Student News

Rushana Hartnick - Mitchells Plain’s Global USB Ambassador

USB News

Rushana Hartnick – Mitchells Plain’s Global USB Ambassador

  • FEB 18
  • Tags 2020 Academic Opening, USB Alumni, International Education, Entrepreneurship

SHARE

Speaking at the 2020 USB Academic Opening in February, MBA alumnus Rushana Hartnick shared her first introduction to internationalisation, the key theme of USB’s ongoing commitment to being a global partner.

When Rushana Hartnick, social entrepreneur and alumnus of the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), started The Little Mermaid Swim School in 2012, she had a vision: to offer water safety and swimming to children in the Mitchells Plain area where not many home owners have swimming pools. In 2014, she catapulted her academic and business career as a participant in the USB Small Business Academy (SBA). Today, she is the holder of a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management and Administration (PGDip BMA), and recently became a Full-time MBA graduate from the business school. She reflects on her international experience gained from her journey.y

“When I arrived for the first day of my PGDip BMA, I was introduced to 11 exchange students, and I remember looking at them thinking that I don’t belong here. However, their sense of curiosity was contagious. I realised then that a highlight for me would be when I set foot off the continent to unlock my full potential.”

She was elected to join the EMBA Consortium for Global Business Innovation, a collaboration between 11 business schools, in Turkey, where she was joined by 11 nationalities to discuss pertinent issues facing each country.

“It was mind-blowing! Sharing impactful conversations with so many different nationalities, and there I was with a seat at the table. It led me to question my role in the society where I live and what I am doing to ensure that my country becomes one that everyone around the globe wants to visit or do business with.

“I was afforded another opportunity by USB to be part of the Digital Strategy and New Business Models elective in Brazil, where I discussed social issues with executives from around the world and creating business models in addressing these issues. This has started another journey for me – one that I can now make a reality back home, in Mitchells Plain.

“I want to thank USB, especially the support staff, for believing in me and giving me so many opportunities and exposure to broaden my mind and horizon for the good of my local community. When USB speaks internationalisation, it comes from the bottom all the way to the top. And I am not only an ambassador of Mitchell’s Plain but an ambassador of USB.”

Since its inception, The Little Mermaid Swim School, has grown from servicing 35 children to teaching swimming to 500 kids per week whilst also providing an aftercare facility.

Join the USB Management Review community

Subscribe to receive an email alert for new content on USB Management Review.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Join the USB community

Receive updates on the latest news, events, business knowledge and blogs at USB.

SUBSCRIBE NOW


Local East London Business Woman Receives Top Award

USB News

Local East London Business Woman Receives Top Award

  • MAY 16
  • Tags Top Achievers, MBA , Business Woman, Academia

SHARE

East London business woman Poonam Harry-Nana, a full-time MBA graduate of the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) has been awarded with the USB Director’s Award for the top student in any programme who excels in both studies and leadership.

USB Director Prof Piet Naudé said not only did Poonam graduate cum laude, but she arranged all the social activities and ensured that the class had a good balance between academic work and outside activities. “She has a passion for communities and she will continue to leave her mark through various levels of social engagement,” he says.

Poonam, meaning Full Moon in the Hindu language, has always aspired to be a light shining on the world according to her namesake. She works for the family business, Harry’s Printers Group based in East London, which celebrates its 90thyear of existence this year.

“The Harry’s Printers Group of companies now consists of four companies in four locations throughout South Africa with five branches and employing over 200 employees. I currently manage and oversee the expansion of Harry’s Photos and Copies which is the digital print, communications, advertising, signage, branding and photo imaging leg of the business. The company has been running since 2009 but we have just launched our first retail concept customer experience store in March 2019 in East London aimed at the business to consumer market.”

“We have just launched our grand opening with the aim to add this arm of the business to our others stores with national expansion planned within a three to five-year period which I will be overseeing and managing.”

The company was founded by her great grandfather and first operated as a General Dealer. The business then added a shoe repair facility and it was at the back of this that her grandfather bought a handheld press to share the work of his father who had become a spiritual guru and philosopher. It was here that the printing started and has since grown into what it is today.

