A team of GIBS MBA students has taken Joint 1st place in a prestigious international competition, whose final was held recently in France.


A team of GIBS MBA students has taken Joint 1st place in a prestigious international competition, whose final was held recently in France.

The Zurich Enterprise Challenge is open for highly qualified and motivated MBA, Masters and PhD students globally. Hosted by Zurich Insurance International, the challenge presents an opportunity for students to work with one of Zurich’s leading multi-national clients on real life corporate challenges. This competition aims to identity the very best talent among the group of young people who want to start a career in the world of risk management.

The competition is structured over three phases with only twenty teams progressing from stage one to stage two. Stage two progressed over a period of four weeks, and during this time Team Brand South Africa collaborated with senior executives from Kuehne & Nagel’s corporate head office in Switzerland. Team Brand South Africa is a team of four final year MBA students from GIBS: Elicia Demont, Thomas Kgokolo, Jamal Sahib & Ewald Beukes. They were required to deliver an executable strategy proposal, presented in a 30 minute video, together with a written report and a risk & opportunity analysis framework.

Team Brand SA ousted 78 other MBA and PHD teams from top Universities around the globe to make it to the final stage which took place at the Zurich Insurance Global Risk Management Summit, where the team presented their risk mitigation and strategy proposal to 100 top global business executives. This year the Zurich Enterprise Challenge had over 230 candidates applying from 49 universities worldwide. Team Brand SA's Joint 1st place was announced at a Gala dinner in Cannes at the closing of the Risk Summit.


“Digitisation is not a digital strategy; you need a business strategy for a digital world.” A very clear message from speaker after to speaker to delegates at GIBS’ sell-out Digital Disruptors Conference in August.

“We think we have to ‘do’ digital,” said Alison Jacobson, Managing Director: Digital Advisor Services, Dimension Data Group. “So we start producing mobile apps and portals on top of our old analogue business and we say ‘we are doing digital. There’s a guy called John, he runs digital. And Mary in marketing is doing social media.’ But is the rest of the business leveraging that data for insights? ‘No, no, no - that’s marketing!’ That’s not going to save you, guys.”

Jacobson explained that “Our philosophy is that to get there, you have to be digital. If you want to be more like Google, you have to be more like Google. This is not an IT conversation. This is not about digital strategy. This is about strategy. This is about your business strategy. The world is digital. You will know you are at an immature point in this transformation if you have a business strategy and you have a digital strategy. That’s a problem, a recipe for disruption. You will be disintermediated.

“Can your business produce continuous innovation at the pace of digital change? Which means very, very, very fast,” she warned.

Google South Africa Country Director Luke Mckend took it a stage further. “As a consumer I don’t think about the technology I use as a ‘phone’ or a ‘laptop’ or a ‘TV’. It all just runs through whatever I do. If as a business you’re not thinking systemically about technology that runs through your entire business, you’re missing the point. This is going to accelerate and it is happening much faster than we imagine.”


GIBS Dean Professor Nicola Kleyn congratulated the team responsible for achieving the accreditation and then outlined its importance:

“The international Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the longest-serving global accrediting body for business schools that offer undergraduate, master's, and doctoral degrees in business. There are AACSB accredited business schools  in 52 countries across the globe. Achieving accreditation involves conducting a rigorous internal review, engaging with an AACSB assigned mentor, and culminates in a peer review. During this multi-year process, we were required to demonstrate a commitment to aligning with AACSB's accreditation standards. These standards drive excellence in strategic management and innovation; the active participation of students, faculty, and staff in the affairs of the school; learning and teaching; and academic and professional engagement.

“This is a significant achievement and you have all been part of enabling us to now refer to ourselves as an AACSB accredited School. Whilst every person who makes the School what it is, special thanks to our mentor, Dr Mike Page, all the past and current project leads, Anastacia Mamabolo, Hayley Pearson and Zara Cupido as well as all our clients and students who interacted with the AACSB. Thank you to all!”


Despite predications of the end of globalisation and a move to increased market protectionism, the notion of a globalised economy is far from over.

