My journey at Stellenbosch Business School - Mpumelelelo Buthelezi Stellenbosch Business School Skip to main content
Mpumelelelo Buthelezi
My journey at Stellenbosch Business School - Mpumelelelo Buthelezi

My study journey at Stellenbosch Business School transformed my life's professional and personal facets, leading to life-changing decisions. Stellenbosch Business School epitomises personal and professional development, making it an excellent choice for anyone committed to becoming a responsible leader.


Beginning the journey

I began seeking a programme to help me grow as a leader. Stellenbosch Business School stood out during my research due to its emphasis on inner work. At the time, I hadn't contemplated the importance of self-awareness and other aspects of personal development, nor had I fully understood my identity as a leader. I initially focused on leadership skills, not consciousness development, but the latter intrigued me.

Consequently, I enrolled in the Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership Development in 2020. After completing the PGDip, I pursued the MPhil in Leadership Coaching in 2022.


Highlights of my leadership journey

Several highlights marked my time at Stellenbosch Business School. These include winning the Top Achiever Award for the PGDip in Leadership Development for 2020/21, the Director's Award for 2020/21, and the Top Achiever Award for the MPhil in Leadership Coaching for 2023/24. However, the greatest highlight was my personal metamorphosis, which enabled me to change my career and follow my purpose. In 2022, I transitioned from a career in law to establishing my own coaching practice, Lead Catalysts Coaching (Pty) Ltd.


How Stellenbosch Business School helped me

Stellenbosch Business School gave me the courage, confidence and formal knowledge to change careers from corporate law to business full-time. I evolved from 16 years as an attorney to setting up my coaching practice. I also formalised my long-term side hustles, like real estate investment, and ventured into legal consulting.

The PGDip and MPhil programmes facilitated tremendous personal growth, both as an individual and a leader. The PGDip programme was akin to therapy I didn't know I needed. It triggered much-needed vertical development through its structured content, focus on self-awareness, reflection, accountability and continuous support from faculty and support departments.

I am grateful to Dr Kathy Bennett, Dr Dorrian Aiken, Christo Nel and Kerry Sandison, for playing pivotal roles in my leadership journey. The working groups within each programme also offered immense support, helping us navigate various challenges. A special thanks to Michelle Meyer for her assistance when I fell ill during the MPhil programme.


Challenges faced during my studies

My studies at Stellenbosch Business School were not without challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated virtual classes and group meetings, and contracting the virus myself led to lingering symptoms like fatigue and brain fog. However, self-determination, discipline and support from my family, my Stellenbosch group (Leadership Council) and faculty members kept me on track.

During my MPhil journey, I faced personal challenges but received unwavering support from group members and faculty, particularly my thesis supervisor Dr Dorrian Aiken and coaching supervisor Dr. Kathy Bennett. Their flexibility and investment in student success were instrumental in my achieving the Top Achiever Award.


Career highlights

Rather than focusing on accolades, the highlight of my career thus far is my decision to transition from corporate law to full-time business and philanthropy. The PGDip programme prompted introspection, reflection and the decision to live authentically.


Social impact engagements

I have been involved in social impact activities through church, work and personal initiatives for nearly two decades. Currently, I volunteer with a Pan-African non-profit organisation supporting black women aged 21 to 30, which has a cohort of over 100 women this year. I also founded Lead Catalysts Circle in 2022, offering free mentoring and coaching to young women from underprivileged communities in KwaZulu-Natal. Additionally, I recently joined the Informal Economy Development Forum as a pro bono coach, focusing on youth.


Becoming a responsible leader

For me, responsible leadership begins with a leader's mindset towards not only the organisation but also the environment, society and the world. Responsible leadership requires systemic thinking, identifying stakeholders beyond the organisation, and pursuing good for society and the environment. Stellenbosch Business School instilled values like embracing diversity, ethical leadership, adaptability, collaboration, authenticity and lifelong learning.


Advice to new graduates

Congratulations on your achievements. Believe in yourselves and always be authentic. Remember, learning is a lifelong journey. Stay eager to learn and grow both personally and professionally.


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