Johannesburg: the Business Toehold into Africa
As I carry on the planning and preparations for the Intercontinental MBA program, I recently visited South Africa to make arrangements for student activities, faculty members and housing. Next October we will have an IMBA residency in Johannesburg. This vibrant city may be best known for gold and diamond mining, but it is also a center of banking and commerce. It has become a base from which global businesses extend their reach toward other quickly-expanding and emerging markets within Africa. One business executive pointed out to me that Africa is the only place on earth where consumers are buying products for the very first time. This creates opportunities of a wide range of businesses.
The city is home to incredible cultural, historical and natural treasures. The Pilansburg Game Reserve is nearby; while it not as vast or famous as Kruger National Park, it houses the “Big Five” animals sought by those on photo-safari. The park afforded myriad animal sightings on my short weekend jaunt to the area. Although I did not include it on this trip, the plan is to stop in Cape Town at the conclusion of our IMBA residency. Johannesburg in October is breathtakingly beautiful; it is spring there and the city is ablaze with the purple-blooming Jacaranda trees.
There are no Jesuit Universities in Africa, but we have a helpful and connected partner in the Jesuit Institute of South Africa. Raymond Perrier and staff at the Institute in Johannesburg, to whom I was introduced by our fellow blogger Professor Al Gini, have been incredibly helpful in making introductions and coordinating our forthcoming program there. The focus of the Institute is Social Enterprise in this developing region. Having sampled the educational, cultural and social resources that will contribute to our program, I am anxious to return and share this wonderful city with our IMBA students.