Business schools need to provide graduates with the training to enable them to ask the
right questions and make observations from different perspectives and at different
levels. Even though MBA programmes typically focus on developing general
management skills, critics still argue that MBA graduates do not have the skills
required to effectively manage people. The research aimed to address the gaps in the
research and provide some recommendations from a South African context by looking
at the impact of the MBA on leadership development and personal change.
A descriptive research approach was followed to obtain the views of students on the
impact of the MBA on personal change and leadership development. A selfadministered
questionnaire supported the quantitative design. The population of the
study included all GIBS MBA students that completed their studies within the last five
years, or that are in the process of completing their studies.
This research has shown that the despairing picture of the future of leadership
development, as part of the MBA, which is reflected by a lot of popular literature, is not
entirely justified. Overall, the results from this study indicated that the MBA has a
positive impact on the personal change and leadership development of an individual.
The leadership theme might need to be more explicit throughout the MBA. This could
either take the form of the extension of the LEAD module across the two years as a full
leadership module, supplemented by individual; and/or group coaching, a compulsory
elective on leadership, and/or more leaders from industry speaking on leadership.
The research highlighted the importance of working in teams, practical application of
learning and reflection as critical components for leadership development and personal
change during an MBA.
As far as this research could determine, there are no major differences between
different genders, race groups or management level as far as their perception of the
leadership development and personal change of the MBA is concerned. It would seem
that the context in which these different groups might have a bigger impact on how