It was during 2011 that Rushana Hartnick started working towards her dream of having the first indoor, heated swimming pool in Mitchells Plain and in 2012 she was able to open the doors of Little Mermaids Swimming School. Struggling to grow her business, she realised that she needed business skills and in 2014 she applied to participate in the Small Business Academy’s Development Programme at USB. During 2017, Rushana also started working on another dream by applying for the Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management and Administration (PGDip BMA) at USB, which she completed in 2018. This year (2019) she is enrolled as a full-time MBA student and she will be documenting her journey as our full-time MBA blogger.
Week One. As I walked into the orientation hall at the USB Campus, I kept on saying “be brave” to myself. I had promised myself that I wouldn’t start the MBA year off with the same self-doubt I had as a PGDip BMA student. I mean, why should I? I have earned my stripes. I deserve to be here. I just wished my sweaty palms and twitching leg got the message!
Slowly, my new classmates arrived with awkward grins, masking their anxieties (or so I later learned). We had some introductions and welcomed the exchange students in true South African style. It was only when Martin Butler (the MBA head) addressed our cohort that I finally felt that I was home. This is where I am supposed to be. This is how I am supposed to feel and I am going to embrace it.
We were addressed by faculty, alumni, career services, and IT and I kept wondering if this was as overwhelming for my peers as it was for me! The mood lightened a bit after lunch with some activities to encourage bonding amongst peers and through some group discussions on ourselves and how and why we were there. From the 19 full-time South Africans, nine exchange students, and one international full-time student there were stories and insights shared that all resonated from the same “place”.
Of course, we had to discuss the “why” at some point. “Why an MBA?” Can I firstly say that your decision to do an MBA is nothing but that - YOUR decision. Whether it is to pursue a career in multiple business sectors, a higher salary potential or to be your own boss – “your why” matters.
My “why” is to grow my ideal network, to acquire credibility, and enhance my knowledge and personal development. As an MBA graduate, I want to return to my family, my business, and my community and make a remarkable difference. I want to be the best that I can be while taking on the world.
The first afternoon at about 18:00 we were on a bus heading to Giggling Gourmet in Green Point. This well-thought icebreaker had students paired into teams cooking various South African dishes. The menu had Cape Malay style daltjies, chicken curry, bobotie, koeksisters and of course pap and wors, braai broodjies and a family favourite, malva pudding. I was teamed up with Laura from Germany and we were able to chat about our families, our past and our countries. Thank goodness I did that Economics Assignment on Germany last year, otherwise I’m not too sure what my contribution to this conversation might have been!
Needless to say, I was thrilled that I joined the group on the social outing and look forward to more of these engagements. As one of the full-time MBA students of the 2018 class said in a letter addressed to the current class: ‘’This course is designed in a way that learning experiences are fast paced, ball-breakingly hardcore.”From SBA to MBA and beyond - Read more about Rushana’s journey from SBA participant to MBA student here.