Leading letter from USB Director-Elect, Prof Mark Smith
So 2021 has started very much like 2020 finished. These are challenging times for individuals, organisations and economies. These are also times when responsible leaders are required to help find sustainable and resilient solutions to build back our societies. These are times when we at the University of Stellenbosch Business School can have a positive impact on society through our teaching, research and social impact.
I am happy to say that we have already welcomed students back on the full range of programmes at the school, from Postgraduate Diplomas to MBA and MPhil to PhD. Last year we were able to respond to the constraints created by the pandemic while also providing an excellent pedagogic and learning experience. As a leader in blended education we were well placed to respond to the challenges of 2020 and we are now innovating further to meet our students’ needs.
When the time comes we are looking forward to being back on campus more regularly and to take advantage of the +R100 million upgrades of our facilities. In addition to this investment, the school is committed to investing in virtual facilities to complement our modern staff and student physical environment. I am pleased to say that the school was technologically well-placed to cope with the challenges posed by Covid-19, compared to competitors, thanks to our custom-built streaming classrooms and leading technical facilities, however, we cannot be complacent.
One of our key tasks for 2021 is a renewal of our strategy for the coming years. Three years ago in a school-wide process of collective intelligence we developed a comprehensive school strategy. This work remains a solid roadmap for the future and we will re-examine this and adjust in the light of the events of 2020. We will rely on members of the alumni community to be active participants in this strategy renewal and count on your feedback and support.
The third major activity of the year is the rebranding of the school. We hope to take advantage of a rebranding of the university to leverage a school brand renewal. The first step in this process is making better use of social media channels such as LinkedIn and you will see that we have dropped the “USB” identity in favour of the University of Stellenbosch Business School. I invite you all to update your LinkedIn educational profiles in order to signal your membership of our alumni community and advance the school’s reputation.
Finally, we recognise that there remains a lot of uncertainty as we start 2021 and we encourage you to stay safe, make the most of your family and friends, and make the most of the alumni community — watch out for alumni events in your region. And visit us when you can.
All of us at the business school send you our best wishes for the year ahead.
*Read more about Prof Mark Smith in this interview by David Furlonger in Financial Mail