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GIBS Gordon Institute of Business Science

South Africa


Learning Methods

GIBS believes that business can be a force for good. It is inspired by its purpose of making business healthier in society and the natural environment. This purpose is evidenced along dimensions of human-centred, digital- and climate-leadership. The school integrates the UN SDGs into its programs and course curricula, learning design, learning outcomes and international partnership. Students are confronted with business’ responsibility to address the social, environmental, and digital challenges. Faculty are enabled to support students with input from the Centre for Business Ethics (CfBE), Centre for African Markets & Management (CAMM) and Centre for Leadership and Dialogues (CL&D), which collectively have a privileged access to key decision makers in business, civil society and government. This access is shared with students.

GIBS deploys multiple learning methods to achieve its learning outcomes. In particular, experiential learning methods are emphasised for their impact. For example, the Applied Business Project (ABP) uses experiential learning methods to achieve SDG-aligned outcomes, with students solving real-world challenges on a societal level by applying the theories and frameworks learnt in class. It is a mandatory course in GIBS' Post Graduate Diploma programme and represents a large-scale syndicate effort that runs for the duration of the program.

The ABP enables students to develop critical skills and competencies by tackling societal and environmental issues from a business perspective, and through evidence-based solutioning. Working in groups, students choose one of the SDGs to generate solutions that are compelling and implementable. Notable projects include food label innovations to prevent consumer food waste (SDG 12), incentive schemes to increase domestic recycling (SDG 13), and drone technology to reduce West Coast lobster poaching (SDG 14). The projects are purposefully complex and structured to ensure students grapple with the environmental, digital, and societal challenges in a multi-disciplinary and meaningful way.

A syndicate team site visit and observations in Alexandra Informal Settlement to gather data for their project focussed on SDG 2. The project aimed to determine ways to increase accessibility to food insecure urban areas through collaboration, transparency, and awareness. The research was focussed on non-profit organisations in the Alexandra informal settlement. The pictures show the GIBS students speaking with members of one non-profit organisation, the kitchen where they prepare food for children and the outside area where the children play.

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