Academic excellence saw several Masters in Business Administration (MBA) graduates acquiring their degrees cum laude at this year’s Graduation ceremonies. Among them were Mr Sandesh Singh, Ms Karen Bayley, Ms Fiona Calitz and Mr Manoj Ramkissor who all completed their academic programme with distinction.

The Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L) conferred a total of 85 MBA degrees to graduates in the 2013 Graduation ceremony.

Singh worked in various managerial positions for five years before he decided to pursue his MBA studies at the GSB&L in 2011. He believed that acquiring an MBA would complement his technical skills and knowledge in the discipline of mechanical engineering.

Currently the General Manager of Forgeweld Engineering in Isithebe on the North Coast, Singh believes the relevance of his research dissertation – “Job Readiness of FET Mechanical Engineering Graduates” – contributed to his passing with distinction. His research touched on organisational behaviour and its influence on the mechanical engineering sector, particularly FET graduates entering this field.

Singh said he enjoyed UKZN’s MBA programme for its practicality and relevance to the current industrial climate. While challenging he found the programme offered a broad perspective on management and helped him grasp how environmental elements such as the economy and human resources affect the running of a business.

‘I was part of a helpful and competitive study group that obtained distinctions and this inspired me to tap into my inherent ability and perform well.  I feel very good about graduating cum laude. Everybody has the ability to do well. We must not bring ourselves down and believe we cannot do things. Obstacles should be considered challenges. I would feel a sense of personal pride even if I graduated without the cum laude honour,’ said Singh.

Ms Karen Bayley, the Financial Director of CIM Chemicals (Pty) Ltd, attributed her academic success to God, her supportive family and hard work. Bayley’s dissertation topic, “Logistics Efficiency in the South African Chemical Distribution Sector” investigated the opportunities to achieve a more efficient logistic operations system for the sector. Her research took cognisance of best practices, skills development, the latest technological tools and information systems required to transform the logistics operations systems.

‘I am pleased that the hard work and dedication, and tireless love and support of my husband John and family over the three years, has resulted in me graduating with a good result ... I have never been one that can do anything by half measures. If I do something I want to do it properly and well, or not at all. If my employer is paying for my studies, out of respect and gratitude and because of their faith in me, I must give it my best effort and attention.’

Bayley described the MBA programme as “intense” with one having to be disciplined to maintain high standards of work in tests, assignments and examinations.

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It was a special moment for Ms Nomusa Dube, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, who was awarded her Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree at the UKZN Graduation ceremony on 18 April.

She was capped by her boss, KwaZulu-Natal Premier and UKZN Chancellor Dr Zweli Mkhize.

Her masters dissertation comprised a research paper titled, ‘The Role of Traditional Leadership in Local Governance in South Africa with Particular Reference to Sisonke District Municipality,’ and a case study titled, “The Conflict between Poverty and Nature Conservation: Lessons from the Dukuduku On-Site Resettlement Project,” supervised by Professor Purshottama Reddy and Dr Mogie Subban from the Discipline of Public Governance in the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance.

Dube’s graduation was witnessed by prominent leaders in public governance including Honorary Graduate Dr Carl Wright, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum; Dr Michael Sutcliffe, former City Manager for eThekwini; Executive Mayor Thabo Manyoni of the South African Local Government Association; Reverend Mpho Moruakgomo, President of the Botswana Association of Local Authorities; and others.

Juggling her demanding public work schedule and postgraduate studies was a mammoth task. However, late-evening consultations with her supervisors made it possible for her to achieve academic success, she said.

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Proud twin sisters, Thaneshri and Raneshri Chetty of Shallcross, both received their Bachelor of Administration degrees on Thursday.

Considering their different personalities, the fraternal twins still cannot fathom why they chose to pursue the same academic programme. But they are nevertheless delighted.

Thaneshri said: ‘I’m extremely excited to be graduating alongside my twin sister. It has been great studying together. We were there to support each other. We never competed against each other.’

