On a path to excellence in Africa: Wits Business School achieves accreditation with AABS
New leadership, a new strategy and a foot on the pedal of its accreditation drive – Wits Business School (WBS) is repositioning itself as a leading African business school. Two and a half years after Professor Maurice Radebe took the helm as Director and Head of School, the School is experiencing a turnaround, as evidenced by its recent accreditation with the Association of African Business Schools (AABS).
For Radebe, a former energy executive, leading the turnaround at WBS was an opportunity for him to give back, not only to WBS, his alma mater, but to society. “When the opportunity arose, I realised this is very much in line with my purpose, which is to develop the next generation of leaders who are ethical, and who have a passion to make a difference.”
If there is one word that defines the new WBS strategic vision, it is ‘impact’. Says Radebe: “At the heart of our strategic vision is to ensure that WBS makes a positive, meaningful difference to the society we serve. It’s no longer about a qualification on a piece of paper. We are here to equip students with a desire to address the challenges we are facing as Africans, and the agility to respond quickly.”
Along with Radebe’s appointment in early 2021 came further changes in executive leadership. In the same year WBS welcomed a new Academic Director, Professor Logan Rangasamy, and a new Director of Executive Education, Leoni Grobler. Then, in 2022, WBS appointed former director of UCT’s Graduate School of Business, Professor Mills Soko, as Director of Development and Partnerships.
“A key part of our strategy is to become the partner of choice for like-minded academic institutions, corporates and other key organisations not only in sub-Saharan Africa, but globally,” says Radebe.
To this end, WBS has signed memoranda of understanding with, among others, the University of Namibia Business School and Strathmore Business School, and is exploring collaborative initiatives with other top African institutions, including University of Ghana Business School and Rabat Business School in Morocco, and further afield with Rutgers Business School (RBS) and Pittsburgh Business School in the USA, as well as ICHEC Brussels Management School in Belgium. The School is already collaborating with the C.T. Bauer School of Business, at University of Houston, on energy-related initiatives, such as its current series of cross-continental webinars on the energy transition as experienced by the Global North and South.
It was on his recent trip to Accra, Ghana to attend the annual Association of African Business Schools (AABS) Connect Conference that Prof Soko received WBS’s AABS accreditation award.
“The School worked extremely hard to obtain AABS accreditation and we are thrilled to be recognised as a school that is having impact on our continent. We were awarded accreditation late last year, but it’s exciting to receive the beautiful trophy which is now proudly on display at WBS,” says Professor Soko.
The theme of the AABS conference, held at the University of Ghana, was the relevance of business schools in Africa, with a special focus on their role in climate change, in cultivating ethical managers, and in bridging the divide between academia and stakeholders in other sectors, such as government, policy makers, business practitioners, and NGOs.
“The conference affirmed for us that WBS is on the right strategic path and that we are closely aligned to the principles and standards of the AABS. We are proud of our association with AABS and are looking forward to a close co-operation between our entities for many years to come,” says Radebe.