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A Focus on USB Alumni Association Mpumalanga Chapter

USB News

A Focus on USB Alumni Association Mpumalanga Chapter

USB Alumni Association

  • MAY 02
  • Tags Alumni, Chapter, Mpumalanga, Responsible Leaders

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The Mpumalanga chapter of the USB Alumni Association confirmed their committee at their AGM in November 2018. Under the leadership of Mrs Elyssa Spreeth, this chapter hosted a series of alumni-industry dialogue sessions and continuous learning events during 2017 and 2018. Elyssa, notes the committee’s focus to invigorate commitment and motivation of alumni in Mpumalanga.

The Mpumalanga Chairperson, Elyssa Spreeth, has been elected as the USB Alumni Association Chairperson for a term of three years. Congratulations Elyssa, and we look forward to your leadership for the Alumni Association chapters!

During the past year, this team facilitated a collaboration agreement between USB Alumni Mpumalanga and SAIEE (South African institute of Electrical engineers) Mpumalanga. Through this collaboration, events costs are shared, which enables USB to market to a wider audience including engineers that might be interested in future studies at USB. It is believed that at least one engineer took up studies at USB as a result of this intervention.

The SAIEE presidential address took place in May 2018, where the discussion focussed on South African infrastructure. USB alumni chapter invited alumni and the event was sponsored by SAIEE. During August 2018, Dr Piet Croucamp was the guest speaker and focused on the upcoming elections, the post Nasrec scenarios for South Africa. The event was sponsored by SAIEE.

During August 2018, Dr Piet Croukamp was the guest speaker and focused on the upcoming elections, the post Nasrec scenarios for South Africa. The event was sponsored by SAIEE.

During November, futurist Michiel Jonker presented on “How macro international events influences South Africa”.

In April 2019, Dr Piet Croucamp followed up on his presentation with a review of “The Ramaphosa conundrum: A mandate for post capture governance:  The most likely outcomes of the 8 May election, the percentages and outcomes”.

Meet the Committee
Elyssa Spreethholds a B.Sc Information Technology (2002) and a Engineering degree (2003) from the Rand Afrikaans University and an MBA from USB (2013). Elyssa is registered with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) as a professional engineer since 2008. She has eight years’ experience in the Mining industry where she has worked as a project engineer, reliability engineer and an electrical engineer on various projects and maintenance activities. She also has eight years’ experience in the Petrochemical environment where she successfully managed an engineering team to design and construct a new plant in the Refinery and was the commercial lead on a Mega Project.

Francois Smith holds a B. Engineering degree from University of Stellenbosch (1994), a B.Sc Statistics from UNISA (1998) and an MBA from USB (2005).  He is registered with the Institute for South Africa Professional Engineers since 1998. He works primarily in project management in heavy industry (Eskom 1995 to 1998, Iscor Mining 1999 to 2004) and with Tenova Pyromet 2004 to present.  He managed local and international projects with the latest being a Silica Metal furnace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ludolph de Klerk holds a B. Engineering degree (2004) from the University of Pretoria and an MBA from USB (2016). Ludolph is registered with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) as a professional engineer since 2015 and also holds an Electrical Engineer’s Certificate of Competence (GCC) for Metalliferous Mines. He comes from a mining environment where working safely is essential and practical implementation and maintenance of equipment is key. Ludolph prides himself on good working knowledge of electrical engineering principles and well-formed relationships (peers and clients) to execute projects successfully.

Pieter du Plessis holds a B.Commerce degree in Investment Management from the University of Pretoria, (2007), and a MBA from University of Stellenbosch Business School, (2016). Pieter is employed in the South African Financial Services Industry, at First National Bank since 2008.  He has gained extensive experience in the ATM and Business Banking industries in South Africa. His current role at FNB Business Banking as the Regional Head of Investments for the Inland Provinces (Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, Freestate, Northern Cape), contributes to his wealth of business banking experience. Pieter is married to Ansie Du Plessis and have two boys aged four and two. He keeps busy with volunteer rescue work with Off Road Rescue Unit in the Lowveld and Crossfit. He lives in Nelspruit.

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Entrepreneurship and the Red Queen Effect

USB News

Entrepreneurship and the Red Queen Effect

  •  Daniel Strauss
  • AUG 23 2018
  • Tags Alumni, Entrepreneurship

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Article written by Daniel Strauss, MBA alumnus and lecturer at USB

If you look at the growth forecasts of the five largest competitors in any market, it is certain that all of them would be planning to increase their market share in the short or medium term by being better than they are today. However, it is impossible for all players in a relatively finite market to gain market share simultaneously and these top executives should know that, right?

