Learning to be

Achieving sustained excellence in business.
Published in : Entrepreneurmag.co.za, August 2011
The Faculty of Management at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) defines its footprint in terms of the development of sought-after organisational leaders creating legacies. “We partner with entrepreneurs and corporates alike in continuously updating and improving our teaching and learning content and processes,” explains Professor Daneel van Lill, executive dean: Faculty of Management, UJ. “In preparing our 10 300 students to be future-fit, academic leaders cover the fields of entrepreneurship, marketing and people management, knowledge management, information technology, as well as transport and supply chain management. All of our full-time qualifications include business management modules focused on achieving sustained excellence in businesses. These qualifications vary from three-year undergraduate degrees to honours, masters and doctoral programmes with an applied research focus. In addition, our faculty addresses the demand for supervisory to executive development through our range of 67 accredited short learning programmes.”
The local business landscape
According to Prof Van Lill, UJ’s Faculty of Management focuses on growing great graduates equipped with a set of leadership and managerial skills required to cope and excel in a changing, highly competitive global business environment. “Our learning philosophy — ‘Learning to be’ — is interpreted as the ability to grow socially responsible business through innovation, well planned and executed service levels and an acute awareness of sustainability,” he says. “Bottom-line, we are positioning the faculty as an organisation where futurefit organisational leaders are forged through partnerships.”
Since the faculty maintains a high standard,Prof Van Lill recommends its programmes to individuals who understand that nothing worthwhile comes without dedicated effort and serious commitment. “Our undergraduate programmes are designed to facilitate baseline career skills. Our postgraduate programmes focus on developing the advanced skills required to identify, analyse and solve business problems at the macro level. Our short learning programmes provide for shorter termed solutions and are normally presented in collaboration within organisations based on their internal development needs.”
Up-skilling is vital
The shelf life of knowledge has declined substantially over the last 15 years. “The way our faculty teaches and facilitates learning has evolved to ensure that the right person assimilates the right information at the right time.This means that our students are taught to ask the right questions at the right time; how to access the information required to answer those questions; and finally, how to extract lasting value from learning experiences. All of these elements support our faculty’s idea of being future-fit,” says Prof Van Lill.
There is a competency set of five skills taught at UJ’s Faculty of Management. The first is being skilled in the ability to identify an important goal and to apply basic leadership and managerial skills, a healthy dose of perseverance and lots of energy to achieve high levels of performance.
The second is being skilled in mastering your own emotions and to cope with stress in a way that instils confidence and enhances group performance.
Thirdly, you need to know how to inspire others by setting an example through your own standards and by helping others reach higher levels of performance though trust, delegation, participation and coaching. Fourthly, you need to be skilled in demonstrating creativity in developing products and services that lead to bottom-line success. This ability includes seeing all of the forces, events, entities and people involved in the situation at hand.
Finally,learning to be a systems thinker helps to increase overall learning and performance by designing, implementing and connecting processes and sorting through ambiguity in putting ideas into action.
Choosing higher learning
“Studying at UJ’s Faculty of Management means that you have partnered with us to attain future-fit leadership. In essence, our graduates have been empowered and enabled to make a living and to understand that the meaning of life is also found in solving complex problems and being of value to others,”says Prof Van Lill. “The benefits of partnering with us are that we provide students with a reputable learning environment. In return we expect our students to study with determination so that their loved ones, government and industry at large would consider them as great graduates. We also expect our students to participate in the opportunities the faculty provides to be immediately employed after graduation and to help to create jobs for future generations,” he concludes.
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