Reyna Singh / GSB MBA ‘18/19, Owner and Director of NG Global Energy Solutions // In 2019, I was quite fortunate in that the GSB gave me a scholarship to complete my final year of the modular MBA. This was a huge help – my business was just an idea, I was in between jobs and my first year was funded on a student loan. Since then, it’s always been at the back of my mind to return that amazing favour and give back when the opportunity arises. This year, our business luckily has the capacity to give back and we made a donation to the Foundation. What do I wish for the person benefiting from our donation? Fully embrace the programme and make the most of it. Enjoy it. Engage with others, collaborate, learn. Use the knowledge you gain to make an impact. For me, it’s all good and well that you have this knowledge and education, but what are you doing to make a difference? Make an impact with what you have learned on the programme.
Shadi Lekgoathi / GSB MBA student 2021 and GSB Foundation scholar // I’ve had quite a number of opportunities to work abroad. After my training in accounting, I went to New York for three months. During that time, I missed everything about home – the sound of the birds, the hooting of taxis and just how we as people interact. I was making good money, but it didn’t hit home for me. I knew then that – in terms of establishing myself and my career – it’s definitely going to be in Africa. Yes, we have a lot of issues, but there isn’t anyone coming to save us. If we want to see a better continent, a better country, we need to start taking the initiative and make an effort to contribute. I think we are very, very capable if we just look deeper. We understand our problems far better than anyone from abroad. We live here – who is in a better position to address the issues?
Ian Kantor / GSB MBA ’69, Founder of Investec // As a business leader, it is useful to have a combination of traits. I cannot limit this to a single attribute. To begin with, character, drive and integrity. Secondly, an understanding that building a business goes beyond just the money. It is also about an awareness and a determination that is socially motivated. Thirdly, an ability to take an idea and turn it into reality, but also to figure out what ideas there could be when confronted with reality. Next, an ability to move quickly where necessary, but also to have the patience and strength to wait for things to develop, with all that that entails. Finally, interpersonal skills. To be able to listen to others and empathise in order to find a common ground with others and an ability to build collective will with counter parties both internally and externally. Running a business is top sport, and it is really tough without good health. In my opinion, these traits are universal no matter where in the world you do business.
Damian Malgas / GSB MBA student 2020 and GSB Foundation scholar // I find that the MBA at the GSB is very much unique – there’s a massive focus on understanding your place in society. Every course includes Sustainable Development Goals or externalities in one way or another, and that’s really cool and interesting. We are going deep into understanding that business doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it affects not only your employees and your customers, not only your triple-bottom-line; it affects society as a whole. And that’s something I really enjoy and can subscribe to. Acknowledging that the GSB is so focused on shaping you as a holistic business person allowed me to submit to the process and fully embrace all the material that’s coming our way.
Asanda Manina / GSB MBA student 2019 and GSB Foundation scholar // The GSB Foundation scholarship affords me the opportunity to be here on campus, full-time, and 100% focused on the MBA, an opportunity that I wouldn’t otherwise have had. But getting the scholarship is more than the financial windfall. It’s also about the fact that someone looked at you and they had this belief that firstly you deserve this and also that you’ll do it justice, you know? It’s like a pat on the back, a confirmation of “Yes, you can do this” – and to get that from people you don’t know is really amazing, it’s an amazing feeling.
Segran Nair / GSB MBA ’05 and Director of Open Academic Programmes at the GSB // One of the biggest cost components of the MBA is tuition; so where individuals are able to receive a scholarship towards their tuition it’s a huge burden released. Also, in the context of South Africa, many historically disadvantaged individuals still tend to have multiple financial obligations that extend beyond their immediate financial commitments, for example, the need to financially support an extended family. Having the ability to receive a scholarship then not only enables them to get onto the GSB MBA programme but ensures that they can continue supporting their families. It makes a tremendous difference to allow deserving individuals the opportunity to study on a full-time basis. And as much as there are no formal strings attached to these scholarships, there is a principle of paying it forward – from those individuals that were supported so far, each one has shown commitment in terms of giving back to the school at some later point in time.
Linda Fasham / Executive Consultant at the GSB Foundation // I love interacting with people! As part of my work at the GSB Foundation, I organise events where alumni meet and connect with captains of industry. Having just retired from being the GSB Alumni Relations Manager for many years, it was a natural progression for me to join the Foundation when it started out. Working at the Foundation is about ongoing communication and relationship building. It’s a personal relationship – people know your name after all these years of being involved with alumni affairs. I enjoy the fact that, through our work, I am still engaging with the alumni of the Business School. All that we do at the Foundation speaks to the loyalty and passion that alumni have for their alma mater; I hope that our work is a true expression of this and will enrich the connectedness of our alumni.
Ntsikakazi “Kiki” Hene / GSB MBA 2017 student and GSB Foundation Scholar // I’m currently studying for the MBA and I noticed that until someone tells you “Go and do this assignment on this particular topic” you always just learn or read what you are comfortable with – you won’t actually expose yourself to other things that are going on around you; and I think that’s what the MBA taught me, to look beyond and not just to keep looking at what I know or what I’m comfortable with.
Mervyn Christoffels / GSB MOD MBA ’06, Executive Director ICT Systems at the University of South Africa and champion of the GSB Foundation’s Epic Scholarship // You only realise the value of an MBA some time after you have completed it. It can be a significant change agent, taking you out of your comfort zone. You have to toughen up to thrive – and you either take on the challenge or not. Yes, doing the course is definitely about acquiring key management skills but they only really count when they become part of your DNA, allowing you to deal with whatever comes your way.
Peter Thorrington-Smith / GSB MBA ’69, Co-Founder of UTi Worldwide // Given what the GSB has done for me, it’s great that there is now a fund to which I can contribute to in order to express my thanks – and a fund that will allow bright and inspired entrepreneurs without the necessary financial resources to enjoy the GSB experience and make a difference in the world. There is no doubt that this can be a life-changer for talented young men and women.