“We are entering an absolutely new phase of globalisation,” Dinesh Khanna, leader of the Global Advantage Practice at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Singapore and co-author of the 2016 BCG Global Challengers Report, told a recent GIBS forum.

Khanna said emerging markets were more influential and integrated into the global economy than they were a decade ago. Global challenger companies, corporations from emerging markets who are not satisfied with just being leaders in their domestic markets and who had experienced incredible growth during the past ten years, had proved to be “amazingly resilient,” with many graduating to become global sector leaders.

While factors such as the slow down in the BRICS economies and structural adjustment in China have placed a dampener on growth, the underlying fundamentals that fueled global integration, including technological innovation and institutional frameworks, haven’t changed, Khanna argued.

There are now multiple poles driving the global economy and the main engine of globalisation is still functioning, he said, with some emerging market economies growing at a healthy rate of between 4% and 5%.

“Growth has diverged, but it hasn’t disappeared.” Manufacturing-focused emerging markets are still performing well in comparison to their commodity-based emerging market peers. “Finding growth will be more difficult, and among emerging markets, more nuanced,” he added.

An era of global challengers

BCG published its first list of global challengers in 2006, which tracks 100 global challenger companies in order to highlight the achievement of these firms.

“We underestimated in the original report the future potential of the global challengers,” Khanna said. The 2016 report found these emerging market firms had experienced an average 13% compound annual growth rate between 2009 and 2014, compared to 4% by their mature market peers over the same period.

“The challengers have been able to grow without sacrificing their profitability, and have created exceptional value,” Khanna said.

Global challenger companies came from various emerging markets and from diverse sectors. South African companies included in the list were Aspen Pharmacare, Bidvest, MTN, Naspers and Discovery.

Nick Binedell, professor in strategy and leadership at GIBS, told the forum that South Africa’s turbulent, dramatic and often difficult environment for business was a possible contributor to the resilience and innovative capability of these firms.

Stavros Nicolaou, Senior Executive of Strategic Trade Development at Aspen Pharmacare said the only way to survive and grow in the current competitive environment was through innovation. Aspen had developed an area of specialisation and remained agile by cutting red tape and bureaucracy and having a lack of hierarchical structures.

Dr Jonathan Broomberg, CEO of Discovery Health, said his company was characterised by “vivacious and tremendous ambition. We have a strong culture in the company and a devotion to a purpose, which is making people healthier. We encourage ongoing innovation and invest in that innovation.”


Faculty members who lecture on a core module of GIBS PGDip (Postgraduate Diploma in General Management) programme entitled Human Behaviour and Performance, have recently been awarded the prestigious Aspen Institute Business and Society 2016 Faculty Pioneer Award.

Dubbed “the Oscars of the business school world”, these awards celebrate educators who demonstrate leadership and risk-taking and focus on a curriculum that helps contribute to resolving on the world’s ‘grand challenges’. 

The GIBS Human Behaviour and Performance module, taught by Professor Margie Sutherland, Dr Ngao Motsei, Morris Mthombeni, Jonathan Cook and Anthony Wilson-Prangley, aims to expand delegates’ knowledge on bringing different people together to drive performance. This framework helps leaders to refine the crucial management goals of performance and inclusion. The faculty members on this programme were recognised for developing coursework that helps students understand and respond to the human complexity of the world around them. The module combines theory from sociology, social-psychology and organisational behaviour and includes a practical element involving visits to places of symbolic importance as well as learning through dialogue, theatre and story sharing.


GIBS book The Disruptors – social entrepreneurs reinventing business and society continues to do well, both locally and internationally. A reprint has been requested from our agents in the US, and the writing team have events in Durban, PE, Cape Town, Stellenbosch and New York.

 “The book’s success shows how we are moving from relying on business to generate economic value, and charities to generate social value, and are instead exploring the world that exists in the middle – the blended environment of social entrepreneurship,” says co-author Kerryn Krige, Senior Programme Manager at the Network for Social Entrepreneurs.

The eBook is available from Amazon, Kobo and all other major eBook retailers.


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