Alumnet

Dr Candice Booysen: My PhD journey and the quest for social impact

Balloons flying
Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/hot-air-balloons-flying-over-town-in-daytime-6243806/
  • March 15,2021
  • Tags Stellenbosch, business school, PhD, doctorate, social impact, industrial psychology, coaching, leadership, alumni

SHARE

Registered Industrial Psychologist and executive coach, Dr Candice Booysen, completed her PhD at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB). The new Chairperson for the USB Alumni UAE Chapter reflects on her fascinating journey towards achieving her doctorate degree.  

The PhD journey will challenge you and it can be a very lonely journey. It is a long climb with sweat and tears, but also with so many beautiful moments in between. I am a registered Industrial Psychologist with the Health Professional Council of South Africa. I hold an MCom degree in Industrial Psychology and completed my PhD at the University of Stellenbosch Business School in South Africa.

It is a long climb with sweat and tears, but also with so many beautiful moments in between.

Research suggests that on average, 50% of PhD students leave graduate school without finishing. Having graduated with my PhD, I realise what a privilege this is. It was also one of the most difficult journeys I’ve ever embarked on and I am thankful for the support from my family, friends, colleagues, organisations, research participants and my supervisors. There were many sacrifices along the way, but giving up was not an option.

There were many sacrifices along the way, but giving up was not an option.

I’ve been involved in community work for more than 15 years and I am passionate about the development of organisations, teams and individuals. Working in the IT sector where I have been responsible for the strategic direction of the human capital function for a number of organisations, I saw the need to provide organisations with understanding on how to lead and retain millennials in the workplace, backed by scientific evidence. Much of the data business leaders and managers used was either not science-based or was not based on South African research.

As a thought leader and strategic business partner, I hold a number of board positions and felt that we need to be a voice for millennials in the boardroom and help organisations update outdated talent management policies and assist in implementing more effective strategies in retaining their best talent. I am also privileged to speak at various conferences and I thought I would use that platform to serve business leaders with the findings of my research. I have been humbled by being a recipient of numerous awards in recognition for her contribution in various industries. These awards includes 100 Global Most Influential HR Professionals award, HR Rising Star award and Africa’s most influential women in business and government program award to mention a few.

Remember that PhD is about improving society, not chasing academic kudos.

I wish to encourage other scholars not to give up but to keep pushing. Remember that a PhD is about improving society, not chasing academic kudos. Let your passion to come up with solutions for societal or business challenges push you beyond the pain. To God be the glory for giving me the grace to finish my PhD whilst working full time, running an NPO, being a mentor and serving as a coach to other young professionals. It still remains a mystery to me – the more one serves, the greater one’s capacity is to achieve greatness. I’m learning more every day about the importance of to BE and not to DO. Focusing on the “To-do list” can be overwhelming – instead, focusing on our “To-be list” can be more liberating. Here is to you BE-ing a leader, courageous, powerful, influential and competent.

I was honoured to be a guest speaker at the opening academic ceremony of the business schools where I shared my journey including what informed my decision to pursue my degree with the Stellenbosch business school, my research highlights and the lessons the PhD has taught me.

Reasons for choosing USB

  • It has the highest-weighted research output per full-time academic staff member of all South African universities and the second-highest number of scientists in South Africa who have been rated by the National Research Foundation (NRF).
  • It also has the highest student success rate in the country.
  • I attended a 2-week doctorate training programme where I got a feel for the culture, programme, support structures and faculty members.

Highlights of the research journey

Highlights of my PhD journey include the special relationship developed with my supervisors, Professor Johan Malan and the late Dr Babita Mathur-Helm, and the amazing faculty and support staff: Dr Morrison, Prof Kidd, Dr Lara Skelly, Ronelle Galie and Sunelle Hanekom. And obviously, graduating after six years of sacrifice, hard work, commitment, and emotional highs and lows.

Another highlight was having the privilege of presenting my research internationally. I got to present my research at the 26th EDAMBA Summer Research Academyin Athens Greece in 2017, where I met Professor Joseph Hair in person. Also, I shared my research at the 35th European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (EIASM) workshop on Senior Human Resources Management in Portugal.

The lessons the journey taught me were how to be resilient, remain humble and the importance of staying curious. Having lost Dr. Babita made me realise how fragile life is and the importance of treasuring every moment with your loved ones as tomorrow is never promised. It is in her memory that I write this article and with a deep sense of gratitude towards her for being on this journey with me. Also to Prof Malan for his support and guidance, without whom this journey would not have been possible.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Candice Booysen

Dr Candice Booysen is a registered industrial psychologist and executive coach. She holds an MCom degree in industrial psychology and completed her PhD at the University of Stellenbosch Business School. She is a dynamic leader who is passionate about the development of organisations, teams and individuals.

She is responsible for the strategic direction of the human capital function for Interconnect Systems where she serves as the Human Capital Director. As a thought leader and strategic business partner, she holds a number of board positions including Phoenix AmeriCapital and Aquila Talent Solutions. With more than 15 years of experience, she has served as a talent specialist and organisational development practitioner in various industries serving in organisations such as BCX, Deloitte, Aspen Pharmacare, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Media 24, and University of the Western Cape.

She is the founder of a non-profit organisation called Releasing Eagles which is centred around the mentorship and coaching of young women in South Africa. She has also been a recipient of numerous awards and recognition for her contribution made in industry. These included being the winner of the HR Rising star award of the year, by HR Future (2016). She was nominated for the Standard Bank woman of the year award as well as a finalist for 2016 Institute of People Management HR Director of the Year Excellence Award. In 2017 she was recognised as one of 100 most influential HR professionals globally at the 25th World HRD Congress.

[Source: World HRD Congress]

SHARE

Related articles

Join the USB community

Keep up to date with the latest news, events and updates from USB

SUBSCRIBE NOW