It would seem that all of them are under the impression that they have the skills to stay ahead or at least keep up with the Red Queen Effect (if you do not move you fall behind). So, what separates the ones that try to get ahead from the ones that actually do?

After doing a Full-time MBA in 2007 at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), I went into the job market at the height of the financial crisis and soon realised that entrepreneurship is risky, but not nearly as risky as being employed by someone else. So, armed with my MBA and an Industrial Engineering degree, I was confronted with the challenge of learning how to “get ahead” by being an entrepreneur, rather than an employee.

“I went into the job market at the height of the financial crisis and soon realised that entrepreneurship is risky, but not nearly as risky as being employed by someone else.”
– Daniel Strauss, USB alumnus and director of Stocks and Strauss (Pty) Ltd

I am extremely grateful to have met wonderful mentors who showed me the bigger picture of building a business and raising funds as an entrepreneur. We started our private equity and venture capital firm in August 2013 with a very small pool of our own capital and today we are providing permanent employment to more than 130 people including CAs, lawyers, engineers, creatives, programmers and factory workers in our portfolio companies.

We have also grown the capital base of our investment company with more than 4200% since inception by applying an established set of methods and concepts on a daily basis. Even though we started very small due to an initial lack of capital, the guidance from various mentors enabled us to achieve significant growth in a relatively short period of time, enabling us to surpass the value that we would have been able to create as employees.

It is therefore a great privilege to be able to provide MBA students at the USB with a glimpse of these methods and concepts as a guest lecturer. Teaching current students about certain aspects of entrepreneurship that I wish I had learnt during my MBA in 2007.

They say that maximum growth occurs at the border of support and challenge. Entrepreneurs and executives leaning too far towards the “challenge” side of the spectrum may run the risk of significant financial and emotional strain or even burn-out, while those hiding on the “support” side of the spectrum run the risk of stagnation and falling so far behind that it becomes almost impossible to keep up with our fast-changing society. In my experience the executives and entrepreneurs who experience the most rapid and sustainable growth are those who aim for accelerated growth under the guiding hand of a mentor or mentors, pushing the boundaries while knowing they will be guided and reinforced by a strong support system before overextending themselves.

For anything to succeed it requires a strong foundation, only once the foundation is rock solid will the creative side be able to complement the foundation and thereby lead to the emergence of true value. So, while some may focus on hyping up their companies with clever structures, mergers and acquisitions they are bound to fail at some stage due to a deficient foundation. While others may be too risk-averse to take the leap and thereby overlooking the fact that avoiding new opportunities are sometimes even more risky than taking a well-considered risk on that new technology or development in your industry.

My challenge to you is to find that sweet spot where you are pushing your own boundaries while making sure that your support system will be able to guide you before pushing yourself too far. Face the brutal truth of your current situation while reaching for the stars and you may just pass that Red Queen sooner than you ever thought possible.

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Alumnus Simon Meyer on the incubator project at Steel Best Manufacturing in PE

USB News

Alumnus Simon Meyer on the incubator project at Steel Best Manufacturing in PE

  • Simon Meyer
  • AUG 23 2018
  • Tags Alumni, Business, News

Steel Best Manufacturing (Pty) Ltd is a company that marches to a different tune. The engineering manufacturing sector is a tough environment to gain a foothold in. In the almost three years of their existence, Steel Best Manufacturing has placed the development of people first. As a company Steel Best understands that with Industry 4.0 now banging on our collective doors, the differentiator will ultimately be the people driving the sector.

In one of its most ambitious projects to date, Steel Best Manufacturing has spearheaded the establishment of the Steel Best Manufacturing Tooling and Design Engineering Incubator. This incubator is unique in the sense that it seeks to provide SMME’s and individuals with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the engineering manufacturing sector. Needless to say, as a company, we have had our own share of challenges gaining a foothold in this competitive sector, and we wanted to provide a leg-up to aspiring mechanical engineering designers and innovators. It is the intention of the company to increase the number of entrants in this sector and in so doing build a community of design engineering and manufacturing excellence.

Many large Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s) such as Volkswagen South Africa, Toyota and Nissan look to design expertise almost exclusively outside of South Africa. The incubator wants to drive the development of a design capability that will rival International capabilities and drive OEM’s to assign design projects to South African and specifically Eastern Cape design companies.

Steel Best posits that the outputs from a single designer has the potential to create at least 12 additional engineering manufacturing jobs further down the value chain. It is this multiplier effect that Steel Best wants to build on in its job creation efforts. Additionally, with more local design coupled with local standards and materials comes a greater potential for locally based steel mills and engineering companies to increase their production.