The twins, currently studying towards their Honours degree in Human Resources Management at UKZN, described university life as eventful, stressful and fun. ‘I suppose if you work hard and set your mind to succeeding you will fare well,’ said Thaneshri. ‘During our undergraduate years people never realised we were twins. However, now that they are learning this fact they are amused by it,’ she added.

Raneshri described the highlights of university as working with her sister, forging friendships, and the lecturers they’ve built relationships with. ‘I’m excited to have graduated, and relieved. I’m grateful that all my hard work has paid dividends,’ said Raneshri.

Raneshri advised future administration students to listen to their lecturers and not be easily influenced by students in a negative way. ‘Work hard and if you put enough time and effort into your studies it will pay dividends in the end,’ said Raneshri.

The sisters aspire to enter the human resources field and work their way up to managerial level.

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‘I appeal to you, the younger generation, to take forward the radical new agenda I have set out here today before you – an agenda for hope.’

This was the call of Honorary Graduate, Mr Carl Wright, who received a Doctor of Administration, honoris causa, during the College of Law and Management Studies’ Graduation ceremony.

Wright said: ‘It is wonderful to see such a dynamic university community assembled here and the many talented young graduates present.’ He urged graduates to come together to develop new political and social strategies for a new global order.

Wright has earned widespread respect for his commitment to democracy and international co-operation, for his defence of human and labour rights, and for his promotion of social and economic development, especially in the area of public administration and local government. 

As Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF), a position to which he was appointed in 1995, he has played a significant role in the promotion of local democracy and good local governance globally.

‘It will come as no surprise that I feel that local democracy, achieved through local democratic elections and consolidated by strong, accountable, transparent and inclusive structures, is fundamental for the achievement of a true democracy,’ he said.

Although primarily an administrator and policy-maker, Wright has not shied away from activism, especially in the area of labour and trade union rights. His impressive career spans policy and representational positions in such bodies as the United Nations and the European Union, including the international trade union movement.

Central to this work has been a commitment to international co-operation based on a concern about global conflict and political and economic inequalities. 

‘I do not close my eyes to the problems of service delivery, the squalor of urban squatter camps, cases of police brutality and political corruption, issues of press freedom and yes, to the unacceptable threat to constitutionally guaranteed women’s rights in rural areas,’ he told the audience.

‘There also remains the vexed issue of the continuing dominance of the mines, industries and farms by a minority of the population…These are the issues which you, the young graduates of South Africa, will need to tackle with on-going support from bodies like CLGF and other international partners’ he added.

He told graduates that it is time for young people in Durban, in South Africa and throughout the world to come together to develop new political and social strategies to fight for a truly new global order, fit for the 21st century and fit for a better human society.

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Dr Stan Hardman, a Senior Lecturer in the Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L) and the Co-Project Manager of the Local Economic Development academic programmes, graduated this April with a Doctorate in Business Administration at the age of 62.

Hardman, whose research interest is organisational change management, investigated the topic “Using Creative Holism to inform new partnerships as a component of responsivity in the FET sector”.  His research emphasised the need for Further Education and Training colleges to adopt a values-based organisational management model using living theory as developed by Whitehead, and revealed the challenges that impede transformation that is necessary in turning the sector into a “growth engine in employability”.

Twenty staff members who held managerial positions in the FET sector and who registered for a UKZN professional development course – a Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership and Management - between 2009-2011 were participants in his research.

While the need for managers to transform this sector was evident and accepted, managerial staff members face a host of challenges that stifled the growth in the colleges, he found. 

Research findings indicate turbulence in the sector because of a number of significant policy shifts, including the reconstitution of all the colleges, the re-curriculation of programmes, and the transfer of employers from the province to the individual college council. Consequently, the sector encounters difficulties in attracting teachers with the requisite skills set, teachers who are grounded in their field and satisfied with the FET work environment. Moreover, a prevalent discontentment exists among students who have lost confidence in the FET colleges and are pessimistic about securing employment on completion of their studies.

