Wits Business School journey back to #1

by Caro Malherbe and Shandukani Mulaudzi

After the resignation of Professor Wendy Ngoma, Director of the Wits Business School (WBS), Professor Adam Habib plans to fix the leadership “crisis” in order to restore the school to its former glory.

Habib said it was imperative to fix leadership first before trying to fix structural challenges, enrollment and reputation.

“To fix a problem, you first need to fix the leadership. Because you can have the best structure in the world but if you have the wrong leaders, it’s not going to work.”

No longer number one

Habib said the school was number one in the country a few years ago but has lost its place and that needed to change.

“It is no longer the number one school and that is not acceptable. We cannot have a situation where the number one school is not in the heart of the economy.”

Ngoma resigned earlier this month leaving the school without leadership. Habib said he was shocked as they had discussed her plans to resign however prior to her announcement there had been no formal agreement. “It took me by surprise when she announced it to the school and didn’t talk to me first because we wanted to manage the news flow around the issue.”

Leadership crisis

Wits Vuvuzela previously reported that leadership problems had contributed to the loss of MBA enrollment which the communications manager Jackie Mapiloko denied.

Habib however, said leadership was a crisis before Ngoma’s tenure and still continues to be. “I can say that we have had a problem with leadership, and it’s not only Wendy’s fault. I think that the problem with the business school is that it has had a leadership crisis for a number of years.

“It hasn’t been able to keep its directors, its directors hasn’t found it to be a happy place, staff are unhappy as such.”

MBA enrollment- A “technical glitch”

Habib blamed the low number of MBA student enrollment on a “technical glitch” but said lack of leadership led to the issue being insufficiently handled. He said WBS will not lose its international accreditation as enrollment numbers cannot affect accreditation based on a single year.

WBS has complained about there being a lack of autonomy from the main university when it comes to making decisions and financial management. Habib said the right leader is first needed before discussions of autonomy can be held. “Find the right leader. Then we’ll benchmark the autonomy required for this school compared to all the other business schools in the country and in the world and we’ll implement.”

The business school will be searching for candidates both locally and globally to fill the directorship over the next two weeks.

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