The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has established itself as an institution of global excellence and world-class stature, while providing accessible higher education. The scale and accessibility of UJ highlights the University as a new-generation university-of-choice anchored in Africa, seeking continuously to deliver its strengths in serving Pan-African ideals, among which is its footprint in management education.

Between 2013 and 2016 all nine UJ faculties were intensively reviewed by panels of international academic luminaries in their fields. In 2014, panels convened for the Faculty of Management and the Faculty of Economic and Financial Sciences. In the report pertaining to the Faculty of Management, two important recommendations were made, namely, the proposal for the formation of a Johannesburg Business School, and the importance of a closer connection between the disciplines in the two faculties.

This led to UJ embarking on a collective dream: the creation of an entirely new formation at UJ, in the form of a College of Business and Economics, one that would effectively merge two of the largest faculties at UJ into a single, integrated mega-entity that will lead the African continent into a new era of academic and professional knowledge production and professional expertise.

In addition, a study was conducted into what it would take to reposition commerce education, asking the question as to how quality educational offerings would influence an increasingly competitive environment, especially given the flow of management postgraduates out of the continent to international destinations. Benchmark providers of commerce higher education that house a business school in various organisational configurations were purposefully sampled from the global population of an estimate 12 623 providers of higher education management, finance, and economics.

Attention was given to providing a balanced perspective aligned with, and within reasonable reach of, the UJ strategic intent towards global excellence and stature by 2025. The sample also covered economies in different stages of economic development, the impact of the number of years in existence, and Quacquarelli Symonds rankings comparable to or better than UJ.

From the kernel of an idea planted by International Faculty Reviews in 2014, the fully-fledged College of Business and Economics, in short CBE, came into being on 1 July 2017 by combining the innovative strengths of the historical Faculty of Economic and Financial Sciences, and Faculty of Management.

The CBE comprises six Schools that included the Johannesburg Business School, that became a stand-alone UJ faculty in 2022. In 2021 the School of Management was established to include the four academic departments that previously resided in the JBS. The College’ six schools are the:

Within these Schools are located a broad array of academic departments, research centres, a research laboratory, and an institute, diverse in their disciplines and aligned in their vision. The College also houses three SARChI Chairs (South African Research Chairs Initiative). The CBE has evolved into a preferred commerce education provider who, within three years, has achieved global recognition.