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Prof Theuns Pelser - Should you specialise in a manufacturing MBA?

A speaker remarked at a recent MBA expo in Johannesburg: “Selecting an MBA has become a minefield: full-time, part-time, hybrid, blended, distance, online, one-year, two-year and even five-year programmes, synchronous, asynchronous, block release study, weekend studies ... How do you begin to choose?”

The following criteria should be considered when choosing an MBA programme:

1. Career Goals

Determine your career objectives and whether the MBA programme aligns with them. Through the partnership with GIBS Business School (Gordon Institute of Business Science) and Toyota Wessels Institute for Manufacturing Studies, you can specialise in a manufacturing focused MBA.

2. Accreditation

Ensure that the MBA programme is accredited by a recognised accrediting body. GIBS Business School (Gordon Institute of Business Science) is Triple Crown accredited, holding EQUIS accreditation from the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), as well as accreditation from the Association of MBAs (AMBA), and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

3. Programme Reputation

Research the reputation of the business school and MBA programme. Look at rankings, faculty expertise, and alumni success. In the five years of offering the manufacturing MBA, the Toyota Wessels Institute for Manufacturing Studies has delivered high academic standards, including two overall top MBA students on the GIBS MBA programme.

4. Networking Opportunities

Assess the school’s alumni network and its connections to industries or companies you are interested in. Networking can significantly benefit MBA programmes and the students at the Toyota Wessels Institute for Manufacturing Studies belong to a community of high calibre manufacturing leaders.

5. Cost and Financial Aid

Evaluate the cost of tuition and other expenses. Consider your financial situation and research scholarships, grants, and loans that may be available. As you probably will only do one MBA in your lifetime, quality over cost should be the deciding factor. Toyota Wessels Institute for Manufacturing Studies offer the Manufacturing Ambassador Scholarship.

Ultimately, the right MBA programme will be one that not only meets your career and educational objectives but also fits your unique circumstances and aspirations. Conduct thorough research, visit campuses if possible, and speak with current students and alumni to gather as much information as possible before making your decision.

Scholarship Summary

Toyota Wessels Institute for Manufacturing Studies (TWIMS) Scholarship Summary.


TWIMS was founded in 2018 with the vision of achieving an industrialised Africa based on world-class manufacturing.

TWIMS partners with the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) to offer an MBA with a manufacturing focus, which is taught exclusively at TWIMS’ modern campus in Kloof, Durban.

Need for Scholarships

Recognising the financial barriers faced by many deserving South Africans in accessing the GIBS MBA, TWIMS has introduced the Manufacturing Ambassador Scholarship.

Thanks to an endowment from the Toyota South Africa Educational Trust, up to 20 scholarships will be awarded annually from 2021.

Scholarships cover 50% of the PGDip and up to 70% of MBA tuition, global module expenses, and residency costs during block releases and exam periods.

Eligibility & Requirements

  • Open to all South Africans with interest in manufacturing or related sectors.

  • Only those with remarkable talent and a deep commitment to African industrialisation qualify.

  • Scholarship recipients will operate as ‘goodwill’ ambassadors of TWIMS and GIBS MBA (manufacturing focus) and must adhere to top ethical standards. A signed contract confirming these obligations is needed.

Application Process

  1. Firstly, candidates must apply for the GIBS MBA (manufacturing focus). This application is independent of TWIMS, and costs aren’t reimbursed by TWIMS. Only high-calibre students are accepted, and those not accepted by GIBS won’t qualify for the scholarship.

  2. After applying to GIBS, students can begin the TWIMS Ambassador Scholarship application via the TWIMS website.

Required documents include a CV (max two pages) detailing outreach/volunteer work and a 500-word motivational letter discussing their identity as a manufacturing ambassador and the challenges they wish to address as future manufacturing leaders.

Application Status

Applications for the Manufacturing Ambassador Scholarship are currently open.

For more information: Prof. Pelser at


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