The PGD in Leadership Development: Awakening the social and corporate activist in me
We would like to introduce you David Makhoali, our first student blogger who will be sharing his Leadership Development journey throughout the course of the year at USB.
My Leadership Development Journey so far
In a world where more than five paperback books on leadership and leadership development are published every day and where global book stores such as Amazon offer over 57 000 books with the word “leadership” in the title for anyone with an interest in the subject, one might ask whether an investment in an academic programme on leadership development is a worthwhile undertaking.
As a supporter of lifelong learning and personal development, I was made aware of the programme by a friend who later sent me the link to the website. I was instantly convinced that this is the kind of programme that I need at this stage of my life, for both future corporate and non-corporate interests. The social and corporate activist in me was awakened when I saw something that spoke about the role of business in society, and the decision to fill in the online application was almost inevitable. Thankfully, the convenience of the online application process made it easy for me to enrol. So here I am today, almost halfway through the course.
My underlying assumptions towards a programme with such a title were tons of theory on leadership, with an exaggerated focus on what distinguishes the good ones from the bad ones and how we need to aspire to be like the greatest leaders who ever walked the face of earth, with Tata Madiba as prime example. However, this perception was quickly dispelled during the second day of our first block of classes when I was actually re-introduced to myself, for lack of a better word. The narrative I have of the programme has been different since then.
The class composition on its own allows us to mine the vast knowledge, experience and expertise, from various industries, brought to the table by the diversity of participants. Our class is also divided into smaller groups which are referred to as councils. This structure acknowledges the authenticity of each leader in the group and this authenticity is celebrated.
One’s council is one’s family for the whole year. I have never seen groups of strangers who form such strong bonds in such a short space of time and who share “relentless love fired by creative anxiety while exercising generative power”. A family of strangers with each other’s best interests at heart – this is a demonstration of what can happen if we, as leaders in our various spheres of influence, can acknowledge and celebrate diversity by giving back love and by broadening our understanding from just racial lines to include the diversity of creativity, knowledge and work ethics. This remains my highlight thus far!
With so much emphasis on the nature of the programme and the class structure, one might assume there is no broader interactions on the USB campus itself. This African hub of business knowledge is built on a hill in Tyger Valley (in the north of Cape Town). It seems like the architects wanted to put up a business school depicting the belief that knowledge is the light of the world and that the city on the hill cannot be hidden. It is at this very campus where I met and made a new friend who hails from Nigeria and is currently studying towards the MPhil in Development Finance.
I am confident to say that upon completion of this programme, I will be commissioned to go out into the world as a steward of society.
*David’s blog will be updated as he continues his journey throughout the year continues.
The USB have a range of online postgraduate diplomas designed in such a way that you can study while you work, including a post graduate diploma in Nigeria, offered through the University of Stellenbosch Business School.