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Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences

The Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences is a dynamic and innovative faculty that effectively meets the demands and challenges of the fast-changing economic and management environment.

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The University of the Free State (UFS) has appointed Prof Nicolene Barkhuizen as Director of its Business School as from 1 November 2023.


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Prof Barkhuizen holds a PhD in Industrial Psychology from the North-West University and began her academic career as a research assistant at the same institution before gaining lecturing experience at the University of Johannesburg and the University of Pretoria, among others. Currently, she is full professor in the Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). She is also the Director of the Centre for Work Performance and Deputy Head of the Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management at UJ. 


“Prof Barkhuizen brings a wealth of experience and expertise. She is a globally recognised expert on talent management and one of the country’s leading industrial psychologists. Her management experience in higher education, her extensive publication record, and her drive for excellence makes her the ideal person to lead the UFS Business School to new heights,” says Prof Philippe Burger, Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences


Prof Barkhuizen is regarded as the leading author on talent management on the African continent; she is globally recognised for her work in this area and has occupied various executive and senior management positions thus far. She has been part of several national and international teaching and research associations, bodies, and committees and is a member of numerous national and international bodies. 


Research outputs and prestigious acknowledgements 


Prof Barkhuizen’s research outputs to date has resulted in more than 150 accredited research publications, 180 peer-reviewed conference presentations, two books, and eight book chapters. She has also received various prestigious acknowledgements for her research outputs, such as the National Women in Science award for best junior researcher in the field of Social Sciences from the Minister of Science and Technology. She is also well versed in supervising postgraduate research, lecturing, and consulting. 


“I am delighted and excited to be afforded the opportunity to join the vibrant and dynamic UFS team. The UFS Business School's motto to "provide individuals with an exceptional opportunity to Be Worth More” resonated with me immediately, as I am passionate about developing and empowering individuals from all walks of life.  As a result, I am convinced that the UFS Business School is ideally positioned to invest in the talents of today and tomorrow by equipping individuals with the entrepreneurial compass to navigate a VUCA-BANI world to launch sustainable business ventures. We live in a time when there are numerous opportunities to provide innovative and creative solutions for the development of individuals on multiple societal levels. Together with my team, I look forward to expanding and establishing the UFS Business School as the preferred incubator for education that will transform, empower, and sustain the lives of future-fit leaders and societies through business education excellence.


My motto is: “If you want to make a success in life, you need to take at least ten people with you.” Now, more than ever, is the opportunity to invest in education and build a nation on the footprints of knowledge,” she says.

The Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at the University of the Free State is pleased to announce its affiliation with the prestigious American-based Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute of Investment and Financial Professionals. The affiliation of the Bachelor of Commerce in Investment Management and Banking with the CFA programme demonstrates that the programme embeds a significant portion of the intensive CFA programme’s candidate body of knowledge (CBK) and standards of professional conduct. This reflects the rigour and value of our degree programme in the field of investment and portfolio management.  

“The affiliation signals to potential students, employers, and the marketplace that the UFS BCom Investment Management and Banking curriculum is closely tied to professional practice and is well-suited to prepare students for a brighter carrier in the investment field and better placed to sit for the CFA examinations,” says Dr Nico Keyser, the Head of the Department of Economics and Finance in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at the UFS.

Through participation in this programme, the university is eligible to receive CFA programme student scholarships each year, thereby massively contributing to the much-needed skill set of well-grounded financial analysts who can take our financial sector to new heights.

According to Dr Keyser, aligning the UFS degree programme with the CFA curriculum will equip students with the expertise and real-world skills in investment analysis that will set them apart from other institutions and peers. “We encourage our students to pursue professional certification that distinguishes them in the market and enhances their job execution skills, innovation, and employability,” says Dr Keyser. 

The CFA programme is an international postgraduate, globally recognised professional designation offered by the American-based CFA Institute to investment and financial professionals. To become a CFA charter holder, candidates are required to pass three exam levels covering the fundamentals of investments tools, valuing assets, portfolio management and wealth planning, and acceptable work experience to obtain the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) designation.   

The CFA Institute is the world's largest association of investment professionals. Members attain the prestigious designation of 'Chartered Financial Analyst', and many hold prominent roles in leading investment firms in financial centres worldwide. 

“Aligning our programme with the CFA code of ethics and standard of professional conduct sets us apart in terms of preparing graduates who are ethically grounded and ready to execute their duties in an ethical and professional manner, which is a major necessity in the financial analysis and investment field. The affiliation is part of our continued commitment to promoting the highest standards of ethics and professional excellence in our investment graduates, which is one of the tenets of the CFA curriculum in grounding investment professionals for better functioning capital markets,” adds Keyser.

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