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In 2009, Professor N. van den Berg, the acting Executive Dean at the time had the ambition to stimulate research within the Faculty of Commerce, Administration and Law. He had this vision of re-engineering the faculty into a research oriented one. The pet interest of this professor of law, was the abstract concept of Semiotics. Hence, the first theme of the inaugural faculty conference hosted in 2009 was Semiotics: Contemporary issues in Commerce and Law. 

This inaugural event was a huge success with staff members getting the taste and having the feel of what it would be like to embrace the culture of research. Subsequently, there have been two other faculty conferences which were interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary in nature, these too were extremely successful. Cutting our teeth at these events it was high time that the Faculty of Commerce, Administration and Law did something that would be more challenging than the previous events. Hence the birth of MBALI International Conference , which ushers in a new era for our faculty and staff.