The Heriot-Watt University, established in 1821, the eight oldest higher educational institution in the UK, created the Edinburgh Business School (EBS) in 1997, as a subsidiary company to focus on the needs of working professionals who want to enhance their skills and career progression but do not have the desire or the opportunity to take extended study leave.


It subsidises distance-learning MBA course fees in sub-Saharan Africa to reflect local economic conditions. Course fees include the course text and access to the course website, with no additional textbook requirements.


Programmes are designed to offer maximum flexibility to students who can study entirely independently. The flexible approach was pioneered by the school’s founder, Professor Keith Lumsden and has been key to its success. Following the recently released ‘Online MBA 2012 Listing’, by The Financial Times, EBS remains listed as the world's largest online MBA program with more than 10 000 enrolled students.


Students are expected to have a recognised honours degree, or equivalent professional qualification. But for those who do not have a first degree, entry can still be gained by passing three MBA courses at which time they’ll be eligible to receive a Postgraduate Certificate in Business Administration.


EBS Southern Africa is the local support office for students in South Africa, providing administrative support for students studying locally. The web-based faculty board provides a place where students can ask questions of the faculty about key concepts, self-assessment materials or other matters concerning the course, answered on a regular basis by the school’s faculty. 


Corporate Governance is an elective course on the MBA programme. The aim of the course is to provide tools with which students can understand the essence of an existing system of corporate governance and how it might be improved. The primary objective is to help students to become familiar with the concepts and issues that make corporate governance important and to develop the confidence to analyse governance problems, develop realistic ways to solve them and the ability to persuade decision makers to adopt them.


Students can take as much time as they need to complete their MBA programme as the programmes are modular, so students can choose to master one subject at a time (often chosen to meet a specific job need), or study a range of subjects intensively to gain their degree as quickly as is achievable.


The MBA has been offered in Africa since 1990 and it has over 1000 alumni from across the continent, including more than 500 from South Africa. Relevance of an international MBA in most countries, including South Africa, is enormous, evident in the fact that there is an ever-increasing demand by students to gain experience of globally accepted business practices.


It offers four specialist MSc programmes. Each one has been designed to maximise the career prospects of those involved in finance, marketing, HR and strategic planning. It also offers a DBA programme.