MBA Alumnus Success Story | Stellenbosch Business School Skip to main content
A study desk with study items
MBA alumnus Dr Nombeko Patience Mbava recently completed her PhD degree in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at Stellenbosch

MBA alumnus Dr Nombeko Patience Mbava recently completed her PhD degree in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at Stellenbosch University, specialising in in Public and Development Management.

After achieving the USB MBA in 2009, Nombeko’s professional career soared to greater heights.  The MBA enabled her to have a holistic view and understanding of management as a discipline and to have an integrated view of business management.  With the MBA firmly under her belt, she built a strong corporate career as business strategist. In this regard she had to think strategically, assess information analytically, work with diverse teams, have strong financial acumen, lead from the front and communi­cate eloquently. All of these were lessons she learnt in the MBA classroom.

Image removed.

In this photo: Dr Nombeko Mbava, third from the left in front, at her graduation in December 2017.

Her early career as a business analyst contributed in  the optimisation of the fuel retail assets at oil giants such as  BP Southern Africa, Caltex Oil – later Chevron South Africa, and Sasol Oil. Her MBA research, under the supervision of Prof Hein Oosthuizen, investigated competitive strategies in forecourt convenience retailing assessing how convenience stores located on the service station forecourt can best be leveraged in order to improve profitability.

Dr Mbava has strong grounding as a visionary business leader with an ability to plan, research and benchmark future growth and trends and have the critical ability to work across organisational boundaries in a collaborative manner. The ability to present analytical conclusions and complex information effectively at all levels has been a core strength. This includes having an understanding of institutional capacity building and an orientation towards results, strong transformational leadership and continuous innovation.

Image removed.Government’s call on all South Africans to roll up their sleeves to help build a capable state that delivers to all South Africans, resonated with Nombeko’s affinity to the servant leadership style.

Contributing to something far bigger than a simple focus on the business profit motive or creating shareholder value, propelled her to look at the bigger picture, seeing where and how she can contribute to the future. Stewardship for all public resources, good governance and accountability in the public sector are critical for the future sustainability of generations to come.

For several years, she served as the Governance and Planning Manager, reporting directly to the CEO, at the South African National Space Agency, where she led the organisational strategy development and execution, performance monitoring and evaluation. She later became the  Head of Planning, Risk, Intelligence, Monitoring & Evaluation), reporting directly to the CEO at the Technology Innovation Agency, where she provided strategic leadership and developed and directed the strategic focus for all activities related to organisational governance, strategic planning and risk management.

She has headed monitoring and evaluation units in public entities where she provided strategic leadership for all activities related organisational strategy development and governance, she found that impact evaluation expertise was outside government and this was a critical gap in the monitoring and evaluation capability of government. Through funding from the National Research Foundation, she pursued  her fulltime doctoral studies at the School of Public Leadership under the supervision of Dr Babette Rabie investigating impact evaluation methodologies, both theory and practices. She completed her doctorate over a 30 month period. The research focused on the potential value of the Realist Evaluation approach on programme impact evaluations in South Africa. She contributed an impact assessment model, applicable to African monitoring and evaluation contextual conditions, which advances evaluation findings that are useful and aid in evidence-informed policy making.

Dr Mbava is now a University Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow specialising in evaluation approaches within the School of Management Studies at the University of Cape Town. Exploring innovative Africa-centric evaluation approaches emanating from the Africa is critical within the broader debate of the indigenisation of evaluation practice on the African continent.

Dr Mbava is former board member of the South Africa Monitoring and Evaluation Association, where she contributed towards the development of a robust Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) landscape in South Africa.

She is currently a Trustee of Financial Services Conduct Authority(FSCA) Consumer Education Foundation. In 2017 she was appointed by the State President into the Board of the Media Development and Diversity Agency, in this role she serves as the Chairperson of the Research, Capacity Building, M&E Committee as a well as member of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Dr Mbava believes the USB MBA was the catalyst that changed her life trajectory and propelled her to greater heights of career success and satisfaction. The USB MBA to this day, enables her to engage with people from all walks of life in a warm and value-driven manner as she consistently serves the world with grace, humility and integrity.


Want to stay in touch with the Stellenbosch Business School community? Sign up and receive newsletters from our desk to your inbox.