The University of Cape Town (UCT) has launched its first management diploma specialising in business communication, with a goal of attracting students across all fields, from the humanities to engineering.
The one-year diploma course is expected to help fill a gap in developing managers who are highly skilled in business and corporate communication.
“The new postgraduate diploma is unique in that it combines a management diploma with a specialisation in business and corporate communications. It’s like a mini MBA in that students will learn a cross-range of managerial skills and practices,” UCT Faculty of Commerce Professional Communication Unit head Professor Terri Grant said at the launch this week.
The course is open to graduates from any field, excluding the business science degree.
Grant said students in fields such as engineering and science would be able to supplement their technical knowledge with skills that would empower them to become effective managers and leaders.
“Managing a project, a department or company requires team skills, knowledge of how to deal with conflict and ways to embrace diversity,” Grant told a media briefing in Cape Town.
Lecturer Gaontebale Nodoba said the diploma was a way of responding to curriculum transformation and would arm students with essential attributes needed for the workplace.
“The need for this diploma is clear from the fact that there is a compelling case for diversity management and intercultural know-how in the workplace. Intercultural communication is one of the three essential competencies in the global workplace, the others being problem-solving ability and leadership.
“Through this diploma, managers will develop sound knowledge and skills in communicating with people from different cultures within and outside their organisations. South Africans could benefit from this diploma because of the exposure to cultural know-how and effective inter- and cross-cultural communication,” he added.
The curriculum focuses on business and corporate communication and covers aspects such as team communication and management. Intercultural and diversity management will form an important part of the curriculum. Cultural diversity will be explored by looking at case studies. Campaign communications and reputation management will also be covered.
“We believe the course could make a valuable contribution to society. We’ll look at areas such as how do you turn a crisis into an advantage, managing your reputation and rebranding. Students will also be equipped with know-how on communicating about affirmative action and employment equity,” said Nodoba.
Grant said graduates interested in a business or corporate communication career would also find the diploma valuable.
“Whether as a campaign, media, human resources or public relations manager, company spokesperson, negotiator or communication strategist, you need the ability to curate, manage, present and disseminate information in engaging, relevant and appropriate ways.”
Digital communication will be covered in the course, with e-marketing, event management and project management among the elective courses.
Grant said the course could fast-track graduates into becoming managers.
“The need for well-educated managers at all levels of organisations and within all sectors is well documented. A dearth of suitably qualified business and corporate communication managers exists in South Africa and the continent and this qualification will contribute towards filling these shortages,” said Grant.