The incubator is managed by Simon Meyer, one of the USB Alumni who had back in 2007 completed the Executive Development Programme. Simon joined Steel Best Manufacturing, initially heading its sales and marketing team. But once the incubator project was conceived, Simon grabbed the opportunity to manage the incubator. With the Steel Best Manufacturing Chief Operations Officer, Clyde Erasmus, they were able to unlock funding with the Department of Small Business Development to start up the incubator.

The interest from partner organisations has been overwhelming. From local academic institutions such as TVET colleges and the University to government and private companies, Steel Best Manufacturing has found a very keen interest in the Incubator. In as much as the incubator will provide services within the Automotive Sector initially, they have not excluded the potential to engage other sectors such as Aerospace and Maritime.

As an SMME Steel Best Manufacturing is punching well above its weight to create opportunities for South Africans. What will your company do?

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The impact of doing an MBA at USB

USB News

The impact of doing an MBA at USB

  • OCT 27
  • Tags MBA, Alumni

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Wiehan and three others in his profession applied for the MBA programme. As animal nutritionists, at first they didn’t believe they would be accepted into the Business School programme, but to their delight they were. One of those other three was Werné Kritzinger who went on to become Wiehan’s business partner. Wiehan and Werner continued practicing as animal nutritionists, but early on in their studies they started a business called Noobswitch, which they run on a part-time basis.

The relevance and practicality of the MBA programme meant that they could apply what they were learning to empower others.

In the first week of their MBA classes, Wiehan and Werné both felt inspired to explore their entrepreneurial side. The meeting of minds came when it occurred to them that most young university graduates find the time between graduation and their first encounter with the work environment difficult, as they did. The transition from being a student to a professional is decidedly daunting. The idea for their business came from this realisation – and so followed the birth of Noobswitch in 2014.

The relevance and practicality of the MBA programme meant that they could apply what they were learning to empower others. Noobswitch offers their participants, who are undergraduates, a scaled-down version of the MBA in one week. The two owners created a short course incorporating some of the learning that they were experiencing on the MBA programme. Sessions on their programme include leadership, financial planning and business communication.

A wide variety of people have offered their time to lecture or mentor the students. In the first year, several of the 17 speakers were fellow classmates from the MBA programme at USB. Additionally, after that first week, some of these volunteers from the MBA class employed some of the students in their businesses.

Wiehan and Werné found the experience of having diverse lecturers and guest speakers in class enriching as they received content from different perspectives. The exposure to these different people on the USB MBA encouraged them to think more broadly and they created a new business model with Noobswitch. It is evident that the network the two owners created in the MBA class has been useful to them and the Noobswitch students.

The value commitments of USB are demonstrated by Wiehan and Werné:

  • Innovation is evidenced through Noobswitch’s imaginative inception.
  • Engagement with the business community is encouraged and rewarded by interaction with the wider society to promote public good.
  • Sustainability is seen through the ongoing support of the well-being of their students, to help them with their transition and become better members of the corporate community.

wiehan.jpg werne.jpg

The MBA taught them to have patience and discipline in the world of business. In the first two years of running Noobswitch they were unable to generate any profits, but had the grit and patience to keep running the business as well as maintain their full-time jobs. In the first two years, the business was run solely by Werné and Wiehan. Recently, they appointed their first full-time employee – an alumnus of the 2016 Noobswitch week. The first staff member is in charge of Business Development. As a business Noobswitch is starting to create employment, which means past students are the beneficiaries of this growth. They have also started to generate profit in 2017.

They found that the USB MBA modules were versatile and could be used in most situations. For example they apply the skills from the leadership module both in Noobswitch as well as in their full-time jobs in the farming industry.

Thanks to his studies, Wiehan is able to contribute to strategy and marketing plans, and he has implemented some cost management processes within the organisation he works for full-time. He feels that before embarking on the MBA he used to work with a silo mentality. Nowadays, he is able to understand the interconnectedness of functional areas and works at a broader level. He has moved upwards and joined the operations committee, where his input is valued. The organisation currently manages two main streams within the business. One constitutes about 75% of the business, the other the remaining 25%. There is a need to grow the latter to estimates of about 40 to 50% of the total business within the next four or five years. Wiehan is part of the team drawing up the strategy for this strategic growth and implementation plan, while also bearing in mind the effects of change among staff in the organisation. To this end, he is able to help people to manage the change better and where appropriate, call on other providers for assistance.