Finally, the business sector is not confident in the FET sector’s teaching. A residual bias exists within the business community that there are political influences in FET college training. Employer bodies are disillusioned by the colleges’ ability to deliver, and are therefore not keen to engage with the sector.

A major change that Hardman recommends is the reconstruction of the sector’s management strategy with an organisational framework of action. He suggests the need for problematic FET colleges to take ownership of their problems.

He recommends that a cadre of internal stakeholders who have a thorough understanding of institutional management, and the sector, work together to build relations with external stakeholders, forge links with trade and industry to secure job opportunities for students and develop networks among staff members at different colleges to create responsive strategies.

With regard to his graduation Hardman said the challenge for an older person pursuing doctoral studies was the consolidation of years of learning in the field into a PhD thesis, which is a rigorous process. ‘However, I believe it is necessary to have both young academics coming into the university fresh from their studies as well as seasoned professionals coming into the system later in life, as has been my case. For young people interested in an academic career I really believe they should conclude their doctoral studies earlier in life. For those who come in later in life, the PhD becomes the transition mechanism to reflect on and write about practice.’

‘It’s a relief to obtain this [degree],’ said Hardman. ‘In this kind of work [academia] obtaining a PhD leaves you with a sense of achievement as it’s a necessary requirement. Academics feel chastised if they don’t have this qualification which is now generally accepted as a necessary rite of passage into an academic career,’ he added.

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Amalungu amathathu abasebenzi eThekwini kwiKolishi lezifundo zokuPhatha kanye noMthetho bathathe ithuba eliyingqayizivele eliwumgomo ohlinzekwa iNyuvesi ukuba abasebenzi bakhona babe nethuba lokufunda ukuze bakwazi ukwenza kangcono imisebenzi abayenzayo kumphakathi wase Nyuvesi.

UNksz Shereen Revashunkar oqhamuka kwiSikole sokuPhatha, ezobuChwepheshe kanye nokuBusa, uklonyeliswe ngeziqu zeqhuzu le-Maters kwezokuPhath’amaBhizinisi, ngesihloko esithi: “ukusebenza kanye nokuphathwa kwabafundi abavela emazweni angaphandle, kwiFakhalthi yezifundo zokuPhatha, iNyuvesi yaKwaZulu-Natali”, ubelulekwa uDkt Mihalis Chasomeris.

KuRevashunkar, lolu kube uhambo nokho oluthelile izithelo ezinhle. Nakuba, evuma ukuthi ukuziqoqa, uzithibe kube iwona khiye wempumelelo yakhe kunoma iziphi izifundo ezifuze lezi. Ubeke wathi, ngikuqinisekisile ukuthi ukufunda kwami ebusuku akuthikamezi isikhathi somndeni kanye nesomsebenzi.

UNksz Hlengiwe Ngcobo, naye futhi oqhamuka kwisikole esifanayo, ujabule kakhulu ukuthi naye athweswe iziqu zeqhuzu le-Bachelor kwezokuPhatha amaBhizinisi phambi kwezingane zakhe ezingo-Abulele (6) kanye noNandipha (11). Ubeke wathi, ukubona umama wabo ethweswa iziqu kubanikeze inhlansi yalokhu abekwenza sonke isikhathi engekho eduze nabo ematasa engena izifundo zantambama. 

UNKsz Lungile Ntola, okwiKolishi lokuPhatha izazimfundo, ophikweni lase Howard College, naye uthweswe iziqu ze-Postgraduate Diploma kwezokuPhatha.

Oka-Ntola uthe abazali bakhe bagxilisa isiko lokufunda esemncane, beqhubeka njalo nokumkhuthaza kanye nezingane zakwabo ukuba babeke imfundo phambili. Uthe ‘ukufunda kube uhambo olube nezinselelo kanye nenzuzo’. Uthe, ukuba nabangani abanombono ofanayo kumkhuthazile kakhulu kwenza izinto zalula.’ Kube ukuzinikela kanye nokusebenza kanzima… ngijabulile kakhulu ngethuba elinikezwa umqashi , UKZN,  kubasebenzi bakhe’.

