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A Billion Reasons to Celebrate SA Business School’s Newest Graduates

On Friday, 19 July 2013, the Tertiary School in Business Administration (TSiBA) hosted their fifth Graduation Ceremony at the Old Mutual headquarters in Cape Town. Esteemed guest speaker, Dr Mamphela Ramphele, shared the spotlight with twenty-seven TSiBA graduandi who were capped for achieving their Bachelor of Business Administration in Entrepreneurial Leadership. Some of these individuals are the first in their families to graduate, which is awe-inspiring. This is made possible through full tuition scholarships provided by TSiBA to study accredited, tertiary level courses focused on developing entrepreneurship and leadership.

This was not a typical Graduation Ceremony, but TSiBA is not your typical business school. TSiBA is a non-profit business school founded in 2004 and registered and fully accredited with the Department of Higher Education (No: 2007/HE08/001) as a private higher education institution. As per tradition the ceremony began with a minute of silence for guests to show respect to the incredible journey undertaken by the twenty-seven graduates who travelled a long, and often challenging, road. For the first time sixty-nine students from TSiBA’s one-year, undergraduate certificate, the Higher Certificate in Business Administration, graduated with the degree students to gain inspiration to complete their degree.

Nolan Beudeker, Dean of TSiBA explained “TSiBA balances the curriculum with both academic content and experiential learning. Individuals selected are nurtured to grow confidence and acquire the values, attributes and behaviour of a leader to become grounded in themselves, their community, country and the world. This is achieved through the “Profile of Graduateness” which places attitude at the heart of the student’s development and layers skills and knowledge around this. TSiBA seeks to ensure that students are equipped not only for further study and the working world, but also develop a social conscience and the skills to build our nation. All students are on tuition scholarships and are not required to pay back their education monetarily but rather to “Pay it Forward” by transferring the knowledge, skills and resources they gain at TSiBA back into their communities.”

Nolan continued, “Graduates are empowered to find employment, start their own business, or continue with university studies. Many TSiBA graduates also continue to “Pay it Forward” at TSiBA by being lecturers, tutors or mentors, even some returning to become staff members. The Graduates are wonderful role models to current students because many have also been first generation university entrants and understand the challenges therein.”

To date, TSiBA has awarded over a thousand scholarships to talented young people who would otherwise not have had access to higher education, produced five Mandela Rhodes Scholars and many other student awards of excellence in just five cohorts. Statistics show that 95% of TSiBA graduates are currently employed, entrepreneurs in their own business or studying at postgraduate level – this against the backdrop of 50% unemployment amongst South African youth, is unprecedented. TSiBA graduates currently work at big organisations like Oceana, Old Mutual, Sanlam, JP Morgan, Curo Fund Services and Prudential in various roles like Investment, Finance, Human Resources and Client Services, with some becoming entrepreneurs in their own businesses.

Adri Marais CEO of TSiBA said, “The impact one hundred graduates will have on the growth of the South African economy is significant. Working with industry remuneration estimates, these working graduates could collectively earn approximately fifteen million rands per annum. At a conservative economic lifespan of 40 years, a very conservative cost of living annual increase of 7% per annum, and a few promotions during their career span, these graduates should earn and contribute well over one billion rands into the economy during their working lives.”

Marais continues, “Contrast this figure with the drain of having a hundred unemployed, unemployable youth on the street. Even more concerning is the cost of having idle school leavers. Not only is there the lost opportunity cost of productivity, but the harsh social impact of unemployment such as increased rates of depression, illness, crime, drugs, domestic violence and reliance on social grants. The difference between a hundred school leavers hanging around on street corners and a hundred TSiBA graduates is an astonishing one billion rands. This is why we are celebrating this very momentous occasion today. Thank you to all our supporters who share our vision to graduate entrepreneurial leaders for South Africa and to the Old Mutual Foundation, Old Mutual Specialised Finance and Price Waterhouse Coopers for co-sponsoring the graduation ceremony event”.

By popular student demand, Dr. Mamphela Ramphele was the guest of honour at the ceremony. Dr Ramphele needed little introduction as one of South Africa’s most celebrated academics, politician, former activist against apartheid, medical doctor, published academic and businesswoman. Drawing from her experiences Dr Ramphele has spent a lifetime championing the empowerment of underprivileged communities first through her medical work in clinics and hospitals, then from a place on the world stage on the boards of international companies and at the World Bank. One of seven children, Dr Ramphele’s parents were both schoolteachers who motivated her to be ambitious despite their limited resources and the political and social barriers of the time. Her humble beginnings make it easy to identify with the socio-economic and education challenges many TSiBA students face and the great perseverance and sacrifice required to complete their degree. Dr Ramphele, a long-term supporter of TSiBA says “from rural villages to big city suburbs, a quality education and the prospect of job opportunities it brings are often the number one concern of both parents and young people themselves. This is why organisations like TSiBA which provide access to education to marginalised communities is so vital.”

Mahlubandile Dyonase, TSiBA Bachelor in Business Administration Graduate and winner of a 2013/2014 Kofi Annan Scholarship to study in Switzerland says, “I am so excited to officially be a TSiBA graduate. This is not the end point, but a motivator to use this opportunity I have been given to jump further in life and to empower myself and others – I am definitely not stopping! Having grown up in one of the disadvantaged townships based in Cape Town known as Khayelitsha, I remain strongly committed to the development and upliftment of the South African economy. My vision is to create growth-supportive integration between the formal and informal financial systems within the South African economy. My advice to the youth of South Africa would be that there are many opportunities in the world and it’s not your background that matters, but the energy and hard work that you put in.”

Claire Phillips, SA Music Award Winner, vocalist, songwriter and musician extraordinaire, who is recognised and respected as one of South Africa’s most talented artists performed. It is inspirational that Claire hails from a suburb on the Cape Flats where many TSiBA students live. TSiBA’s focus is leadership and entrepreneurship, Claire is the perfect example of an entrepreneur who has successfully created a unique business around herself and her musical talents.

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