On the entrepreneurial side, their knowledge and skills are advantageous because both have been doing the marketing and finances as well as the sales function of their business. The impact of this is that during the first two years they incurred none of the overhead costs of paying service providers, but used their knowledge gained from the MBA.

The network of friends and acquaintances made on the programme has been of great benefit. Their network has extended beyond just engineering – again stretching their thinking and knowledge, something that wasn’t the case before.

Wiehan sees in himself significant growth in confidence, belief in his capabilities and leading differently because now he understands the language of business better and applies it. The MBA has given him a voice in his organisation.

Wiehan further reports that by being on the MBA at the USB, he has developed a different perspective on community. The strong focus and perspective on South Africa and that everyone has a part to play in the direction of the economy, social issues and transformation was remarkable in the programme and it compelled one to act. Instead of thinking that he would do something for the community one day when he has the money, he now believes in starting small. He does small acts – cleaning people’s gardens or looking after children. Furthermore, at Noobswitch, they highlight this aspect and encourage students to pay it forward by helping out in their local communities.

Noobswitch is a story of application, of multidisciplinary use of learning and passion fueled not only by content but by every person the two founders encountered on the MBA programme.

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Harnessing the power of the 4th Industrial Revolution

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Harnessing the power of the 4th Industrial Revolution

  • FEB 21
  • Tags Leadership, Digital

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Thought leadership article by Mark Phillips, USB MBA Alumnus

Growth is a key issue of our times. In the 20th century, the world benefitted from unparalleled economic growth. The economic prosperity and activity was largely driven by rising debt levels, favourable demographics and profligate use of scarce resources. Today, the backdrop to our uncertain economic future is set with fragile and complex economic conditions that are now sometimes a silent background to all debates. A decade later, the official response to the global financial crisis was a policy of devising deferral strategies based on the assumption that government spending, low interest rates, and the supply of liquidity to money markets would create and foster economic growth. In 2018, inflation for the most part remains stubbornly low and conditions in the real economy have not returned to normal.

Over the past two decades, some of the world’s fastest-growing countries were from Africa. The commodities boom is partly responsible alongside favourable demographic patterns. But the growth also has a lot to do with the manufacturing and service economies that African countries are beginning to develop. The big question is whether Africa can keep that up if demand for commodities drops. For a look at the boom in Africa and the 1.2 billion rising middle class opportunity, do so as multitude of foreign investors have done and fly into Abidjan, the capital of the Ivory Coast. Visitors arrive in an air conditioned hall where a French style café sells beers, snacks and magazines. There is advertising everywhere and the taxi into the city smoothly crosses over a six lane toll bridge. Yet just years ago, the Ivory Coast seemed like a lost cause.

Over the past two decades, some of the world’s fastest-growing countries were from Africa. The big question is whether Africa can keep that up if demand for commodities drops.

Many believe that fortune favours the brave. When it comes to investing in Africa, this saying holds true. The irony of investing in Africa is that it is both one of the world’s most difficult regions in which to do business and also perhaps it is most entrepreneurial. In no other part of the world does such a large share of the population rely on their wits and their trading abilities to get by. However, a successful industrialisation programme requires many things that Africa still lacks. Many believe that manufacturing in Africa is only for the brave. In Nigeria it makes up about 10% of GDP. In South Africa, it accounts for 13% of GDP, down from 20% in 1990. In comparison, in Thailand the equivalent figure is 28%. Furthermore, Africa’s inter-trade suffers from dismal infrastructure and corruption. This lack of internal trade explains why Africa remains poor, and why it has failed to create big firms that straddle national boundaries.

South Africa seems well placed to invest elsewhere on the continent. As an example, the private sector has access to capital, infrastructure and skilled labour, but a substantial chunk of the population are as poor as any Africans. South Africa is a country of so many contrasts it is perfectly possible to create a convincing portrait of success and prosperity since 1994. Unfortunately, it is equally possible to create a negative portrait of a country in trouble. Ben Turok explains that the country’s present condition is marked by several factors that manifests itself in a lopsided economy vis-à-vis a relatively small tax base, state employment being critical for development, and the state being an enabler for development yet corruption is widespread. Furthermore, as Ralph Mathekga highlights, after two decades of democracy, the patience for South Africa’s persistent inequality is wearing dangerously thin.

The 4th Industrial Revolution is not just about technology and business. It’s about society. Its scope, speed and reach are unprecedented. To some extent, society is now writing the code that will shape our collective future.

