Masters of business leadership

City of Tshwane Executive Mayor, Kgosientso Ramokgopa
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According to Dr Renosi Mokate, the Unisa Graduate School of Business (SBL) Executive Director and CEO, a postgraduate business degree provides vital skills that can be applied in government.

“Business principles can serve as the backbone for economic, political and social systems at all levels A postgraduate qualification in business is more varied than most people realise and we see a rising number of government professionals in South Africa completing postgraduate degrees,” says Mokate. The Master of Business Leadership (MBL) programme from Unisa’s Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL) can prove invaluable – as these high players in politics prove.

For Tshwane Executive Mayor, Kgosientso ‘Sputla’ Ramokgopa, politics is a far cry from what he originally studied, a BSc in Civil Engineering. Studying further as he pursued a political career, he completed a Masters of Public Administration Degree as well as an MBL. Completing an MBL with its strong focus on leadership proved to be the right stepping stone, as his string of accolades confirms. In 2008, he was MTN Boss of the Year and in 2009 he was named CEO of the year by the Institute of People Management. In 2010 he was the Black Business Quarterly Young Business Achiever of the Year and in November of the same year, he was elected as Executive Mayor of the City of Tshwane.

“One has to think of government departments as businesses – with business principles applied to how they run. The MBL degree offered me a broad spectrum of both theory and practice which covers aspects of management from the operational level through to general management and culminates in strategic management and leadership. I have found the principles very applicable in my public sector work,” says Ramokgopa.

As the MEC for the Department of Education in the Free State, SBL alumnus Pule Makgoe understands the importance of education, particularly postgraduate degrees. “Many politicians have undergraduate degrees in law, economics, or business. A postgraduate degree obtained later is held in high regard.”

Mr Makgotla Oupa Mokuena is General Manager: Strategy & Policy at Independent Development Trust, with a Masters in Urban Planning and a Masters in Public Administration, BrandOvation Non-Executive Director and current MBL student. He says, “The study programme at SBL has provided me with an integrated, multi-dimensional, multi-faceted and cross-functional learning experience. My understanding of business principles, awareness of complexity of business risks, exposure to dynamic forces that shape global trade, and the grasp of the ever-evolving nature of global business has been enhanced.”

Khomotso Motshekga, Senior Manager at Office of the Premier Limpopo, is currently in the second year of her MBL. She says, “The distance correspondence model enables me to engage with a leading university and top academics. As a student in a more remote area, I have been allocated to a virtual study group and the interaction is very beneficial. The myUnisa system and technology advances allow us to have a fully interactive experience, even though it is mainly a distance learning degree.”

Mokate concludes, “There is always room to enhance education and I believe that there is a need for more government officials with management roles to consider postgraduate business qualifications.”

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Issue 68