Rushana Hartnick – Mitchells Plain’s Global USB Ambassador Stellenbosch Business School Skip to main content
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Speaking at the 2020 USB Academic Opening in February,

MBA alumnus Rushana Hartnick shared her first introduction to internationalisation, the key theme of USB’s ongoing commitment to being a global partner.

When Rushana Hartnick, social entrepreneur and alumnus of the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), started The Little Mermaid Swim School in 2012, she had a vision: to offer water safety and swimming to children in the Mitchells Plain area where not many home owners have swimming pools. In 2014, she catapulted her academic and business career as a participant in the USB Small Business Academy (SBA). Today, she is the holder of a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management and Administration (PGDip BMA), and recently became a Full-time MBA graduate from the business school. She reflects on her international experience gained from her journey.y

“When I arrived for the first day of my PGDip BMA, I was introduced to 11 exchange students, and I remember looking at them thinking that I don’t belong here. However, their sense of curiosity was contagious. I realised then that a highlight for me would be when I set foot off the continent to unlock my full potential.”

She was elected to join the EMBA Consortium for Global Business Innovation, a collaboration between 11 business schools, in Turkey, where she was joined by 11 nationalities to discuss pertinent issues facing each country.

“It was mind-blowing! Sharing impactful conversations with so many different nationalities, and there I was with a seat at the table. It led me to question my role in the society where I live and what I am doing to ensure that my country becomes one that everyone around the globe wants to visit or do business with.

“I was afforded another opportunity by USB to be part of the Digital Strategy and New Business Models elective in Brazil, where I discussed social issues with executives from around the world and creating business models in addressing these issues. This has started another journey for me – one that I can now make a reality back home, in Mitchells Plain.

“I want to thank USB, especially the support staff, for believing in me and giving me so many opportunities and exposure to broaden my mind and horizon for the good of my local community. When USB speaks internationalisation, it comes from the bottom all the way to the top. And I am not only an ambassador of Mitchell’s Plain but an ambassador of USB.”

Since its inception, The Little Mermaid Swim School, has grown from servicing 35 children to teaching swimming to 500 kids per week whilst also providing an aftercare facility.


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