Edinburgh Business School Launches Largest MBA Scholarship Programme Across Africa

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Edinburgh Business School is launching a massive scholarship scheme across Africa – giving 250 people the opportunity to study its flagship MBA programme.

Edinburgh Business School

Edinburgh Business School has a singular vision – to help our students fulfil their talents and reap the career rewards they deserve.

Edinburgh Business School is launching a massive scholarship scheme across Africa – giving 250 people the opportunity to study its flagship MBA programme.

The African Scholarship Programme is being endorsed by Graça Machel, the renowned international advocate for women and children’s rights and wife of Nelson Mandela, who will attend the launch event in Johannesburg on September 15.

This is believed to be the largest scholarship scheme ever offered by a UK university in Africa, giving 50 full scholarships each year for five years for the Edinburgh Business School distance learning MBA (Master of Business Administration) programme.

It will enable disadvantaged applicants to gain advanced management skills and expertise, helping them to effect change in their organisations and communities. The flexibility of the distance learning MBA enables students to continue working while they learn, implementing their new knowledge and skills in the workplace immediately.

Professor Keith Lumsden, Director of Edinburgh Business School, the Graduate School of Business of Heriot-Watt University, says the reason for the scholarship scheme is simple:

“Edinburgh Business School has a singular vision – to help our students fulfil their talents and reap the career rewards they deserve. The business school has been active in Africa for 20 years and to celebrate this milestone we wanted to establish an initiative to promote life-long learning across the continent. Africa needs assistance to help develop its full potential, and with these scholarships we are offering 250 individuals the chance to make a difference – not only to their own lives but to the wider communities around them.”

The first 38 scholarship students from 14 Africa countries recently began their studies and the scheme, which is being run in conjunction with the Canon Collins Trust. The African Scholarship Programme will be formally launched at a celebration evening in Johannesburg on September 15, attended by Graça Machel.

A number of women scholarship students will also receive mentoring under the Graça Machel Mentoring Programme. Graça Machel says:

“I would like to thank Edinburgh Business School for its support for women’s education and leadership in Africa. These scholarships provide inspirational rural women with transformative educational opportunities, enabling them to gain specialist skills in their chosen field and multiply their impact. By providing access to distance learning MBAs, Edinburgh Business School is contributing to the development of entrepreneurialism at local level, something which is vital to the economic health of our continent.”

One scholarship student who will be mentored under the Graça Machel Mentoring Programme is 35-year-old Martha Sambani, an Administrative Officer at the University of Malawi’s Polytechnic. Martha hopes her MBA will help her to improve the institution’s systems in order to offer a better educational experience to students. She also plans to use the MBA to develop the University of Malawi's move from state to commercial funding.

“Our university lacks proper administrative and financial management skills due to lack of qualified personnel. Above all, I want to see a change in terms of university financial performance and accountability and this will be my greatest and first assignment to accomplish as soon as I qualify,” she says.

Martha is 35 and the eldest of 8 children. She is responsible for looking after her siblings and paying to keep them in school so the Edinburgh Business School Distance Learning MBA is the perfect option for her. It is the most flexible distance learning programme in the world, allowing students to start whenever it suits them. Exams are held twice a year (in June and December) at more than 350 centres around the world, and at any one time, those taking MBA courses are part of a world community of 8,500 students.

Dr Heidi Grimmer from Sandton in South Africa, studied for the Edinburgh Business School MBA while working as a senior technical brewer at South African Breweries (SAB Miller). She has now set up her own business – the all female women-run Associated Brewery and Beverage Consultancy. Heidi says her MBA studies have proved invaluable in her new initiative:

“To start a business is not easy, especially not during the current economic climate. The Edinburgh Business School MBA has given me the framework and the confidence to start a business whose core purpose is enterprise development, with a particular focus on the development of black women’s businesses.”

Notes to Editors
The 20th anniversary celebration event will be held in Johannesburg on Wednesday, September 15, 2010. It will be hosted by Professor Keith Lumsden, Director of Edinburgh Business School, and the keynote speaker will be Mrs Graça Machel.

The first 38 scholarship students are from14 countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia Zimbabwe.

Edinburgh Business School, the Graduate School of Business of Heriot-Watt University, launched in Africa in 1990 and now has 2,199 active students and 1,187 alumni across the continent. For more information see http://www.ebsglobal.net/africa.

For general information about the school and its activities see http://www.ebsglobal.net/.

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