The structure of the economy still excludes the majority of the population from key production areas. In order to unlock this country’s potential requires capacity to ensure that programmes and initiatives are well monitored and not hijacked by interest groups. The World Economic Forum asserts that world is changing and companies must adapt. The 4th Industrial Revolution will eliminate millions of jobs and create millions of new ones. This phenomenon is the manifestation of a broader technological trend: the internet is entering the spaces we live in, and is becoming the internet of things. As a result, many aspects of urban life are being rapidly transformed – from energy to waste management, from mobility to water distribution, from city planning to citizen management. In times ahead, the revolution is the greatest transformation human civilisation has ever known. The process is transforming practically every human activity – the way we make things, the way we use the resources of our planet, the way we communicate and interact with each other as humans, the way we learn, the way we work, the way we govern, and the way we do business.

The 4th Industrial Revolution is not just about technology and business. It’s about society. Its scope, speed and reach are unprecedented. To some extent, society is now writing the code that will shape our collective future. The forces of change will result in the seamless integration of the virtual and the physical worlds that is the giant leap seen today. Also, as cities are changing quickly and we are in the midst of rapid urbanisation, the concept of smart cities is emerging. The ray of light is that the 4th Industrial Revolution will bring about very substantial changes to the social base. However, striving for inclusive growth is about the disruptive and revolutionary role of technology. Therefore, what can we do to make sure as many citizens as possible benefit from the 4th Industrial Revolution? And, how could this paradigm ultimately play a role in the development of developing economies like South Africa, and across the African continent?

Carlo Ratti identifies key trends that could usher in a new era of urbanisation across Africa – data collection for social change, mobility and traffic congestion, innovation anywhere, infrastructural shortages, the sharing economy, and the ethical economy. Subsequently, across the continent there is a potential gold mine of knowledge skills and business networks that if mobilised, could solve many of the continents current challenges. We can learn from the past and lay the conceptual foundation for an inclusive society. One may envision an open society that aims to unite the principle of the free market with that of fair distribution of prosperity. This vision is more important today than ever before because it points out the way to an inclusive form of capitalism and to a sustainable model for economic and social well-being. They key is that the business of business should not just be business. Shareholder value alone should not be the yardstick. Instead, we should make stakeholder value, or better yet, social value, the benchmark for private and public sector performance.

Leaders in both private and public sector will have to come to grips with the 4th Industrial Revolution, which is redefining entire industries. As the past few years has demonstrated, leaders must be responsive to the demands of the people who have entrusted them to lead, while also providing a vision and a way forward, so that people can imagine a better future. The 4th Industrial Revolution presents the opportunity of ‘reshoring’ by bringing production closer to the consumer. This could improve the chances of industrialisation in developing economies. South Africa has a unique opportunity to look at new technologies with a view to the niches we can occupy, the benefits we can by job creation and at how to minimise the negative impacts. Joe Kaeser explains that the 4th Industrial Revolution runs on knowledge and we need a robust concurrent revolution in training and education. Here, both government and business must join forces to provide workers with the skills and qualifications they need to participate in the digital and smart economy.

The process of technological innovation, including the growth of crypto-currencies, are rapidly reshaping some of the core functions of policy and strategy direction. In the complex and ever-changing environment there must be no place for defensive postures. Vishnu Padayachee and Bradley Boris argue that in a changing world, conventional notions of policy and strategy are, and of what they should do, face a number of challenges. The World Economic Forum identifies key challenges – coming to grips with the use and potential of technologies, building a dynamic and inclusive multi-stakeholder governance system, restoring global growth, and reforming market capitalism by restoring the compact between business, government, and society. Therefore, the debate and collective action by both public and private sectors must be guided by one overriding objective to improve the quality of life of the many South Africans who need the impact of positive change on employment, investment, and growth.

Mondli Hlatshwayo explains the decline in industries and the implementation of technologies that lead to retrenchments, unemployment and poverty require a multi-faceted response and not only the social and economic strategies. There is a need for progressive public-private partnerships to consider collective responses where declining industries present opportunities in the 4th Industrial Revolution. Consequently, we face challenges in terms of food and water security, climate change, energy, demographic shifts, healthcare, financial health, education, skills and technology. Of course there are also global scarcity, geopolitics, conflict, and the issue of quality of life. Therefore as leaders in both public and private sectors, we must provide visionary leadership and creative solutions suited to the context. We need the ability to embrace emergent technologies that support productivity and to be able to leverage connectivity and collaboration to open up possibility. All this requires shared meaning and purpose, social cohesion, and a strong culture passionate about improving the lives of future generations.

