Graduate Management News

September 2015

The Newsletter of the Graduate Management Admission Council

GMAC Viewpoints: The Evolving State of Business Schools in Africa

The time for African business schools to establish and adopt quality standards that are unique to the needs of the African continent is long overdue.

B-Schools in Africa

In a recent article in Business Day Live (“Let Africa Be the Business Context”), my colleague Walter Baets, the director of the UCT Graduate School of Business and chairman of the Association of African Business Schools (AABS), discussed the need for an African accreditation system that seeks to create an African business school framework for evaluating and maintaining program quality in the African context.

The time for African business schools to establish and uniformly adopt quality standards that are relevant to the unique management education needs of the African continent is long overdue. An African accreditation, as Professor Baets has suggested, can play an important role. The most promising model for Africa though, would be one that considers all elements of program quality—structure, content, faculty, and students. Accreditation standards typically focus on the former three categories while the latter—quality and preparedness of students—often goes unaddressed or overlooked. AABS, however, is well positioned to do otherwise.

To its credit, AABS is collaborating with the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) on the design of a Pan-African admissions test. In doing so, the Association is creating an opportunity for its members to be globally acknowledged and recognized along two crucial dimensions: a) student quality, and b) common admission standards.

Student selection contributes significantly to the quality of individual programs by prompting and rewarding candidate preparedness, and schools are often chosen or recognized on the basis of student quality. Adoption of a common admissions standard not only informs student selection, but enables benchmarking and transparency and establishes a cohesive community of African schools—comparable to but distinct from those of other world regions. Yes, Africa’s time has arrived. We at GMAC applaud these efforts and look forward to welcoming a unified African school community onto the world stage.

About the Author

Ron SibertRon Sibert is Africa Business Development director at the Graduate Management Admission Council.