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Africa’s first innovative re-structure of PGDips

Prof. Martin Butler
In a first for Africa, the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) is offering a dynamic range of Post Graduate Diplomas (PGDips) with far greater flexibility, a strong focus on leadership and future-readiness and easier access to the global movement of life-long learning.

With the pandemic bringing into focus the need for radical change in how we prepare for the unknown and create a more positive future, USB’s new PGDips will equip leaders to be values-driven, future-thinking, and innovative in their approach to adapt and pivot during ever-changing circumstances.

Prof Martin Butler, USB’s Head of Teaching and Learning, said that in addition to the pandemic necessitating skills that reflect the new challenges faced in the business sector, they listened to students’ feedback and shaped the PGDips according to their needs.

“As a business school we regularly revised our programmes over the years to keep pace with the ever-changing demands posed to leaders. However, this revolutionary restructure will bring forth a deep-seated attitudinal change amongst leaders and how they equip themselves in manifesting change, managing disruption, and building a more equitable and sustainable future. In addition, companies are expecting their employees to display critical thinking capabilities whilst students need far greater flexibility in how and when they study – all reflective in the re-design.”

The PGDips in Development Finance, Futures Studies, Project Management and Business Management and Administration have been re-designed to be completed in one or two years, and each comprise eight bespoke modules that provide students with a universal set of skills and knowledge, equipping them for future readiness.

The foundation modules will focus on responsible leadership and understanding the local and global ecosystems in which we operate. Thereafter, students will have a choice between other foundation modules such as thinking frameworks for better decision making, managing risk and uncertainty, and organisational behaviour. Post reaching the halfway-mark of the programme, students then continue with their area of specialisation by taking programme-specific modules for the remainder of their academic journey.

“Students will be attending the foundation modules together, creating incredible diversity and rich discussions across the various PGDip programmes,” says Butler. “The networking opportunities are invaluable in building diverse and inclusive networks for years to come, broadening perspectives, and providing insight and understanding of a variety of business sectors, cultural affiliation and the unique challenges faced across industries.”

Students can choose to access classes either on-campus, online or a blend of both modes, with greater flexibility whilst working, or living in other provinces or abroad.

“Our online learning platform is cutting-edge. Where traditional learning management systems are mainly technology and delivery focused, the new platform is designed to provide the optimal learning experience. It incorporates best practice learning design, with interactive and engaging learning capabilities, delivering the same transformational impact as face-to-face courses,” comments Butler.

USB will continue its innovation of the programmes and are currently exploring ways in which components of the programme can be made available as compact, standalone learning opportunities.

In broadening the competencies of students, the redesign also gives recognition for credits earned on some of the foundation phase modules when a second PGDip is completed within five years, providing the invaluable ability to complete two different programme-specific modules such as Future Studies and Project Management.

To register for the new programmes visit https://www.usb.ac.za/pgdipredesign  
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