Prof Mark Smith’s Leading Letter | Alumnet March 2022
Late last year it looked as if 2022 was going to start much like the previous years as we prepared for another wave of Covid. Yet here we are looking at a much more positive outlook and an exciting year ahead for the Business School, our alumni and our stakeholders. Times remain challenging for many people and many parts of the economy. There remains a lot of uncertainty but there are also opportunities for us as a School to have an impact and you as our alumni to make a difference – there has never been a more important time for responsible leaders to step up.
At the Business School, we have recruited a strong cohort of students across all of our programmes from PGDip to MBA and MPhil to PhD. This year we have launched a new format portfolio of PGDips that provides for multiple and flexible learning pathways in order to respond to the needs of students today – we hope to continue these innovations throughout the full suite of our programmes at the School while also reaching new levels with our blended and hybrid classroom experiences.
The year ahead looks exciting for us on a number of other fronts. You may remember in 2021 we started to transition away from the “USB” acronym in order to emphasise our Stellenbosch identity and our role as a leading Business School. This year the process continues as we launch our new logo and name as Stellenbosch Business School. You may have seen a glimpse at the Academic Opening in January. Watch out for news soon when we unveil our strategy for the next three years.
Another exciting project for us this year is the consolidation of our entrepreneurship activities. We have strong pedigree in this space with the township-based Small Business Academy, our hosting of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor for South Africa (the world’s leading measurement instrument for entrepreneurship), and our other activities including the Lion’s Den, new dedicated entrepreneurship modules, and links to the University’s LaunchLab. In 2022 we will build upon these strengths by recruiting new academics in entrepreneurship and actively sharing our entrepreneurship expertise with stakeholders inside and outside the university. These elements should combine for an important contribution to entrepreneurship policy and practice for the country.
Another exciting element of our work for 2022 is to make greater connections with our ecosystems. We want to emphasise what is unique about our ecosystem to underline our added value for our stakeholders. Whether that is links with employers in the Western Cape and across South Africa, our connections with the wine industry around Stellenbosch, our relations with small businesses and entrepreneurs, our membership of global networks of leading business schools or the myriad of other connections – all of these elements come together to provide value for our society, our stakeholders, and of course our alumni.
These initiatives rely on a strong partnership with you, our alumni. We count on you to support us on communicating our new identity. Many of you contributed to our strategic consultation phase and we look forward to your engagement as we execute our strategy for the coming years. Our alumni are vital for our work in entrepreneurship as mentors, sponsors and even clients. And finally, you are key levers for helping us respond and understand the needs of our ecosystem while also being a central part of that ecosystem that helps us have the positive impact we desire. We look forward to your support.
We look forward to seeing you in 2022 on campus or at one of our events and in the meantime please accept our best wishes for the year ahead from all of us at Stellenbosch Business School.
Prof Mark Smith
Director at Stellenbosch University Business School
Mark Smith was previously Faculty Dean at Grenoble Ecole de Management (France) as Professor Human Resource Management where he was also Director of the Doctoral School, Head of Department, and research team leader. Prior to working in France he worked at Manchester Business School (UK).
Mark Smith is a seasoned academic and highly acclaimed researcher who is skilled in the dissemination of academic knowledge. His research interests focus on careers, gender, labour market policy & outcomes, working conditions, working-time, and work-life integration. Over several years, he has published in or made contributions to well over 70 academic books and journals. His research areas include youth employment policy, the integration of ethics across the business world, gender and the labour market, the role of business in social innovation, and the transition from education to employment.