Her MBA research paper entitled Exploring the perceptions of the value of reflective learning in the leadership development of MBA students, focused on how and if students felt that reflective learning techniques and interventions aided their leadership development. The paper is currently being prepared and submitted for publication in the Teaching in Higher Education journal due to some unique insights that surfaced from the study which could possibly assist Higher Education practitioners in designing future reflective learning interventions in leadership and other curricula.

Poonam joined the MBA programme as a full-time student in 2018, relocating for the year to Cape Town, drawing on the support from her sister and family living in the city. She says that the support of her husband, family, friends and mentors worldwide were critical to her survival for the year as to her attitude of “work hard, play hard”.

“The MBA was one of the most challenging and toughest experiences of my life, but also the most liberating, life enhancing and amazing journeys. Deciding to dedicate the year to discovering the true Poonam also meant that I left my husband in China and lived on my own for the first time ever having grown up in an extended family, and staying in res and dorms during my undergraduate degree studies. The MBA year pushed me at all levels – personally, emotionally, spiritually, academically and career wise.

“My classmates were phenomenal and we had a fantastic group of people from various backgrounds and cultures with a unique diversity that truly set our class apart from other full-timers which truly enhanced the experience. Being a very social person, I often organised and facilitated social events, ensured birthdays and other special milestones were marked and celebrated. I became the ‘cheerleader’ of the class and garnered the nickname ‘Sunshine’ as I always strive to have a positive mindset and optimistic attitude.

“Being able to immerse myself fully into the course over a one-year period was challenging, but allowed me to gain the growth I needed and still be able to have a student life to alleviate the pressures. The disadvantage was definitely the intensity level and not always being able to engage with the content enough, hence one had to quickly learn the art of working strategically and prioritising the demands of the course based on time and resources available.”

The highlight of her MBA journey has been the Leadership Development component of the programme.

“My journey of self-discovery from reflective learning interventions such as our life story, autobiography reflection assignment where we had to analyse our lives from birth to present day, peer feedback, personality tests and a 360-degree Leadership Profile, were truly eye opening and liberating. I came to understand the person I have become and aspire to become, and realised that the mere fact of me wanting to make a difference and leave people better off than when I found them, makes me a leader.”

She says she has learned the value of teamwork and collaboration, found a new sense of confidence and ability to tackle almost any challenge, realised one should never be afraid to ask for help, the importance of a healthy work life balance, and how important it is to align one’s personal values to that of the business world.”

“By being true to one’s self and developing your own true authentic leadership style and embracing it, you can be a responsible leader that impacts change in society at large and to view this as a gift and responsibility in creating a better and sustainable future for all.”

Poonam is married to Oomesh Nana and they first met when he came to work in their family business as a Graphic Designer. A qualified chef he was a Graphic Designer by day and in the evenings or weekends they would run cooking classes together for the general public and for team buildings. Accomplished, he has published two books and is currently working on this third.

“We are both passionate about travel, food, art, culture, history and life! In 2016, after we both reached piques in our careers, we deviated from the norms of societies giving up our jobs, lives and leaving our families to go abroad and live and teach English in China. We were based in the ancient capital of China, Xi’an, where the Terrocotta Warriors are and the beginning of the ancient Spice and Silk route. This was a phenomenal experience and set me on my path and journey of self-discovery leading me to pursue the MBA. My husband stayed in China for the year of the MBA and currently still resides there.”

Poonam Harry-Nana received the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) highest award from USB Director Prof Piet Naudé.

Join the USB Management Review community

Subscribe to receive an email alert for new content on USB Management Review.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Join the USB community

Receive updates on the latest news, events, business knowledge and blogs at USB.

SUBSCRIBE NOW


Africa

Africa – the continent with ample unlocked opportunity

USB News

Africa – the continent with ample unlocked opportunity

  • FEB 26 2019
  • Tags Africa, Opportunities, Economic growth

SHARE

With 50% of the population younger than 25 years old and less than 3% overall economic growth, Africa’s glass is ‘half full’ in unlocking its full potential for economic growth. Those are the views of experts who formed part of a panel discussion hosted by USB to unpack the perspective of African frontiers.

The panel consisted of Paul Feenen, Strategic Partnership Director for JUMO in Africa, Max Pichulik, Partner at Impact Amplifier, Dr Sola Oduwole, Multi-Sectoral Strategist and Morne Edas, Executive Director at Sade Capital. The panel discussion was moderated by Nthabiseng Moleko, lecturer in Managerial Economics and Statistics at USB.

