SHL Assessments

Providing future business leaders with advanced knowledge and skills to rise above in competitive environments.

About USB

  • Industry: Higher Education
  • Geography: South Africa
  • Alumni: Over 28 000 students from all over the globe
  • Full-time MBA ranked as top program in Africa (by Universal, an international education rating agency)
  • Ranked the Best Universal business school with strong global influence


  • Selecting students who will cope and succeed in an MBA program
  • Predicting future effectiveness of leaders at the Admissions stage
  • Ensuring a fair, reliable and valid process for students from multiple backgrounds


  • Predictive power – positive significant correlations found between academic results and SHL assessment scores
  • USB have gained a reliable, holistic view of candidate’s leadership potential and fit to program
  • Enhanced candidate experience reported and established fairness and validity for the African context

Client Challenge

The University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) is a triple-accredited African business school and offers a world-class MBA. USB is focused on responsible leadership development through well-grounded business education and research. USB needed to select students for their MBA program who possess the right behavioral profile and cognitive abilities to ensure that they will be able to cope with and succeed in the program, as well as predicting their future effectiveness as a leader. Applicants also needed to be measured in a fair, reliable and valid manner.


SHL assessments were chosen by USB to complement its inclusive approach, which takes into account a variety of quantitative and qualitative criteria, and include:

  • Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ)
  • Verify Verbal Reasoning
  • Verify Numerical Reasoning
  • Verify Inductive Reasoning

The results from these assessments form part of USB’s overall selection process, which aims to assess an individual’s aptitude, personality attributes, management competencies, motivation, and previous work experience. The assessment results are also used for personal reflection and discussions during the MBA as part of the leadership discourse.

University of Stellenbosch Business School Client Success Story
  • In essence, the key reason why we prefer SHL as our assessment is really because we like to measure potential because of our all-inclusive approach. It’s also important for us to have an assessment tool that is relevant to the South African context, in that it is fair, culturally fair, and is not biased against any of our fundamental South African criteria, such as learning orientation, background, culture or gender.

    Janine Truter
    Manager: Career Services
    University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB)
University of Stellenbosch Business School Client Success Story


USB have found some of the benefits of using SHL’s assessments to be:

  • Candidate Experience: No lengthy preparation required and shorter testing
    time than many other tests available used to assess a candidate’s suitability for
    an MBA.
  • Holistic View: Provides a more complete picture of the candidate’s capabilities
    and offers the opportunity for personal development feedback.
  • Reliable and Valid: The SHL tests are well-validated instruments used
    extensively in the local context.

In 2012, a validation study conducted showed statistically significant correlations between the ability test results and the USB MBA course modules. A research study conducted in 2019, analyzed more recent MBA graduate data and again found positive significant correlations between academic results for the various MBA modules and the student’s assessment scores (both personality and ability). These results further support the use of the assessments to help predict students’ MBA performance.