Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Business School Leaders for tomorrow
PDBA Diploma

block release
Cape Town, Gauteng, Durban & East London

For enquiries contact:

Applications for 2024 will commence in May 2023.


The PDBA aims to provide talented, professional men and women with a broad-based theoretical and practical knowledge of Business Management. 

The primary purpose of this qualification is two-pronged. Firstly, it broadens your knowledge of the business environment by preparing you for the challenges faced in the workplace and to grasp the concept of business management. Secondly, it provides you with the necessary knowledge, understanding and ability required to not only manage other employees but also your own future successfully.

This PDBA further provides broad exposure to the processes and functions of business management within the context of an integrated, holistic organisational approach and a transforming socio-economic setting.

This programme is designed in such a way that it integrates with our new MBA and thus not only provides academic synergy but also a pathway to our renowned MBA programme. Students that progress onto the MBA programme will be granted credits for the following modules:

  • People Management (Human Resource Strategy)
  • Management Economics
  • Management Accounting


Admissions Criteria

At Nelson Mandela University Business School, prospective PDBA block release students are required to meet the following admissions criteria: 


  • An Undergraduate Degree or Advanced Diploma (or BTech) at NQF Level 7 (must be a formal qualification). Should you have completed your qualification through a college, you would have to have the qualification SAQA approved.
  • Applicants must reside within a 60 km radius of the Nelson Mandela University Business School centres: East London, Cape Town, Gauteng or Durban.
  • Be fluent in English. Applicants not fluent in English will be required to produce an English Proficiency certificate to verify English language skills.

An applicant who meets the above criteria will then progress onto the second phase of the application process: the writing of the Psychometric Test.


  • All applicants are required to complete the psychometric test as part of their application process.
  • Students need to score a 5 or higher on  each of the assessment criteria’s on the psychometric (SHL) test; or
  • Students writing the NMAT Test need to obtain a minimum score of 160 out of 360; or
  • Students writing the GMAT test need to obtain a score of 520 or higher.

Once the test has been completed the application will be reviewed and those applicants who meet the application criteria for phase 1 and phase 2 will be asked to partake in an interview (PHASE 3).

Those who do not meet the criteria for phase 1 or phase 2 will not be allowed to further partake in the application process, and their application will be deemed ‘not successful’.


The PDBA block release programme is presented over 12 months (one year) to students residing in, and around, one of its centres (Gauteng, Cape Town, Durban or East London - within a 60km radius).


Trimester Module Structure 


TRIMESTER 1 (Feb – May)

Integrated Management Practice
Marketing Management 
Accounting for Business*

TRIMESTER 2 (May – Aug)

Operations Management
Management Accounting
Human Resource Strategy

TRIMESTER 3 (Aug – Nov)

Management Economics

Exit: PDBA degree

*Accounting for Business is a foundation programme for Management Accounting. If an applicant completed Accounting in their first year at university, they will not be required to enrol for this module.


Students that progress onto the MBA programme will be granted credits for the following modules:

  • People Management (Human Resource Strategy)
  • Management Economics
  • Management Accounting


Class Presentation

The programme is presented as follows:

  1. A study visit to Gqeberha (PE). 
    Each year is divided into 3 trimesters (12 weeks per trimester). You will be required to travel to PE for a study visit at the beginning of Trimester One (February). The study visit in PE normally runs from Friday to Sunday and attendance is compulsory.
  2. Live streaming of classes via the Zoom / Teams platform. The live video sessions allow for a virtual classroom experience where students and lecturer can interact with each other.
  3. Site visits by the Business School Director in Trimester Two and Three to each of the Block delivery sites.


Delivery Sites


Cape Town


East London


Group Work

All students accepted onto the PDBA programme are assigned to a syndicate group. Group members are selected and assigned according to their professional expertise and experience so as to best replicate a management team in the working environment. PDBA students will work together in their groups over the 12 month period. You will be required to meet with your group members on a regular basis (at least once a week) to work on assignments.


Tests and Exams

All exams are written at the delivery points (Gqeberha (PE), Gauteng, Cape Town, Durban or East London).  Tests are written on weekends (Saturdays) and exams in the week.


Main Campus & International Head Office

Nelson Mandela University Business School
2nd Avenue Campus
Port Elizabeth, 6000
South Africa



Learning Methods & Techniques

Formal Lectures. Analyses of case studies. International Guest Speakers and Lecturers. Facilitated Group Discussion. Presentation of Group Assignments. Conducting applied research on real business problems.


International Learning Experience

An international learning experience is offered through our network of Business School Affiliates and the Nelson Mandela University Office for International Education as well as our cohort of international students.



Our faculty and lecturers are the driving force behind our cutting-edge programmes and provide the best learning experience.

Media, industry, working individuals and professionals, government and leaders turn to our faculty for the latest insights, knowledge and expertise.

We are driven by a set of values geared to ensure that employees and students are holistically empowered as leaders, innovators, agents of change and independent thinkers that will contribute to ecological and economic sustainability and the upliftment of community and society.


(Not apllicable for RPL candidates)

It is important to apply early if you want to secure a place on the programme. Seats are limited.