“While challenges facing the continent such as the lack of infrastructure development cannot be overlooked, Africa has massive potential, which if explored, will expedite the continent’s economic growth.”

FLTR: Nthabiseng Moleko, Dr Sola Oduwole, Morne Edas, Max Pichulik, and Paul Feenen.

The stories of Africa’s potential for success are often overlooked, with attention mainly being given to the trials and tribulations of the continent. While challenges facing the continent such as the lack of infrastructure development, technological innovation at a larger scale, education and other macro-economic challenges cannot be overlooked, Africa has massive potential, which if explored, will expedite the continent’s economic growth. According to Pichulik, Africa’s commercial agricultural potential has not been fully explored and he cited as an example, the use of indigenous plants for pharmaceutical opportunities. Edas concurred with this observation adding that the prospects of successfully conducting business in Africa is promising but requires patience due to the diverse culture of the continent’s population. While Dr Oduwole certainly acknowledges the existing opportunities, the continent has to offer, such as richness in mineral resources, he believes that the continent is not yet fully prepared to compete at a global level due to an inadequate level of skills.

“A current trend is for educated young Africans to immigrate to the developed world while investors are moving to Africa, in the realisation of the continent’s untapped potential.”

The panel members agreed that the long-term solutions to the continent’s challenges can be addressed through a deep focus on education on all levels. A current trend is for educated young Africans to immigrate to the developed world while investors are moving to Africa, in the realisation of the continent’s untapped potential. Another interconnected factor is the lack of beneficiation, in particular increasing manufacturing value add which needs to be backed by a strong political will. The continent is equally perceived to be plagued by high levels of corruption, and the publicizing of many of these cases scare prospective investors away. The panel’s response to the question whether autocracy, or democracy, plays a role in developing the continent, shows that there is doubt whether democracy is an absolute requirement for growth, because it appears that “that votes do not count, but it is the counting of votes that counts”, hence the need to employ good corporate governance and best practice to boost investor confidence.

There is light at the end of the tunnel as the continent continues to observe great technological transformation, especially in the financial sector where mobile money services have emerged and are growing exponentially, a phenomenon that has not been experienced anywhere in the world before. This type of innovation, according to Feenan, is an indication that “economic growth in Africa is inevitable and that for investors looking to invest in successful, Africa is the right place right now”.

The discussion concluded with the firm call to cement dialogue between the private and public sectors in solving the social challenges facing the African continent, to ensure improved economic growth for the benefit of its citizens.

*This article was written by MBA students as part of a group assignment for the module Perspectives on African Frontiers. They are J Erasmus, G Frey, B Kafu, C Stadler, J Adenigba, and L Amutenya.

Join the USB community

Receive updates on the latest news, events, business knowledge and blogs at USB.

SUBSCRIBE NOW


‘A great way of ending my PhD in Development Finance at USB’ - alumnus

USB News

‘A great way of ending my PhD in Development Finance at USB’ – alumnus

  • NOV 28 2018
  • Tags Development Finance, PhD, journey, alumnus

SHARE

USB alumnus Master Mushonga shares his PhD journey that led him to present on his research at the inaugural Sustainability and Development Conference (SDC) at the University of Michigan in the United States. Mushonga also completed his MPhil in Development Finance (MDevF) at USB. Here he shares his journey:

By Master Mushonga

On the 24th of October 2018 I had my successful PhD oral examination at Stellenbosch University’s main campus in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences which went very well after receiving favourable examiners’ reports. I then joined the African Development Bank (AfDB) Zimbabwe country office as a consultant at the beginning of November.

“My PhD journey was not easy but thanks to my supervisors who provided much needed guidance, USB academics, research fellows and support staff, who created the environment for me to pursue one of my many goals.”

My last research paper presentation at the inaugural Sustainability and Development Conference (SDC) at the highly reputable University of Michigan in USA on 9 to 11 November 2018 was a good ending of my PhD in Development Finance. The conference was very competitive as more than 2 200 papers were submitted with only about 535 papers accepted for the conference.

