Cape Town - Christie Koorts has been named the 2014 Top MBA student of the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB). Fin24 finds out more about him and his recipe for success.
What are you currently doing and what is your role?
I am currently the head of the project management office at Woolworths. My team and I facilitate our organisational project portfolio management, capital planning, project life cycle management and governance processes.
What were the major challenges for you in doing your MBA?
The single biggest challenge in doing my MBA was attempting to balance family, work and studies. The MBA was as demanding as it was rewarding, in particular as a part-time student, which required constant focus and motivation to stay on track.
Other challenges included the ability to master and switch rapidly from one subject area to another, likewise to switch from theory to practical application and from individual assignments to teamwork, all of which constantly tested one’s resilience.
Why do you think an MBA degree is so admired and sought-after?
The world is evolving at a very rapid pace, with businesses and societies continually changing. The MBA at USB represents world class future-fit thinking which allows graduates to practically and immediately apply the most relevant business and leadership knowledge across multiple disciplines in their organisations.
In my view a decent MBA programme promotes life-long learning with its graduates and affiliated organisations, which means the ability to constantly adapt, innovate and ultimately sustain successful strategies, become a natural part of day-to-day business.
How has your MBA advanced your knowledge, work, company or career?
The MBA has very effectively extended my functional knowledge across all aspects of modern value chains in a global context. Additionally, the USB’s focus on integrative leadership has broadened and accelerated my personal development.
I am confident that the quality of the MBA will allow me to add tangible value to my organisation in multiple capacities over time.
What do you see as being the value of doing an MBA?
The ultimate value of an MBA is finding a higher order purpose for your acquired knowledge and skills. Whether it be your family, community, organisation or country, the point is to use the privilege of expansive knowledge to enrich and add value to your personal ecosystem.
Anything that prospective MBA students should know before they embark on one of the most gruelling courses?
Firstly, establish a clear and meaningful reason for doing an MBA. It is much easier to motivate yourself and apply your knowledge through project assignments when you have personal and professional objectives in mind.
Secondly, set up a personal support system and make sure you take your family on the journey. Embarking on an MBA is not an individual effort, as one really needs extended support at home, as well as the support of your fellow students and faculty. So, it becomes essential to rely on teamwork on all fronts.
Thirdly, never give up. It is undoubtedly a tough programme, so one needs to keep your head in the game at all times to avoid losing precious momentum at any point of the journey.