Written on 29 Mar 2017.
Some eighty EDHEC Global MBA students have just completed the annual study trip to Cape Town, South Africa. This learning expedition to the heart of sustainable development is a key highlight of the international 10 month MBA program.
Over the years, the focus of the business trip has evolved from learning about an emerging economy to a study in sustainable development.
For Michelle Sisto, EDHEC Global MBA Program Director, “With its unique history, 11 official languages and many cultures and races living together, South Africa lends itself to a study in sustainability from diverse perspectives. Participants examine the business landscape through the lenses of social, economic and environmental sustainability. The combination of lectures and on-site visits renders explicit the links between academic theory and practical business implementation.”
This is the third business to South Africa for accompanying Professor Philippe Very, who specialises in Business Strategy, and International Development:
“You can see the evolution. People are no longer waiting for NGOs to take action. From the tough conditions in the Khayelitsha Township to ‘Rise Cape Town’, a fintech accelerator in the heart of the city, to the wineries in the countryside… everywhere you look, you see initiatives coming from all different races to simply make life better for the community.”
The success of this venture relies for a large part on a long standing relationship between EDHEC and Cape Town’s University of Stellenbosch Business School. Mixing academic sessions and onsite outings to companies, the trip allows students to grasp the complexity of the stakes at hand and truly experience the entrepreneurship of this multi-ethnic culture. Winston Green Jr, MBA Candidate Graduating June 2017 took part in this trip:
“We explored topics as diverse as the political landscape between the African National Congress (ANC) and other parties, the emergence of green business models, the introduction of black economic empowerment (BEE), and how companies market to consumers in a country that is aptly named the “Rainbow Nation”. These learnings were reinforced each day through company visits that demonstrated the ingenuity and perseverance of South Africans we had heard so much about.”
The Cape Town experience is an eye opener, a true inspiration for EDHEC Global MBA students such as Fabian Santana, who took part in last year’s trip:
“After a long day I’m left pondering over a cup of local coffee, humbled and stirred. I no longer want to worry about financing rounds and stock option compensation. This city at the end of the world has reminded me there are better reasons to work than money. If these entrepreneurs can do so much with so little, maybe so can I. Maybe we all can.”
This year, the sense of initiative permeated the EDHEC group. After striking up a football match with children in the Khayelitsha township, they pooled resources to offer shoes for the young sportsmen. Students adopted the African word Ubuntu: “I am what I am because of who we all are.”
Within the EDHEC Global MBA programme, business trips are an integral part of the learning experience: In the scope of specialisation tracks courses are complemented by a week-long residential seminar abroad. The International Finance track takes students to EDHEC’s London Executive Campus at the heart of the City, to gain a first-hand understanding of how international finance markets are evolving. The Global Leadership track brings them to Singapore Executive Campus to discover global leadership from an Asian perspective. San Francisco, with its renowned Silicon Valley is the destination for Entrepreneurship track students, as well as for those who have chosen the Economic Crime Management track. Track courses start each year in April in Nice.