Course convenor: Associate Professor Hamieda Parker

Financial acumen is a cornerstone of an MBA graduate’s business acumen skills and is therefore a very popular area of study on the UCT GSB’s MBA programme. Many students assemble an informal stream of finance-related electives in order to build their skills so that they can enter into lucrative and impactful careers in the finance field.  Thus contemporary students are increasingly demanding specific, relevant workplace skills in addition to generalist management training. Formal acknowledgment of these specialisation streams increases the value of students’ qualifications to existing employers who are increasingly looking for staff who have a balance of generalist and specialist skills.

The Corporate Finance specialisation offers specialised knowledge in:

  • The capital structure of organisations and their funding sources
  • Courses of actions taken by managers to increase a firm’s value to shareholders
  • Methods and analysis tools employed to allocate financial resources
  • The effect of financial decisions and allocation on emerging countries
Is this stream for me?

You will find this stream highly beneficial if you:

  • Wish to assemble a formal stream of finance-related electives to build your skills
  • Plan to move into a finance position or leadership role
  • Want to improve your knowledge to assist with decision making in finance
  • Would like to gain a better understanding of the mechanics of the dynamic financial sector
  • Want to understand the implications and effects of financial globalization

Key outcomes

On completion of the core courses and electives in this stream, you will be able to:

  • Analyse the financial opportunities and risks in markets and businesses
  • Develop flexible, impactful financial approaches suited to listed and unlisted corporate entities
  • Formulate financial policies and strategies, and solve asset management problems as they appear in real-life situations
  • Apply theoretical frameworks drawn from economics, risk management, accounting, law, quantitative method and finance issues
  • Discuss the benefits and side-effects of financial globalization
Career prospects
  • Corporate finance analyst
  • Business analyst
  • Treasury analyst
  • Investment manager
  • Venture capitalist
  • Financial planner
  • Financial director
  • Chief financial officer
  • Development economist
Requirements and curriculum

Core courses:

  • Operations Management
  • Markets in Emerging Countries
  • Business, Government & Society
  • Organisational leadership & Values
  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Leadership
  • Organisational Behaviour & People Management
  • Research Methods
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Social Innovation & Entrepreneuring
  • Business Model Innovation Lab
  • Strategy
  • Company Analysis
  • Research Report

Electives:

  • Emerging Market Economic Development
  • Advanced Corporate Finance
  • Management Control Systems
  • Company Valuations
  • Integrated Reporting

Course convenor: Associate Professor Sean Gossel