Motivations and challenges: the South Africa Masters in Business Administration (MBA) experience

Linda Ronnie, Paul Wakeling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Little has been written about the characteristics of mature individuals enrolling in postgraduate management education, what motivates them to study, and what obstacles they overcome to get there. Our research addresses this gap in the literature through exploring student motivations for pursuing a Master in Business Administration (MBA) degree. Our findings show that common reasons for undertaking an MBA include business skills acquisition and enhancement, career progression and change, personal development, networking potential, and the prospect of academic stimulation. Obstacles encountered by our sample included financing the MBA, soliciting support from employers, (re)negotiating family commitments, time pressures, and apprehension in returning to the academic environment. The issues are not exclusive to South Africa and by understanding them, business schools more broadly may benefit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-51
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Teaching and Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • MBA
  • Mature students
  • Management education
  • South Africa
  • Return to study

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