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Armed with a piano, a Gantt chart and an MBA

USB News

Armed with a piano, a Gantt chart and an MBA

  • FEB 22
  • Tags MBA, Alumni

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What do a piano, a Gantt chart and an MBA have in common? On the surface, nothing of course. After all, you don’t read music from a Gantt chart or receive an MBA by playing the piano. There are, however, three things they have in common; creativity, planning and hard work. They also have the past 15 years of my life in common. After I completed my studies to become a concert pianist at the University of Cape Town, I taught music and theology, became a commercial property broker, became a director of a property company, did an MBA, took a job as an IT project manager while still performing as a pianist, served on the board of a non-profit institution and volunteered at my local church.

I believe that South Africa is on the brink of greatness. If we play our part, we can create the future we dream about for the generations to come.

I also married, had a son and a daughter, took part in adventure racing events and played cricket and golf. You only live once, so sleep when you’re dead, right?

Opportunity abounded during this time, the biggest of which was afforded me when I was accepted into the modular MBA programme at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) in 2011. It resulted in three years of planning, hard work and creativity! The MBA alumni know that it takes a family effort to graduate; you will not be able to do it without their support and commitment! My second child was born just after my second week on campus. Thinking back to those first six months, I cannot remember how we got through it. While studying in the evenings I kept my ears open to my two sleeping (or mostly sleeping) kids, while my wife got some sleep. It was hectic. It was also an opportunity to learn with how little sleep one can still function! I was and remain ever grateful to my wife who coped with the two kids and a husband who lived on MBA Island.

piano2.jpgIt was an incredible journey of personal, intellectual and emotional growth. Since a music degree does not include any statistics or finance subjects, I had to plan well and work hard to catch up.

During our third year we had the opportunity to spend a week in Holland at Nyenrode Business University​. During this time, we presented some innovative ideas to the innovation department of a multinational telecommunications company after a day of exposure and work. It was received with great enthusiasm and some of the ideas were even implemented, we heard later.

Our group represented vastly different ethnic backgrounds, men, women, all with different ways of understanding problems and finding solutions. We grabbed hold of the opportunity to harness the power of our diversity for success, and succeeded. Truly, it was a wonderful experience that fuels my hope for South Africa to this day.

Another opportunity was presented to me when of one of the Nyenrode professors arranged a Skype call with the Director of the telecommunications company. She thought I had some creative and innovative ideas and wanted me to present them to the director, who she knew personally. I was given about an hour to prepare, after which I presented the ideas to him in a 20-minute conversation. It was a heady experience, and one that gave my confidence a major boost. A musician sharing innovative ideas with a director of one of the largest telecommunication companies in Europe! What a day that was.

Back home, I went through the recruitment process of one of the big management consulting houses. The opportunity to go through the whole intensive recruitment process and be flown up to Johannesburg for final interviews as one of two people was an immense privilege and another exponential learning experience.

In my final year, I got the opportunity to consult for an IT development house in Cape Town as a project manager. I was immediately placed at one of the largest clothing retailers in Africa, consulting as a project manager in the HR systems space. Even with no previous IT or project management experience and a project management coach that left 2 months into the contract, I got to stay. The opportunity of an open door!

Forging lasting friendships and business relationships with fellow students is an opportunity afforded to all MBA candidates. I was surrounded by many brilliant people, most of them better qualified, more experienced and cleverer than I. I could learn from them and I continue to learn from some of them today.

Music honed my ability to think laterally and conceptually. The MBA both consolidated and structured my thinking processes and widened my horizons. Above all, it provided and still provides opportunities and opened doors for personal and career growth. I know it does the same for my fellow alumni, and will do the same for all prospective MBA candidates! Those of us who have the privilege of holding an MBA from USB now have the opportunity to use what we have learnt to effect change in business, the government and civil society. I believe that South Africa is on the brink of greatness. If we play our part, we can create the future we dream about for the generations to come.


usb alumni

USB honours our Top Achievers

USB News

USB honours top achievers of 2017/2018 at awards event

usb alumni

  • OCT 27
  • Tags Too Achievers, USB Programmes

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The University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) honoured its top achievers for 2017/2018 at an Awards Function held after graduation on Friday, 23 March 2018. Michael Cook was named one of the top MBA students and also received the Director’s Award.
The guest speaker was Nkosinathi Matu, Chairperson of the USB Alumni Association Western Cape. Dr Heidi le Sueur, head of Accreditation & Assurance of Learning at USB, was the Master of Ceremonies.

Article1.jpg  Article11.jpg
 

Click here for more pictures of the event.

