Change the world

Faculty of Business and Economic Sciences

Ismail LagardienSiyanamnkela kwiCandelo lezoShishino kunye nobunjingalwazi kwezoqoqosho, Eli liziko lenu kwaye siyaqonda ukuba. Inguquko iqala kuthi. (Welcome to the Faculty of Business and Economics Sciences: It's your institution. We know that change and transformation starts with us).

The Faculty of Business and Economics is a vital part of a cornerstone educational institution that is dedicated to improving the lives and enhancing the opportunities of communities and of society, in general. The values of Nelson Mandela University inspire our dedication to strengthen the pace of social change, and of transformation that is organic, meaningful and durable. Standing still is not an option.

The inherent dynamism in the actual function of the economy and the innovation and vibrancy of the business world, in the context of recurrent global crisis in finance, economics and banking, and the social impact of these crises, make it important that we continuously evaluate and improve our teaching and research methods.

To achieve these objectives, starts with narrowing the gaps between theory, research and practice. Our teaching and knowledge production must take into consideration, therefore, our political economic, social and historical dynamics, situated, in turn, within global political economic realities. The world is mired, as it were, in a crisis that has had serious and debilitating consequences for communities and societies, across the highly industrialised countries of Europe, and deepened the social crises of unemployment, inequality, poverty, conflict and human geography in Africa. Our work, as an institution of higher learning must, therefore, be grounded in our communities and society – with unwavering commitment to creating a better future.

We must release our students and ourselves from the constricting view that businesses exist simply for profit-maximisation, towards understanding business as part of the social and political landscape. In this respect there should be no conflict between the objectives of society and those of business; we operate in a single space that is mutually constitutive and progressive. All of us in the Faculty of Business and Economics, staff and students, must be held to the highest standards of intellectual and rigour, and never should we hold back our imagination.

Even those among us most loyal to orthodox ways of doing things must appreciate that, as Alfred Marshall wrote more than a century ago, new social orders and epochs requires new ways of thinking. “Economic conditions,” Marshall wrote, “are constantly changing, and each generation looks at its own problems in its own way.” 

The current crisis in the global economy, has brought to the fore the shortcomings of orthodoxy in Economics, and has presented families, communities and firms with unprecedented challenges. Whereas most business schools prepare students for a particular first job, rather than teaching skills that may be useful throughout the career, we are dedicated to addressing, also, the enduring political economic and the social tensions of structural inequality and poverty. We will progressively, therefore, move between conceptions of our problems, as social and conventional wisdom that some of the answers to our problems are purely technical. Our Faculty are dedicated to these changes, and to approaches to knowledge production and teaching that address the most desperate needs of communities across the country and in the region. Utshintsho kunye neNguquko luqala kuthi

Dr. Ismail Lagardien
1 April 2016