The School of Management, IT and Governance is celebrating the impressive achievements of three of their honours students who graduated summa cum laude, and a further 11 who graduated cum laude.
The distinguished graduates are Ms Thejal Hansrajh, Ms Madhuri Kasiram, and Ms Talia Marimuthu who graduated summa cum laude; and Ms Halima Ale, Ms Caitlin Appulsamy, Ms Theressa Athia, Ms Sonali Jagath, Mr Shaur Mahabeer, Ms Magdalene Muthusamy, Mr Jonathan Naicker, Mr Khayelihle Ngcobo, Ms Sumeera Partab, Ms Kiara Reddy and Ms Linden Singh who graduated cum laude.
Hansrajh says she was inspired to do her BCom ISTN Honours degree to improve her knowledge in the field of Information Systems and Technology as well as research to help her gain confidence to enter the world of work. She also wanted to challenge herself, knowing it would not be easy – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic – and it proved to be extremely rewarding.
‘Pursuing this qualification, I realised the true meaning of the saying “you reap what you sow”,’ said Hansraj. ‘I made a promise to dedicate myself and try my best with everything I did because I wanted to make both my family and myself proud. That decision not only allowed me to achieve great results, but also boosted my confidence and has made me realise anything is possible if you put in the effort,’ she said.
Kasiram pursued a BCom Honours in Information Systems and Technology degree as she has always been interested in learning more, and had found great pleasure studying IT at university level. ‘I knew nothing about coding or computer science when I began my undergrad degree. I just knew that I wanted to create the applications and programs I often saw on my laptop and smartphone,’ said Kasiram.
‘I am currently part of the graduate programme at FNB in the iDigi-tech unit. My future plans are to become a software developer/engineer and also open my own IT consulting business one day.’
Ale says she was motivated to do a B Com (Hon) degree in Industrial Relations because she wanted to learn more about the labour law and policy side of human resources.
‘Doing my honours was a bit different because of the new norm that was introduced to us by COVID-19. Adjusting to that, and having to do research and consult online/via email with supervisors was strenuous but, in the end, it was worth it because I completed my degree cum laude,’ she said.
Appulsamy did an Honours degree in HR Management to increase her chances of getting a job and it did – she is currently an intern in the Discipline at UKZN, grateful to get work during the time of a pandemic when so many were out of work.
Athia says the wealth of knowledge she has gained from her qualification will not only positively contribute to future organisational strategies, but has made her an effective and highly competent leader in the field.
‘My experience with UKZN has been exceptional – having been part of an institution that supports, empowers, and inspires students to aspire to achieve greatness will benefit me into all stages of my life,’ she said.
Athia is currently pursuing a master’s degree after being awarded a bursary to continue with her studies, and is hoping to become a lecturer.
Jagath, whose love for computers led her choose IT as a career, says when she was little, she would sit with her father and learn how to use a computer. The thrill of learning to do so many “cool” things on a computer intrigued her.
‘I aim to work myself up the corporate ladder in the information technology sector and learn as many skills and as much knowledge as I can so I can make a difference in whatever way I can,’ she said.
Naicker’s decision to pursue a degree in Industrial Relations was primarily due to the fact that Neuropsychology was not a study option in South Africa when he matriculated. However, after much research and deliberation, the thought of undertaking a qualification that enables an individual to assist in the provision of social justice, fairness and labour peace was something that appealed to him.
In his third-year, he co-authored a publication with lecturer and mentor, Dr Andile Biyela and also had the privilege of working alongside senior academics, Professor Shaun Ruggunan and Dr Ashika Maharaj in a global research project initiated by the Curtin University in Australia that investigated the involvement of HR professionals in changed working practices and the management of such change in the current COVID-19 pandemic.
‘My late mother always gave me the freedom – academic and otherwise – to find my own path, never once pressurising me to pursue a particular field. Therefore, all my current and future accolades are a dedication to her,’ said Naicker.
Ngcobo says he enjoyed technology from a young age, always wanting to understand how things like computers, cell phones, mobile applications, and the internet work. He did research and found information technology to be a suitable field where he could acquire such knowledge.
His honours journey was an amazing despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic which meant having to adapt to online learning which was hard as he did not have a conducive environment to study in at home, but his resilience kept him going.
‘Learning from home affected me heavily, so much so that even my marks dropped. Nevertheless, I never stopped pushing myself, I kept on praying for it and working hard at it, I am very proud to graduate cum laude with my Honours degree in IST even though the odds were stacked against me,’ said Ngcobo.
Partab says she was initially hesitant about pursuing a Bachelor of Public Administration and Human Resource Management degree as it seemed intimidating. However, as she began her undergraduate studies, she coped with the new terms, processes, practices, and theories that helped her to understand the importance and value of public administration and HR management in the world of work and for the development of the country.
‘I will put the theoretical knowledge I obtained during my studies to practical use to work my way up the ladder and reach decision-making positions where I shall advocate for changes to help develop and grow the community and country,’ she said.
Reddy says she always hoped to go into the business world. ‘As a creative person, I tend to draw inspiration from people and my surroundings. Marketing seemed like a natural choice as it allowed me to combine my passion for business with my understanding of people to better understand the consumer through the perspective of an organisation.’
‘My experience studying towards my Honours in Marketing has been incredibly fulfilling and rewarding. I found it challenging for the most part, but genuinely enjoyed learning what I did during this qualification,’ she said.
Reddy is currently working as a Junior Brand Manager in the FMCG sector and hopes to grow into the role of Brand Manager within the company.
Words: Lungile Ngubelanga