Milpark alumnus uses her MBA to pursue her philanthropic work
A Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree is often seen as a corporate qualification, for ‘suits’ that want to get into senior management or for itchy-footed high fliers with an entrepreneurial bent. While this may be accurate, the MBA has opened doors to those that want to immerse themselves in the charitable and not-for-profit sector.
More business schools are forging links with charities and not-for-profit organisations or offering specialised programmes, such as Milpark Business School’s MBA focus on corporate social responsibility and corporate governance. Through this focus, Milpark MBA alumnus Connie Mkhize developed her passion for philanthropy and became an ambassador for the Unogwaja Project.
Unogwaja, meaning hare in isiZulu, is an annual 10-day cycle challenge from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg (PMB) followed by participation in the Comrades Marathon on the 11th day. It is in commemoration of Phil Masterton-Smith, whom in 1933 started the biathlon with a significant emphasis on raising funds for chosen charities.
Mkhize explains: “I became an Unogwaja ambassador when my friend, Kenny Chiloane invited me to the benefit dinner. For me, Unogwaja is fundamentally a display of love and sends a message of hope for a brighter South Africa through every one of us.”
“The Milpark MBA is more than education; it’s about humanity, being a thought leader but also remaining humble and aware of your integral role within society and the development of it,” she affirms.
The IT engineer says; “We all have a responsibility toward the development of our environment and to help others realise their potential. I am of the view that ethical business leaders can be developed. Institutions of higher learning play an integral role in instilling good governance and can contribute to the emergence of ethically sound leaders.”
She says the completion of her MBA studies saw her move from a technical to a more strategic role in her organisation. “One of the most valuable lessons I have learnt in the classroom is to listen to gain understanding more than to provide a response. This is a lesson not openly imparted but through Milpark MBA’s active engagements, one gets to understand the importance of listening and gaining different perspectives - I apply this skill in my daily interactions and it has enabled me to grow as an individual.”
Mkhize says she decided to embark on the MBA journey because of personal development and her drive for success which has been her core focus since her early childhood days living on the south coast of Durban. “Prior to my MBA journey, I was a ‘right or wrong’ type of person - I did not believe in ‘grey areas.’ The MBA changed my perspective, it was in this MBA journey that I identified skills that I did not know I possessed,” she added.
29 Jun 2017