MBA Curriculum


Master of Business Administration

The Rhodes MBA is a course-work degree comprising 18 modules (made up of 15 core modules and 3 electives) and a research mini-thesis of 15 000 words.  It is offered on a modular basis of six teaching blocks, of two weeks duration each in Grahamstown. Students can choose to complete the degree on a part-time basis over two-and-a- half years, OR on a full-time basis (accelerated programme) over one-and-a-half years. Part-time students complete the coursework in two years (Teaching Blocks (TB) 1 to 3 in Year 1, 4 – 6 and Year 2 and the research mini-thesis is submitted by the end of the first semester in Year 3. In the first year of the course-work, all subjects are core courses. In the second year of the coursework, each teaching block comprises two core courses and a choice of one of two electives. Accelerated programme students complete the coursework in the first year of study and the research mini-thesis is submitted by the end of the first semester in Year 2.   The curriculum is as follows:

 First Year Courses:

1. MBA Orientation (Code: 4206889): orientation to the degree and the Business School, presentation skills, personal leadership, working in teams, writing skills, academic assessment, accessing library resources. (Teaching Block One, zero (0) credits, one assignment).

2. Economics (Code: 4206851): macro and microeconomics. Factors and policy that influence the firm and decision-making, monetary policy, nature and trends of the South African economy and challenges confronting it, indicators of economic activity. Managerialeconomics  and its application to problem solving and decision-making, pricing, costs & profits, pricing for greater profits, decision-making in uncertainty, organizational design and firm decision-making (Teaching Block One, ten (10) credits, one assignment, one examination).

3. Principles of Sustainability (Code: 4206870): sustainability concepts and definitions, corporate social responsibility,  triple/quadruple bottom line, triple top line, integrated reporting, climate change,  trends in sustainability and its management. (Teaching Block One, ten (10) credits, one assignment, one examination).

4. Financial and Quantitative Skills (Code: 4206891): this course is only required for those candidates who have not had any formal accounting qualification or prior accounting work experience.  This course is also recommended for candidates wanting to review accounting principles (Teaching Block One, zero (0)  credits).

5. Academic Skills (Code: 4206890):  academic knowledge, academic writing, academic assessment, writing skills. (Teaching Block Two, four (4) credits, one assignment).

6. Stewardship & Governance (Code: 4206888)an analysis of the rights, obligations, procedures and sanctions contained in the Companies Act, 2008 and the King III Code of Corporate Governance and their interaction with other commercial statutes encountered in daily business life, an appreciation of integrated reporting, CRISA & the JSE SRI. (Teaching Block Two, ten (10) credits, one assignment, one examination).

7. Responsible Leadership (Code: 4206855): contemporary leadership approaches, leadership styles and emotional intelligence, systems thinking and effective leadership, multicultural leadership and ethical leadership, sustainability and leadership (leadership outlooks for people, planet, organisations and self). (Teaching Block Two, ten (10) credits, one assignment, one examination).

8. Sustainable Marketing (Code: 4206859):  the marketing concept, market segmentation, consumer behaviour, marketing research, distribution strategy, product strategy, pricing strategy, promotional strategy, services marketing, relationship marketing, social marketing, responsible consumption. (Teaching Block Three, ten (10) credits, one assignment, one examination).

9. Financial Management (Code:4206853): working capital decisions, capital investment appraisal, measuring and dealing with risk, sources of finance, cost of capital, ratio analysis, dividend decision. (Teaching Block Three, six (6) credits, one assignment).

10. People Management: (Code: 4206858): the human resource management function and its role, role of managers in managing people, strategic human resource management (HRM), labour legislation, organizational behaviour, sustainable organizations and implications for HRM, stakeholder engagement, researching critical people management issues, change management. (Teaching Block Three, six (6) credits, one assignment).

 Second Year: Core Courses

11. Research Methods (Code: 4206868):  the research proposal, research paradigms, research methods, data collection methods, quantitative and qualitative data analysis. (Teaching Block Four, ten (10) credits, four assignments).

12. Quantitative Decision-Making (Code: 4206876): summarizing data statistically, presenting and interpreting data, inferential statistics, significance testing, time series analysis and forecasting, marketing research practice   (Teaching Block Four, six (6) credits, one test or assignment, one examination).

13. Management Accounting (Code: 4206854): cost-volume-profit analysis, measuring relevant costs and revenues for decision making, cost assignment, activity-based costing, the budgeting process, standard costing and variance analysis (Teaching Block Five, six (6) credits, one examination).

