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A memorable evening with Marketing Alumni
25 August 2017
It is halfway into the year, and the BCom Honours (Marketing Management) students are anxious to secure a job for next year. The Department of Marketing Management wants to assist its students on their career journeys, and as such, the idea of a guest panel of alumni was born.
On Tuesday, 8 August 2017, the honours class (and the winning practical project third-year student teams) had the opportunity to meet a panel of ten alumni from the Department of Marketing Management. The panel members obtained BCom Honours degrees from the Department between 2001 and 2016. The positive enthusiasm and excitement with which each alumnus responded and accepted the invitation to partake in this event was testament to the value they saw in hosting such an event for the students.

Marketing Management students waiting for the alumni to arrive.

This exclusive evening was hosted by lecturers Mrs Verbeek and Prof Van Heerden, and was held in the Old Club House (Pure Café) on Hatfield Campus. The evening kicked off with a panel discussion, during which alumni had the opportunity to share their career stories, experiences and highlights, as well as giving the students very valuable advice.
The alumni panel represented a variety of industries and roles, from fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) such as Tiger Brands, to service organisations such as Vodacom and Oglivy & Mather.
The evening kicked off with each alumnus having an opportunity to share his/her career story. Their stories included their real-life experiences in the working world, their perseverance through several job applications and strenuous interviews. They all highlighted the advantage they often felt they had over other candidates, as a result of being exposed to practical projects during their honours year. The alumni motivated the students to be proactive and apply their best efforts to every class-client challenge and project, as it could potentially land them their first job, as was the case with a few of the alumni who were present that evening.
During this session, Nivashnee Moodley (alumnus 2012), who is currently a brand manager at Mars Multisales Africa, encouraged the students to have a ‘brain trust’ in your life, which she referred to as a group of people whom one could turn to for any advice and guidance with challenges faced in the workplace. This was a tactic that the honours students found quite useful due to the number of group challenges they do during the year. 
After each alumnus had shared their story, students in pre-allocated groups were handed a riddle, which they had to solve to determine which panel member they would spend 30 minutes with. Delicious snacks were then served and each group had an opportunity to network and ask their assigned alumnus questions related to their careers and experiences. For the remainder of the evening, students were free to network individually with the alumni.
Some of the pearls of wisdom shared by the alumni throughout the evening included: “Approach your career as an adventure and back yourself in everything you do,” by Andrissa Ferreira (alumnus 2001); “Marketing is the whole business seen from the perspective of the customer,” shared by Matthew Jardine (alumnus 2015); “Be yourself,” expressed by Mandy Katz (alumnus 2016); “Hold the paintbrush to your canvas,” encouragement by Nivashnee Moodley (alumnus 2012); and “Never stop learning,” advice by Berno Mare (alumnus 2014).

Honours students interacting with alumni, namely Nivashnee Moodley, brand manager at Mars Multisales Africa (to the right in the left photo) and Fezeka Ntuli, digital analyst at Deloitte Consulting Africa (to the left in the photo on the right).

At the end of the event, all parties involved felt that it was a great success and very insightful for all students present. One of the third-year students, Jiveshen Moodley, mentioned how privileged he felt after attending the event, considering all the insightful stories shared by the alumni, as well as the fact that such events do not happen very often. Lisa Hendon’s (current honours student) take on the evening was that there is value in each and every person, and how we choose to show our value is what could be the difference between getting and not getting a job.
The feedback from the alumni was also extremely positive. They were grateful for the opportunity to share their knowledge with students. All of them commented on how great it was to walk on campus again and many of them were struck by the level of development on campus, such as the new buildings and parkade. Almost all of the alumni echoed the same sentiment, which was that they felt the evening was a fantastic opportunity presented to our current students, and they wish they had received a similar opportunity when they were still students.
This was the first event of its kind for the Department of Marketing Management, and is hopefully one that will take place annually in the years to come.
Below are the panel of alumni, together with three staff members from the Department of Marketing Management.
Front row from left to right: Fezeka Ntuli (alumnus 2013), Thandeka Shozi (alumnus 2013), Erica Cuna (alumnus 2014), Mandy Katz (alumnus 2016), Andrissa Ferreira (alumnus 2001), Yamangalisa Mbatha (alumnus 2009), Nivashnee Moodley (alumnus 2012)
Back row from left to right: Prof Yolanda Jordaan (Head: Department Marketing Management), Prof Gené van Heerden (lecturer), Mrs Jade Verbeek (lecturer), Taahir Suliman (alumnus 2012), Berno Mare (alumnus 2014), Matthew Jardine (alumnus 2015)
- Author Department of Marketing Management
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Last edited by Gontse MoseseEdit
Staff members from the Department of Marketing Management together with the panel of alumni