MBA Alum Focus: Vinoliah Martin
is an inspirational leader with a passion for technology and growing businesses in the digital era while also developing and empowering people.
She grew up in a small, sheltered community in South Africa where opportunities for professional career development were limited. “Role models and mentors were absent in this community, leaving me with a limited worldview of endless possibilities.
“At the age of 15, I received my first personal computer and was completely fascinated by the programmes and games on this computer. I soon realised that I wanted to study information technology. However, the schools in my community did not have any computers. The only option I had was to excel in school and focus on mathematics and physical science to get an acceptance into university,” she says.
After completing her first degree in information technology, Vinoliah wanted to gain a more in-depth understanding of the business world. This led her to the business school, where she completed her MBA in 2017.
Choosing Stellenbosch Business School
After doing thorough research, she decided to enrol at Stellenbosch Business School for the following reasons:
- A strong focus on responsible leadership
“Responsible leadership is typically an ethical act of inspiring others and making sustainable business decisions while taking into account shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, the environment, emotion and intuition as well as technology and innovation. In today’s challenging business environment with rapid changes emerging in the economic, political, social and technological aspects, it has become increasingly important that leaders act responsibly and are profoundly committed to enacting positive change in the business, economy and society at large. Stellenbosch Business School’s strategic focus on responsible leadership is therefore exceptionally relevant, valuable and imperative for all leaders.”
- The international accreditations
“To me, international accreditations are extremely important. It provides an international mark of good practices and ensures quality education and increases a graduate’s competitiveness in the global job market.”
- The flexibility in terms of modular classes
“Stellenbosch Business School truly offers significant flexibility in terms of blended learning classes (online and on-campus) and modular classes (in-class experience and focused studies). The modular classes were exactly the type of learning experience I sought. It allowed me to be completely focused on my studies for an entire week every other month without the continuous interruptions, meetings and pressures from work. In addition, I had in-class connections with amazingly talented students from across the world, where I could engage in healthy debates about the challenges and opportunities in the business world, both locally and globally, and share learnings and experiences which added significant value to my growth and development.”
- The International Study Module abroad
“This module was the highlight of my MBA. I think it is quite amazing that the International Study Module is included in the tuition fees and that students can select their own specialised stream and country they would like to visit for this experience. I selected the technology and innovation stream hosted in Grenoble, a magnificent city in France. This module allowed me to get exposure to a university abroad where I could focus on the global successes, challenges and opportunities of how emerging digital technologies are reshaping every aspect of society, including how organisations and their workforce create and deliver value for sustainable competitive advantage. It also allowed me to be in conversation with amazing leaders and professors, which truly broadened my worldview.”
Life after an MBA
It’s been five years since graduating and Vinoliah says the business school delivered on everything promised. “The entire experience shaped me into the leader I am today.
“Acquiring an MBA has transformed me in remarkable ways. It significantly developed my leadership skills and business acumen abilities; it grew my network and helped progress my career in phenomenal ways,” she says.
In her current role as a Client Executive at Microsoft SA, she helps organisations digitally transform their business models to enhance their market competitiveness and drive sustainable business growth.
She is also a Board member for Mowgli Mentoring, an NGO driving sustainable economic and social change in the Middle East, North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa through mentoring.
Due to her love for technology, she became a board member for Women in Tech SA, a global NGO on a mission to close the gender gap, help women embrace technology, and empower five million women and girls by 2030. She was nominated for the Best Ally Award for Women in Tech Africa Awards this year and also recently published an article on ITWeb on “How important is mentoring as businesses digitally transform?”.
Vinoliah is now embarking on her PhD journey, focusing on workforce competencies to aid organisations in digitally transforming now and into the future.