The complete list of award winners are:

Top Student: Postgraduate Diploma in Futures Studies
– Andrew Allen Taylor

Top Students: Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning
– Jaya Leibowitz (Top graduate from 2017)
– Barend Jacobus Janse van Rensburg (Top performing student in the 2017 FPI board exam)

Top student: Postgraduate Diploma in Development Finance
– Tsakani Manyike

Top student: Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership Development
– Hermina Christina Vorster

Best Research Assignment in any Master’s Degree (Sponsored by Brimstone Investment Corporation Limited)
– Jantes Prinsloo

Top student: Postgraduate Diploma in Project Management
– Schalk Jacobus van der Westhuizen

Top student: Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management and Administration
– Albert Brand

Top student: MPhil in Futures Studies
– Michiel Frederik Jonker

Top student: MPhil in Management Coaching
– Nnuku Rebecca Mosehle

Top student: MPhil in Development Finance
– Saara Laudika Mweneni Hamunyela

Top students: MBA
– Neil Tinmouth
– Nompumelelo Ndlovu
– Debbey Olivier
– Bradley Rawlings
– Michael Cook
– Juan Loubser
– Daniel Nel

PhD Graduates of 2017/2018

PhD Development Finance
Dr L Ntsalaza
Dr M Khomo
Dr R Rateiwa
Dr BA da Silva

PhD Business Management and Administration
Dr L Idahosa
Dr S Ramluckan
Dr A Vlok
Dr JC van Loggerenberg
Dr V van der Walt
Dr GS Cloete
Dr HUC van Zyl
Dr AM Linke
Dr NHD Terblanche
Dr MM Ngwangwama
Dr DMl Moller
Dr R Grobler

USB IN NUMBERS

Why we’re one of the best in Africa

01

School in South Africa
by PMR.africa 2017

Top100

Business Schools in the World
Eduniversal

Top03

Schools in Africa Eduniversal

In Financial Mail’s annual ranking of business schools

1st school from an African university to hold all 3 international accreditations

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Love or money? The drive behind entrepreneurship

USB News

Love or money? The drive behind entrepreneurship

  • APR 06
  • Tags Technology, Business, News, University

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Entrepreneurs are not merely money hungry and wanting to be the boss, a study found conducted by David Krige, MBA graduate of the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) and Head of Operations at LaunchLab in Stellenbosch.

Krige says to become an entrepreneur requires extraordinary levels of motivation to weather the storm of uncertainty, change, and daily challenges and what drives this motivation is meaning and purpose.

“Starting one’s own business is certainly not for everyone. Yet many embark on this challenging journey not out of necessity due to poverty, downscaling or retrenchment as many in our country do, but more out of a desperate desire to find meaning in their work and to make a difference.”

Krige’s study found that following on the philosophy of Viktor Frankl that the search for meaning in one’s life is the primary motivation of man, most entrepreneurs are motivated by purpose rather than money.

“Starting one’s own business is certainly not for everyone. Yet many embark on this challenging journey not out of necessity due to poverty, downscaling or retrenchment as many in our country do, but more out of a desperate desire to find meaning in their work and to make a difference.”

“There are some entrepreneurs driven by the financial rewards and it is not an uncommon phenomenon that people are frustrated with their work and the role that it plays in their lives. However, not everyone starts a new venture as a result thereof. Nor do they venture off with a new business simply because they feel they are not being paid their worth. Ensuring that their work plays an important role in finding meaning in their lives is the largest contributor.”

He says that since the creation of new ventures is of critical importance for economic growth, it’s important to gain  a better understanding behind the entrepreneurial intent. “This will assist greatly in  improving venture creation and influence the success of entrepreneurship by understanding how to motivate individuals.”

David Krige.jpgSo what is meaning?

Krige says meaning is an incredibly subjective experience since not every person is in the same life stage.

“People have different priorities such as providing for a family, starting a career, dealing with a difficult divorce or planning to have a family. People also define meaning differently; for some it is to make a difference in the world, doing work that is valuable to others, solving a problem or helping others, and for others it’s the opportunity to make their own decisions, to provide a unique service to the industry, to make a difference in their own lives or to be autonomous.”

“If one’s purpose is to develop things that you believe will add value, one’s work would contribute to one’s own sense of purpose and meaning. Finding the significance in one’s work, will translate into life becoming significant.”

He says for many who venture on their own, work was just a means to an end, receiving a salary at the end of the month and doing what they were told to do.
“They feel no meaningfulness in their work and by ending up doing only the bare minimum required from them, it leads them to stagnate in their positions and career as they weren’t challenged to grow.”