There were five Editors-in-Chief of reputable journals, which focus on sustainable development and a special issue of the top 25 papers to be published by World Development also attracted attention. More importantly, issues on how to attain Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are of interest not only to academic researchers, but also to development practitioners, policy makers and the global population at large. The conference attracted over 500 participants from 44 countries.

Sustainability and Development Conference (SDC) 2018
Master (left) pictured here with the keynote speaker for the 2018 Inaugural Conference Dr Bina Agarwal (middle) and Editor-in-Chief of World Development Arun Agrawal.

I presented my paper titled “Social and financial efficiency (sustainability) of co-operative financial institutions: Evidence from South Africa” on the first session of the first day of presentation. In my session I was among the first four presenters from Michigan State University, Cornell University and Harvard University. My paper was well received by the participants, with some good suggestions on how it can be improved and some pointers to areas of further research. I believed my paper benefited a lot from the feedback as participants were prepared for the conference. Besides feedback received, I also managed to establish possible future research collaborations with participants from Harvard, Michigan State, Michigan, Groningen, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Liverpool, Heidelberg and Zurich universities.

Besides forging some possible future research collaborations, I managed to have a discussion with keynote speaker Dr Bina Agarwal from the University of Manchester and University of Cambridge, who deliver a presentation titled “Gender inequality and food security: How far can SDG 5 take us?”. Her presentation showed evidenced that suggest that co-operative (group) farming is associated with improved food security and income for individual smallholder farmers compared to individual farming. Her findings received a lot of interest from participants on the power of co-operatives in improving resilience and livelihoods in smallholder farming.

“I have no doubt in my mind that research and presentation skills we are receiving from USB is among the top universities in the world.”

After updating my research paper, I believe it will be of good (improved) quality to make it into the World Development journal though there is high competition given that only slightly below 5% (25/535) of the papers will be selected. However, I remain hopeful judging from my previous research publication experience and the guidance provided.

After attending and presenting my research papers at seven conferences during my research period at USB in the past three years, I have no doubt in my mind that research and presentation skills we are receiving from USB is among the top universities in the world.  USB’s practice of guiding emerging researchers to conduct their research and write the thesis in the form of articles for publication in high impact and top journals not only helped to disseminate the findings of one’s research, but the feedback received from PhD colloquiums and journals’ peer review process contributed greatly to the learning and publication experience. I am deeply grateful to the USB for the wonderful learning experience.

I am very much indebted to Prof Sylvanus Ikhide who activated my interest of academic research as my MPhil in Development Finance dissertation supervisor. In the past two years we have managed to convert my MPhil dissertation into a book chapter which was published in 2017 and this year we published another chapter!

Join the USB community

Receive updates on the latest news, events, business knowledge and blogs at USB.

SUBSCRIBE NOW


USB Academic Tour for Full-time MBA class

First SA Academic Tour for Full-time MBA class

USB News

First SA Academic Tour for Full-time MBA class

USB Academic Tour for Full-time MBA class

  • USB
  • JUL 30 2018
  • Tags Full-time MBA, International, News

SHARE

The Full-time MBA class of 2018 recently went on the first South African tour. The purpose of the tour is to expose students to a range of local industries, giving them the opportunity to see first-hand how theory is turned into practice. The tour included a bus trip from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, visiting, among others, the Eskom Palmiet plant near Grabouw, Denel Test Range in the Overberg, PetroSA in Mossel Bay, Untouched Adventures at Storms River Mouth, Volkswagen SA in Uitenhage and the Coega Industrial Development Zone in Port Elizabeth. From there, the group flew to Johannesburg where they visited Dimension Data, the Ethics Institute of SA in Sandton, and the Cradle of the Humankind in Maropeng.

Here a Full-time MBA student, Poonam Harry-Nanny, shares her experience of the week-long tour:

A bus. A driver named Welcome. 24 Full-Time (FT) MBA students from the USB. Music, snacks, drinks, games and a whole lot of enthusiasm were all ingredients that set the South African (SA) Academic Tour 2018, a USB first, off to a road of success. The week-long tour saw the FTMBA class given the opportunity to apply learning into practice through company and industry visits that were arranged whilst driving and exploring the beauty of SA starting in Cape Town, making our way through to Port Elizabeth (PE) along the Garden Route by bus and eventually flying to the business capital of SA, Johannesburg.

