Why are business schools in South Africa important for economic growth?

Accredited business schools have always played an important role in South Africa and contribute to economic growth in many ways. Now, with the downgrade of South Africa’s credit rating to junk status and an unemployment rate of 29.1%, the contribution of business schools in South Africa is even more essential.

Below are 4 ways that business schools contribute to economic growth.

Skills Development in Business Schools

As an education provider, business schools play a role in elevating the level of education in South Africa and thus, the economic wealth. A well-educated population means prosperity; particularly in social and economic terms.  As a general rule educated workers contribute more to economic productivity and growth as they tend to be more efficient. 

Business schools teach students skills that are in demand locally and globally. There are numerous subjects to choose from, and while many have stayed the standard for many years (like finance, accounting, marketing and human resources) new skills like innovation and design thinking have been introduced. 

Most accredited business schools also offer different types of programmes and courses, meaning that skills development happens at various levels. For example, depending on your goals and education level, you can study an MBA, bachelor’s degree, diploma or even a short course to upskill on a particular field of interest. 

Education has evolved, especially over the last 2 or 3 decades. Business schools have been some of the first institutions to adapt. Many of these programmes are offered in different formats to suit student’s needs. For example, full-time programmes, online programmes, as well as learnerships and apprenticeships that allow you to study and work at the same time. The MBA program manager at Wits Business School, Conrad Viedge, explains that part-time learning is effective as students, “can apply what they learn [in the week] straight back into work”.

Many business schools also offer bursaries and scholarships to underprivileged students. To remain relevant, business schools need to ensure that they keep up with global developments and that the education that they provide is affordable and accessible on as many levels as possible.

Employment and Job Creation

Educated individuals have access to higher wages and more career choices, which can positively influence employment levels. Business school alumni have a wide range of career options due to the broad nature of business education and the networks that come with it.

Online and on-the-job learning gives more individuals the opportunity to upskill while working. This allows them to advance in their careers, make career changes and/or improve their salary.  

Many business schools also offer career services to help alumni find jobs, grow their network of connections and access higher paying roles. To stay relevant in South Africa, business schools need to integrate workplace learning with practical and theoretical study. This ensures that their students are adequately prepared for the job market. Schools need to continue to support their alumni post-graduation.


business school students on Red & Yellow campus

Business schools in South Africa need to encourage curious minds.


Entrepreneurship is a skill that is in high demand in South Africa. In fact, according to QS World University Rankings, two of the world’s best business schools for entrepreneurship are in our country; University of Stellenbosch Business School and UCT Graduate School of Business. 

Business schools provide individuals with the skills to make their businesses a success and, in turn, create job opportunities for fellow South Africans. They need to encourage curiosity, the ability to take risks and innovative thinking. Tim London, senior lecturer at the UCT Graduate School of Business, states that entrepreneurship is essential to get the level of employment needed in South Africa.

However, according to Tim, many MBA and postgraduate degrees remain expensive and inaccessible. Many South African entrepreneurs own small businesses so it’s essential for business education to reflect this and remain relevant to the needs of the South African market.

Innovation From Business School Alumni

Business schools encourage innovation through education and entrepreneurship. According to a Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) study that surveyed MBA applicants around the world, MBA students are more and more motivated to use business to make a difference. In Africa, 32% of MBA applicants fall into the “impactful innovators” segment. Innovation that is driven by the needs of the South African market is key for the economy. 

In addition, business schools attract students and faculty from varying backgrounds, cultures and countries. The most creative solutions often stem from diversity. This dynamic and forward-thinking learning environment is crucial for innovation and entrepreneurship in today’s global business world.


It’s clear that business schools have a constructive and meaningful impact on our economy.  But these schools need support in order to remain relevant. As mentioned, affordability and accessibility are of paramount importance. Business schools also need to be creative and adaptable to the ever-changing climate, and to be conscious of their impact on South Africa’s economy. 

Red & Yellow’s focus on “teaching the great creators, inventors, leaders and entrepreneurs for the 21st century” shows the value that business schools can provide to students and the country. Striving to be the most creative business school in the world, Red & Yellow offers business and marketing education with an innovative flair. Students benefit from the teachings of industry professionals in both full-time and part-time programmes (including Bachelor degrees, Advanced Diplomas and National Certificates). Programmes also ensure to incorporate workplace learning and have a focus on real-world preparedness to shape well-rounded professionals that will make an impact on our economy. Prefer to study online? In addition to Red & Yellow’s continually updated range of online short courses, certain Advanced Diploma and National Certificate programmes are offered fully online. Students can study remotely or study while working with an online platform that is geared for excellent student experience, and a dedicated support team.