26 May 2021, Johannesburg, South Africa. MEDIA entrepreneur Alexander Leibner has been awarded the Dean’s Creative Industries Scholarship to study his executive MBA at Henley Business School Africa.
It’s full circle for the seasoned media-man who started his media career while he was still at high school, broadcasting on campus radio at Rhodes Music Radio (RMR) in Makhanda (Grahamstown), before working on RAU Radio at what is now the University of Johannesburg, as he completed his BComm degree through Bond University.
His formal two-decade long media career began at Talk Radio 702 where he worked as a producer, before moving to Multichoice, initially on K-TV and then latterly as creative director developing flagship programming across multiple channels. He then moved to Africa Business News (ABN), where he spent over 10-years, some of which as head of group marketing of ABN, which owns CNBC Africa and Forbes Africa, and latterly heading up ABN’s event production company.
At the end of 2019, he left to venture on his own, establishing a digital first media start-up, the Sandton Media Group and joining Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve as well, as a consultant and speaker, contributing to the futurist’s global think tank, an independent and innovative consultancy to Fortune 500 companies on future trends.
Leibner had actually planned to do his MBA at Henley Africa at the start of 2020, after completing his PDBA at Pretoria University’s Gordon Institute of Business Science, but then COVID-19 struck.
“With every element of our lives, businesses and routines deconstructed, I decided to wait, watch and adapt to, what broadcasters would call ‘a developing story’. After a necessary process of waiting and watching, I felt more prepared moving into 2021, to tackle amongst other things, my MBA, with confidence. This must surely be one of the most fascinating times to be exchanging ideas and thoughts with peers on the way things were, are and can be,” he said.
The timing might have changed, but not his decision to study through Henley Africa.
“Over the years, Henley Africa has grown into a formidable education brand in the South African market – a market filled with very well-established players. However, it’s once I got to know the school’s leadership and approach to doing business in a very different way, that that became the deciding factor, as well as the institution’s global recognition and international ties.
“Henley Africa is ‘different’ in the business school context and ‘different’ is just what the future needs. The world has changed so much in a year, that I can only begin to imagine where and what I will be in three years, once the MBA is completed. I do believe that I shall be well equipped, not necessarily with just knowledge, but a way of thinking and problem solving, that will help shape the brands and businesses of tomorrow and hope to either be scaling or selling some of my IP.
“Just the fact that this MBA will most likely begin in a virtual class setting, studying remotely, and end back in a physical class or a hybrid environment says a lot about how unusual and different the class of 2024 will be. In a time where everything is up in the air, anything is also within reach.”
For Henley Africa dean and director Jon Foster-Pedley there was no hesitation whatsoever when it came to awarding Leibner the Dean’s Creative Industries Scholarship.
“I had the privilege of getting to know Alexander when I was a judge on CNBC Africa’s All Africa Business Leader Awards and I have watched his career with great interest as he pivoted before the pandemic to create his own digital media start up, launch his media consultancy and start working with Faith Popcorn, who of course has become very well known to the Henley family for the work she has done with us over the last year.”
The media sector, said Foster-Pedley, found itself in a period of incredible change; highly volatile and uncertain.
“But because of this, there’s also an unprecedented opportunity for innovation and creativity. This could be a perfect storm, and someone like Alexander who has such extensive experience from content creation to marketing and management, is the perfect candidate for us to help by providing the skills to create a sustainable future-facing business that will be resilient to the after-shocks that this pandemic will still provide.”
- Henley Business School Africa is a leading global business school with campuses in Europe, Asia and Africa. It holds elite triple international accreditation; has the number 1 business school alumni network in the world for potential to network (Economist 2017); and is the number 1 African-accredited and -campused business school in the world for executive education (FT 2018, 2020), as well as the number 1 MBA business school in South Africa as rated by corporate SA (PMR.Africa 2018, 2019, 2020).