Press Release: Business & Creativity Melds in South Africa with Global Reach
PRESS RELEASE (10/2/2013) – Jon Foster Pedley, dean of Henley Business School in Africa, is delighted to announce that for the first time in Africa an MBA tailored for the music and creative industries will be launched, starting in March 2014. “Established by Henley UK in 2011, this is the first MBA of its kind in the world,” he says. “It is aimed at strengthening the music and creative industries’ management and leadership capabilities and to create better opportunity for all in these sectors.”
Author of The Art of Music Publishing: An Entrepreneurs Guide, Helen Gammons is the brains behind the programme. Having worked in the music industry for more than 30 years, she had seen first-hand the changes it has gone through.
She explains: “Ten years of decline in the music and creative industries as a whole have given us a rude wake-up call. If we’re to begin to grow again – and the signs are encouraging – then old habits and outdated thinking must be changed. Middle management and executives will have to acquire a much deeper, wider-ranging set of skills based around today’s business and, importantly, around business strategy. What has also become clear is the need to develop skills around creativity, innovation and digital in a much broader, customer-focused capacity.”
Because these skills are not easily learnt or absorbed whilst busy with day-to-day work, Gammons felt the MBA would provide industry players with the tools they’d need to up their game. She approached Henley UK’s dean, Prof John Board, who saw great possibilities in the idea and shared her vision of engaging with the music and creative industry sector.
“It wasn’t just about launching a programme, but also about changing the culture of an entire industry, and that was going to be a much bigger task,” she says. “It would mean showing them that business can be a welcomed partner to creativity if done well.
“You can’t shy away from the fact that alongside creativity, and alongside having a great idea, you need to be able to bring it to market, which is much harder than it used to be. There was a lot more money around before; people took a lot more risk, and one in ten projects might have worked. The industry is too small now to cope with that rate of failure, but to have a bigger hit rate and to be more focused, you have to have better strategies, an applied understanding of analytics, informing marketing strategies and a different relationship between artists and labels. In addition, you need the skills and knowledge for bringing a product to market, and dealing with and engaging with customers in innovative ways.
“Other industries do that perhaps better than ours, which is why the programme is so valuable – it provides the skills to see what’s out there, what organisations in other industries are doing and what the music and creative industries can adopt and develop.”
Having witnessed a greater move in recent years towards partnerships and collaboration in the sector, Gammons believes the Henley MBA for the Music & Creative Industries will be hugely beneficial to the sector. “Companies that used to compete are now working together, giving us a much broader set of skills and outlooks than we used to have. That’s where the MBA is really perfect – it’s designed for people who have a reasonable amount of business skill and experience already. Because applicants are not coming straight from university, they already have different experiences in business to share with each other as they start to explore different elements of the MBA.”
The MBA allows all students to study the core MBA together and then the music and creative industry sector have additional time together to contextulaise that information and discuss current matters. The programme is run similarly to Henley’sexecutive MBA by flexible learning, except that it has extra days built into the end of each module to allow students to contextualise their learning to the music and creative industries.
“It’s made for fantastic dialogue, because students can discuss the elements that come up during the module. It allows us to go left and right of where some of the core focus was and look at what’s resonating and how that translates into the industry. In addition we have a number of guest speakers to support the content.
The Financial Times has reported significant growth in what it refers to as “themed” MBAs such as the one Henley offers. It makes a lot of sense, says Gammons. “Whilst an MBA is broad, you’re generally left alone to do quite a lot in terms of how to apply it to your business and industry. This MBA allows you to have fun doing both.
“The Henley programme facilitates that and provides a clearer picture of certain facets of the sector. In so doing, it gives students a chance to: (1) gain a better understanding of the module; (2) focus in on the industry and also where the industry might be developing in that given area; (3) ask more questions and get the thought process moving; (4) reconsider what it means to them and their business and how they might be able to incorporate some of that knowledge.”
As with Henley’s MBA by flexible learning, its MBA for the Music & Creative Industries allows people to continue to work while studying without having to take too much time out of work.
She says one of the most exciting aspects of the programme is that students apply their assignment work to their business. “As the MBA has rolled out in the UK, it’s been fantastic to watch individuals apply knowledge for a module directly to their own businesses. We’ve always polled each module to see how students have felt about the delivery and content and have had enormously positive feedback.
“It is still early days but those people that know me find that my passion and commitment is quite infectious. I want to see people thrive, to see SMEs prosper and to see leadership in the sector that encourages creativity, innovation and passion. I look forward to my first trip to Henley Africa and meeting potential applicants and industry players who want to support this great initiative.”
Foster-Pedley adds: “The creative and music industries are critical to the growth of our economies as we seek to build and manage new forms of value and competitiveness. This is a fantastic opportunity to engage with Henley and the MBA is just the first step. Other short programmes and one-day programmes will be developed based on the local need.”
For more information visit: www.henleysa.ac.za
Get Analysts' Upgrades and Downgrades via Email - Stay on top of analysts' coverage with Analyst Ratings Network's FREE daily email newsletter that provides a concise list of analysts' upgrades and downgrades. Click here to register now.