Departing from the USB on Sunday 24 June 2018, the 24 students’ excitement was palpable after a semester of stress, hard work and being pushed to boundaries beyond expectation with the demands of doing an MBA fulltime. The trip was thus a culmination of a long road of challenges, hardship and growth, and an opportunity for the class to strengthen and deepen bonds already forged throughout the year.

The tour commenced with a short drive to Grabouw in the Western Cape where students were treated to a night at the Houw Hoek Hotel, the oldest licensed hotel in SA. An official introduction by Martin Butler, the brainchild of this initiative and head of the MBA Program at USB set the tone for the week ahead. An early morning start saw a jam-packed day with visits to the Eskom Palmiet plant, Two-a-day, previously Elgin Fruit Packers Co-operative Ltd, and the Denel Test Range in Overberg. The day rounded off with an overnight stay in Arniston right across the sea. A highlight of the day had to be the special meal enjoyed by entrepreneur and passionate businesswoman Willeen de Villiers who converted her home into Willeen’s Meal Arts and Crafts.

Day 3 saw students being inspired by Piet Willemse, who together with his twin brother Johan, founded Jireh Dairies and Foods located in Riversdale. Followed by visits to PetroSA and Seavuna in Mossel Bay, the day ended off with a night in Knysna. Day 4 was a welcome day off with students entering the Eastern Cape and spending a day at the Tsitsikamma National Park greeted by whales in the frolicking and playing in the sea and hosted by young and extremely motivating entrepreneur Marthinus van der Westhuizen, founder of Untouched Adventures, SA’s most successful kayaking company. The company also coordinates scuba diving and snorkelling adventures in the heart of the Garden Route. Students were given an opportunity to get down and wet experiencing kayaking into the Storms River Gorge surrounded by the most beautiful caves and ancient forests. A night at the Tsitsikamma Village Inn ended off an amazing day.

Day 5 included visits to Volkswagen SA based in Uitenhage just outside PE and the Coega IDZ. A flight to Johannesburg was next on the cards with students also having the opportunity to catch the Gautrain to get to our hotel in Sandton. Highlights of Day 6 were visits to Dimension Data, a SA founded company now one of the global leaders in the ICT space currently operating in 47 countries, and the Ethics Institute of SA. The culmination of the trip could not have been more aptly chosen as that of the Cradle of the Humankind in Maropeng, home to 40% of the world’s human ancestor fossils.

To say that this was a trip beyond expectation and one of kind would not be an understatement. To see, learn, and apply learnings through the MBA program in a real-life setting made the learning experience so much deeper, richer and more meaningful and applicable. Each visit was unique in its own way with students being exposed to SA companies running world-class operations that we could be proud of as fellow South Africans and future leaders.

What other classmates have to say:

“I am excited to say that the USB MBA programme is up to date with what top executives are doing and saying. The tour showed how aligned the teaching is with real world application.” – Andre van der Walt

“This initiative enables us as MBA students to connect the theory to practical real life examples with companies ranging from early start-up to multi-national global leaders. Privileged to be educated and empowered by the top ranked MBA programme on the continent.” – Jaco Burger

“Wow, wow, wow! This was beyond my expectation. It was a practical application of our MBA theory.” – Nyaniso Qwesha

“The visits showed us that there is a school of life where one learns as you go.” – Simbai Doro

“The tour taught me that if other people are doing it, why can’t I?” – Siphelele Ntshangase

“Eye-opening and interesting.” – Asanda Dlamini

“Sandton was mind-blowing and truly lived up to my expectations as the business hub of Africa. The visit to Didata showed me the importance of taking a simple concept and being able to scale it for to success of global proportions.” – Elvin Kamana

“The visit to the Ethics Institute was a humbling experience and I’m truly grateful to have been able to take our learning from the classroom into a real-world setting” – Alvira Fisher

Join the USB community

Receive updates on the latest news, events, business knowledge and blogs at USB.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Join the USB community

Receive updates on the latest news, events, business knowledge and blogs at USB.

SUBSCRIBE NOW


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

SHARE

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.

Find the perfect course for you

Join the USB community

Receive updates on the latest news, events, business knowledge and blogs at USB.

SUBSCRIBE NOW