He says that for other entrepreneurs, although they found meaning in their work, they felt that they could achieve more by starting their own venture.

“One’s work could make a difference but on the other hand you could be hindered since you can’t make the decisions yourself that you feel would have a bigger impact. In addition experiencing a sense of purpose in one’s work or to start a business that has purpose could positively enhance one’s own sense of meaning.”

“If one’s purpose is to develop things that you believe will add value, one’s work would contribute to one’s own sense of purpose and meaning. Finding the significance in one’s work, will translate into life becoming significant.”

Krige suggests that those not yet venturing on their own to consider entrepreneurship if they are struggling with the below:

  • Constant feeling of being demotivated at work
  • Lacking the motivation needed to do great work
  • Not feeling that your job is contributing to the greater good
  • The work you do doesn’t provide you with a sense of meaning
  • You feel that you need to do something with more purpose

 

To traject your entrepreneurial spirit into a reality contact the LaunchLab by sending an email info@launchlab.co.za

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Doing business in the Middle East: USB MBA students shares their experience

USB News

Doing business in the Middle East: USB MBA students shares their experience

  • OCT 27
  • Tags Technology, Business, News, University

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In the shadows of the Pyramids of Giza lies the sprawling metropolis of Cairo. A city shrouded by mysticism and legend, with an opulent history that mirrors that of the gold mask of Tutankhamen. The historical land of Egypt stretches for more than a million square kilometres, yet a 1/5 of its 100 million inhabitants call this bustling city home.

Cairo has many faces: powerhouse of the ancient world, strategic kingmaker in the Middle East, and the epicentre of modern-day revolution. Looking at Egypt from a geographic and demographic point of view, one would be forgiven to think that it might suffer from an identity crisis. Geographically Egypt forms part of Africa, but is also considered part of the Middle East. Demographically Egypt identifies with the Arab world, with the majority of its residents sharing the Arabic language and Muslim faith. According to the World Bank, in 2016, Egypt’s GDP was $ 336 billion, $ 40 billion more than that of South Africa during the same period. Combine this large economy with rapid population growth and the fact that more than 50 % of the population is younger than 25 years old, and it is clear that Egypt shows tremendous growth potential as a developing market.

It is with this background that a group of USB MBA students participated in an academic programme titled Doing Business in the Middle East. This programme was hosted by the American University in Cairo (AUC). The relationship between USB and stretches back several years, yet this was the first time a USB MBA group visited the university.

The group had the opportunity to learn more about the Egyptian economy, with a major theme being entrepreneurship and innovation within the MENA region. They interacted with several prominent business people in Egypt and learned about the regional challenges and opportunities. These include a very large informal economy, high levels of unemployed youth, large-scale corruption as well as low levels of gender equality. Despite these complexities, the focus in Egypt is very much on future opportunities and the country is poised for success given the government’s comprehensive Vision 2030 Programme which includes major infrastructure spending. The crown jewel will be an expansion of the current city boundaries with a new administrative capital being built, dubbed New Cairo.

Some of AUC’s top lecturers provided the group with insights on the university’s approach to teaching and its stature within the business community. The programme director of the Goldman Sachs 10 000 Women programme, Dr Maha El Shinnawy, addressed USB students on its initiative to empower female entrepreneurs. This programme has already impacted more than 400 women entrepreneurs – an amazing feat for a society in which business is dominated by males. Another interesting topic was addressed by Prof Ashraf Sheta. This related to the prevalence of Family Businesses, the importance it plays within the MENA region, and key areas of focus that enable proper governance.

The group visited the Federation of Egyptian Industries and had a very fruitful discussion on some of the economic initiatives and realities within Egypt. There is a clear sense of optimism since the regime change following the Arab Spring in 2011. Sentiment is positive within the private sector.

No visit to Egypt would be complete without taking in some of the magnificent cultural sights. The group had the opportunity to tour the AUC’s grand campus, one of which dates back to 1919. Here the group also had the incredible privilege of visiting Tahrir Square, the scene of the 2011 revolution in which hundreds of thousands of Egyptians marched against the corrupt government which resulted in regime change. Despite this, the highlight of the group’s cultural experience was visiting the Great Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza. The group was in awe of his majestic splendour and size.

The USB ISM group departed Egypt with a much better understanding of the country/region, and urged both the AUC and the USB to ensure much closer co-operation not only on an academic level, but also as an initiative to ensure strategic partnerships between the leaders in the south and north of our great continent.

*This article was written by Eugene Ras and Marcia Davidson. Photos were taken by Jacques Else and the Sarah Salem from the AUC.

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