Oka-Ntola uthe, ukhuthazekile kakhulu ukuba aqhubeke afunde aye phambili. 

Womathathu lamalungu athweswe iziqu ngesikhathi semicimbi ebikhona e-UKZN, mhla zi-18 kuMbasa. iKolishi lezokuPhatha lihalalilsele bonke abasebenzi laphinde labakhuthaza ukuthi baqhubekele phambili nezifundo zabo.

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A refusal to accept failure kept Dr Willem Bester, KwaZulu-Natal Project Manager for South African communications company Tellumat, motivated to complete his doctoral studies. 

Bester told UKZN Online he was “extremely relieved” to be awarded a Doctor of Philosophy Degree at the College of Law and Management Studies Graduation ceremony on 18 April for his thesis titled, “A Comparison of Management Style Before and After Retrenchment,” supervised by Dr Abdulla Kader of the Graduate School of Business and Leadership.

Bester’s doctoral journey was improved, he said, by the fact that his wife Linda was also studying towards a PhD and she received her degree on the same day as her husband for her study on the transfer of antibiotic resistance via the food chain. Bester said working together had brought a balance to the Bester household and the two were able to motivate each other.

Bester’s study investigated whether the mid-life adult returns to his or her previous emotional and mental state after an experience of unemployment or whether the stress experienced significantly scars the affected individual.

During his study he interviewed re-employed managers in order to establish how the experience of retrenchment changed the way they manage.

Bester’s study concluded that their management style had become more compassionate and they tended to have a new, enriched view on family life. The study revealed that some of the managers experienced difficulty in building trust relationships with new employers and tended to be over-committed for fear of going through another retrenchment. Bester said the management style of the re-employed managers could appropriately be described as a “servant-leadership” approach.

After his long but rewarding journey, Bester said he wants to take a short break before converting his thesis into publishable research work.

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Public Governance academic Dr Pregala (Solosh) Pillay had the pleasure of witnessing the capping of three of her doctoral students on 18 April during one of UKZN’s Graduation ceremonies.

Her three students were Dr Thandi Dlamini, BEE Advisor for Eskom, who produced a thesis titled: “A Model to Manage Staff Turnover: A Case Study of the Distribution Division at Eskom”Dr Moonira Khan, Executive Director of Student Affairs at the University of Cape Town, whose thesis was titled, “Student Governance in Higher Education Institutions in the Western Cape, South Africa: A Case Study”; and Dr Moonilall Kooblal, Academic Advisor at PC Training and Business College, whose thesis was titled, “Poverty Alleviation Strategies in Phoenix, Mount Moriah and Mount Royal, KwaZulu-Natal: A Community Perspective”.

Pillay, who is based in the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, is a respected academic in the field of Public Governance and over the years has supervised several Doctoral theses, Masters dissertations and Honours research projects.

She noted that the UKZN Discipline of Public Governance is well recognised locally and internationally for its quality scholarship. The growing demand from international students who are interested in pursuing doctoral studies in Public Administration bears testimony to this.

Commenting on the work produced by her students, she said: ‘Their reports were exceptional. The examiners were impressed by their outstanding, innovative and original contribution to the theory and practice of Public Administration.’

Pillay regularly makes herself available to serve as an external examiner for various tertiary institutions in South Africa.

Light-heartedly, she quipped that she now has a fan club of prospective doctoral students who would like to be supervised by her.

She said she enjoyed working with all her students and in the future will be looking at publishing guidelines on how to achieve a doctoral qualification.

Sadly, after 17 years of dedicated service to UKZN, Pillay will be leaving at the end of April to take up the position of Associate Professor at the University of Stellenbosch in the School of Public Leadership as well as the post of Director for the Anti-Corruption, Education and Research Unit.

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