03 December 2018 | Story Charlene Stanley | Photo Charlene Stanley
Prof Helena Strauss
Prof Helena van Zyl, Director of the UFS Business School, says the accreditation endorses their important role in empowering business leaders.

The Business School of the University of the Free State (UFS) received an International Qualifications Assessment accreditation by the Central and East European Management Development Association (CEEMAN) this week.
 
“This is an endorsement for the level of quality and relevance of the Business School. I’ve been inundated with well-wishes via phone and emails from current and former students. They all realise the tremendous benefits this holds for everyone affiliated with our Business School, as the quality of our qualifications are now recognised globally,” says Prof Helena Van Zyl, Director of the UFS Business School.

“On behalf of the executive management, I would like to congratulate Prof Van Zyl and her team on this fine achievement. The accreditation is a feather in the cap of the university and it is indeed an accomplishment to be proud of,” says Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.
  
CEEMAN is an international management-development association with the aim of accelerating the growth in quality of management development in Central and Eastern Europe. The association has more than 220 members from over 55 countries in Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Thorough evaluation process

The accreditation is the culmination of two years of hard work – first to apply by submitting an overview of operations, then drawing up a self-assessment report with appendices of over 1 000 pages. Finally, a peer-review team with panel members from Latvia, Poland, and Mauritius came to the Bloemfontein Campus for an on-site assessment. In two and a half days, the panel conducted detailed, thorough interviews with 85 different people – from staff and students, to industry partners, the dean, and members of the rectorate.
    
Aspects which the panel focused on included the school’s mission and strategic focus, legal status and governance, research output, physical facilities, financial viability, contribution to the local community, use of technology, and even how environmental needs are met.

“It’s been an incredibly intense but very rewarding experience,” says Prof Van Zyl. “The review team was very professional and strategic in their approach and also gave valuable input and advice.” 

Team members were particularly impressed by the overwhelmingly positive experiences recorded by students, as well as the state-of-the-art facilities.

Passionate about people

“We think of ourselves as a ‘Boutique Business School’ ”, explains Prof Van Zyl. “We are focused on quality and are extremely structured and disciplined, which ultimately creates a safety net for students and staff. We’re also small enough to build personal relationships with our students.”

She believes this to be the secret of the Business School’s tremendous success record over the 20 years of its existence.

“We are passionate about people and believe in creating a caring environment for them while they’re here.”