The bursaries come just about a year after the two institutions signed a formal agreement that led to the BMF's Western Cape Regional Office setting up their resource centre at the GSB's Breakwater Campus on the Waterfront. At the time, Joe Mwase, the BMF's Regional Secretary General, noted that the proximity would enhance the relationship between the BMF and the GSB.
True to Mwase's forecast, three members of the BMF – Luvuyo Mkangelwa, Vusi Kama and Bongani Swartbooi – this year received bursaries to sought-after management training courses at the GSB. Mkangelwa is currently busy with the modular Association in Management (AIM) – or Action AIM – programme, while Kama and Swartbooi completed the two-week New Managers Programme, offered through the GSB's Executive and Management Education programme.
According to Elspeth Bentley, Director of AIM, the GSB offered the bursaries as a way exposing some of the School's non-MBA courses to the BMF. "Everyone always thinks of the MBA as a first option, and we just wanted the BMF's members to look at alternative and sometimes more appropriate programmes offered at the GSB," she says.
With the first three trailblazers either having completed or about to complete their stints at the GSB, it is hoped that they will encourage their BMF counterparts to apply for these programmes,
And with the good impression made on the trio, it doesn't appear that this will be too much of a problem. Mkangelwa, a Human Resources Consultant at Nedcor Bank and board member of the BMF, registered for AIM hoping to pick up some general management skills, and describes his time at the GSB as "a revelation".
"The School makes you realise business is not simply business, that business runs in a bigger environment," he observes. Being able to bring his own experiences to the classroom has also made the course that much more enjoyable, he adds.
Adding his words of praise, Kama, who works as Media Manager for SA Rugby, says his two weeks on the New Managers course was equally valuable. Like Mkangelwa, he too was interested in general management education, and was not disappointed either.
"The course really helped me understand the broader principles of business," he enthused.
For Swartbooi, an Office Manager with the Directorate of Special Operations, the New Managers course was also an opportunity to meet with and set up networks with managers in other fields. A GSB debutante, the mix of students in the class proved to be an eye-opener.
"I've never experienced such a diverse body of people in one classroom," he observes.
According to Professor Nick Segal, Director of the GSB, a principal purpose of the partnership – from the GSB's perspective – is to accelerate the pace of diversification of the School's academic and other classes, and the three scholarships contribute to that end.
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