14. Operations Management (Code: 4206861): process types and process flows in manufacturing, performance measurement, benchmarking and re-engineering, production planning, quality management, lean thinking and world class manufacturing, sustainable supply chain management and procurement, risk assessment, life-cycle analysis and systems. (Teaching Block Five, six (6) credits, one assignment).

15. Strategic Management (Code: 4206856): strategic intent, strategy maps, the business environment, SWOT analysis, core competency analysis, strategic objectives and the Balanced Scorecard, corporate level strategies, business level strategies. (Teaching Block Six, six (6) credits, one assignment).

16. Ethical Organization (Code: 4206881):  business ethics, corporate citizenship, corporate social investment, corporate governance. (Teaching Block Six, six (6) credits, one assignment).

 Second Year: Elective Courses:  (Choose Three)

17. Project Management (Code: 4206865):  key project management concepts and tools, project management methodology, implementation approaches, project management control, use of project management software, environmental impacts assessment. (Teaching Block Four, six (6) credits, one assignment).


18. Sustainability Law (Code: 4206892): to enable the identification, location and preliminary interpretation of environmental, key sustainability and relevant governance legislation, relevant to the operation of business and other organizations. (Teaching Block Four, six (6) credits, one assignment).

 19. Environmental Economics (Code: 4206874):the economy-environment interaction, techniques for the valuation of ecological goods and services, environmental policy intervention, environmental economic impact analysis. (Teaching Block Five, six (6) credits, one assignment).


20. Entrepreneurship (Code: 4206857): characteristics of an entrepreneur, generating entrepreneurial ideas, feasibility studies, growth and turnaround strategies, business plans, social entrepreneurship, international business. (Teaching Block Five, six (6) credits, one assignment).

 21. Climate change and business (Code: 4206879):impact, risk and opportunities of climate change on business, as it relates to the international and South African policy developments and best practices. (Teaching Block Six, six (6) credits, one assignment).


22. Knowledge Management (Code: 4206877): the creation and utilization of knowledge and intellectual capital in organizations, as well as information technology for knowledge management. (Teaching Block Six, six (6) credits, one assignment).


23. International Option (No Code):  It is possible to attend a two-week summer school at a business school in lieu of the courses offered in the third teaching block.  There are certain conditions attached to this option.

 Note: The School reserves the right not to offer a particular elective if there are too few candidates who choose that option.

Third Year: Dissertation:

24.  Dissertation (Code: 4206867):Aresearch mini-thesis of 15 000 words on a research topic of the candidate’s choice but aligned with some aspect of sustainability, and subject to suitable supervisory support, is to be submitted in the first semester.(Sixty (60) credits).

Pre-MBA Course

For certain candidates, acceptance onto the MBA programme will be dependent on their attendance at a four-day Financial and Quantitative Skills course at the end of the first teaching block.   This course is also open to anyone who wishes to refresh their knowledge of finance and accounting.      

Accelerated Programme (Full-time Study)

In certain circumstances, candidates may be permitted to register on an accelerated programme, whereby the degree can be completed in a year and a half. Under the accelerated programme, all course work can be completed within the first year, with the research mini-thesis being completed in the first semester of the second year.  The order of Teaching Blocks are TB1, TB4, TB2, TB5, TB3, TB6. Acceptance onto the accelerated programme must be suitably motivated and is subject to current work commitments and prior academic performance.

Extended Programme

In certain circumstances, candidates may be permitted to register on an extended programme, whereby the degree can be completed in four and a half years. Under the extended programme, all course work can be completed in the first four years, with the research mini-thesis being completed in the first semester of the fifth year. Acceptance onto the extended programme, is only permitted for candidates who have the necessary academic qualifications and are currently working towards the achievement of professional status (for example, a Chartered Accountant or an Advocate), which requires that they fulfil obligations whilst undergoing the designated period of training, articles, pupilage, internships, houseman ship or the like. Continued participation on the Extended Programme is subject to the ongoing fulfilment of the professional body requirements. If these requirements are fulfilled within the first or second year of registration for the extended programme, then registration in subsequent years will typically be against the  requirements of the normal programme.

Final Mark

The final mark will be made up of a weighted average mark of two components in the ratio of 67% for the course-work and 33% for the research mini-thesis. The course-work component will comprise the weighted average mark of all the modules making up the course-work, according to their credit load.  A distinction will be awarded if the final mark is greater than or equal to 75%, provided that a subminimum of 70% is obtained for each component.

Last Modified: Thu, 01 Jun 2017 16:17:45 SAST