GSTM - Alumni

Since the founding of the GSTM at the University of Pretoria more than 30 years ago, over 3000 degrees have been awarded. While there has been informal contact between the alumni and with the GSTM over the years, a GSTM Alumni Society was successfully established during a founding meeting on the 21st of August 2019.

Purpose of the GSTM Alumni Society

Help Alumni use their GSTM qualifications effectively

Bridge the gap between Academia and Industry through networking opportunities

Inspire risk taking, innovation and entrepreneurs by drawing awareness to Alumni stories

Provide mentoring to those who want to implement their ideas

Create better recognition of MEM/MTM as niche qualifications

Qualification more visible to local and International industries

A few words from our Alumni

Doing MEM, specifically electives such as portfolio management, systems engineering and systems thinking coupled with my mini dissertation journey is benefiting me a great deal. I am currently overseeing portfolios of projects which require an informed prioritization based on myriad of factors. Thank you Prof Steyn for guidance and the rest of GSTM team. Mr Aubrey Nxumalo, (MEM graduate 2022)

The Honours Degree in Engineering Technology Management is a great option for young engineers intending on pursuing a career which focuses on management of engineering activities and development of new and innovative solutions to complex problems which require a differentiated systems engineering approach. The course includes a wide ranging set of subjects from more traditional skills such as project management, to specialised skills such as systems engineering and engineering techno-economics - which are not typically emphasised in a technical environment. Personally, engineering techno-economics was a highlight as it allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the time value of money, and how engineering business owners can use economics to determine the potential of their projects. We are at a crucial time in history and designing innovative and practical solutions to the problem of clean, renewable energy is something I am passionate about. I have used the skills gained through the ETM course in my everyday life and have made the decision, kick-started by my research assignment into renewable energy options for the mining industry, to specialise in developing solutions to such problems. I would highly recommend this course to anyone who has completed their engineering undergraduate degree and feels drawn towards starting their own business or pursuing a career in engineering management or management consulting. James Browne, (ETM graduate 2021).

The GSTM gave me (and fellow students) expert-level support and resources to ensurces I complete my MTIM, despite desrupting challenges brought by COVID-19. Thank you the GSTM team!.Rhulani Marhanele, (MTIM graduate (2021))

To borrow from a prolific business and leadership mind, John C. Maxwell: it's said that a wise person learns from his mistakes. A wiser one learns from others' mistakes. But the wisest person of all learns from others' successes. This is symbolic of my experience at the GSTM and, more specifically, the Masters in Technology and Innovation Management degree. The opportunity to debate the impact of technology and innovation from a theoretical perspective and critically discuss the practical implication of the taught methodologies is indispensable. Especially so as digitalisation is pushing the limits of most organisations and large amounts of uncertainty abound with decision making on technologies that will lead to real value-add to the organisation. The theoretical background, in conjunction with the guidance of a faculty with combined academic and industry experience and the opportunity for self-learning with like-minded individuals, has indeed given me the confidence to challenge current approaches to digitalisation and, in so doing, also be part of the solution as South African entities strive towards adopting fit for purpose technologies and approaches. Thank you for the opportunity to glimpse into the minds of many innovative thinkers. This experience has had an immense impact on me, and I look forward to applying the knowledge and experience gained for years to come. Franco Banard, (MTIM graduate 2021)

I would like to thank the Almighty for His blessings. I'd like to also thank Dr. Thopil for pushing me throughout the two years, my family for their patience during lockdown times and everyone who supported my research. "Blessed is the hand that gives" - so blessings to all who give to others. Thank you. Sibusiso Nozakuzaku. (MPM Graduate 2021)

To date, my engineering roles have all revolved around fine detail and design and as such I would often miss the bigger picture. The MEM program lit up my awareness to key business concepts and processes. During the program I often found myself having “Aha!” moments when realizing that a certain theory relates directly to way our company does things. The GSTM MEM program is well structured, providing a good balance between theoretical concepts, practical application and exploration of the latest in research offerings. As one would expect at this level, success demands discipline and hard work. In turn, the program reciprocates with an abundance of unique challenges and intellectual stimulation. The program is presented by world-class lecturers that provide key insights from lived experience which facilitates real understanding through analysis and practical application. Overall it was one of the most satisfying academic endeavors of my life and I would gladly recommend the program to anyone who seeks to set themselves up for a career in management, or just wants to grow as a person. Henk van der Heever, (MTIM graduate 2020)

To start of I need to say that this program has been one of the most enjoyable academic experiences of my life. The structure and content of the program is spot on. It has allowed me to go through a structured journey that built up a solid knowledge base with a broad understanding of technology and innovation management. It’s rare that one’s overall feeling of a program at the end of it, is that as a whole, it was incredibly interesting and stimulating. In no way is the journey easy, but growth does not come from an easy path and while it demands a pound and a half of flesh, it is well worth the effort in the end. I appreciated that the program is structured to accommodate part time studying, especially considering that the majority of participants are already quite advanced in their careers, and do not have much free time in a day. Having block weeks really helps in this regard and the administration around the program was really well executed, allowing time for preparatory study before semesters started. This approach really helps with time management during the active part of each semester. IT often happens with tertiary education that you sit in a class with a fair amount of scepticism, thinking this is all theory and the real world does not really work that way. In this program however, the lecturers were all extremely well versed in their fields with extensive real-world experience which grounds the theory presented in reality and it is presented in such a way that the value of the application thereof immediately becomes apparent. In class discussions are actively encouraged. Considering your surrounded by peers that come from various industries and all with solid work experience behind them, the nett effect is that the class becomes an extremely valuable learning multiplier and you gain valuable perspective on how the theory manifests in the real world. From a personal perspective, I’m looking at the world with a fresh perspective. This program has not only extended my knowledge but also fostered a growth in my personal development. I’m re-aligning my career and future development based on the avenues that has opened up for me because of this program. Furthermore, the knowledge gained is so relevant in my professional life, it has had a significant impact in both what I do in my organisation as well as how I accomplish it. It’s given me a new toolset to draw on. Andre Schwan, (MTIM graduate 2020)

The MTIM programme provided an insightful learning journey into technology management and innovation management. As a Product Manager by profession, the courses and topics were highly relevant to my field of work and provided learnings that I can directly apply in the Media & Broadcast industry. In my current role, the technology management principles from the courses provide a more structured way of thinking about new technologies and the associated best practices A course that stood out, that I greatly benefited from was on project economics and financial analysis. These concepts are often difficult to learn and understand from a product management perspective but the course provided tools and techniques that I can directly apply to the field and future business cases. From a research perspective, the mini-dissertation was an exciting journey and allowed for more opportunities to interact with my colleagues and expand my network within my organization. I am thankful and grateful for the opportunity to have completed the MTIM degree and hope to pursue further studies in this exciting field. Nishen Naicker, (MTIM graduate 2020)

Given that I work in the innovation management space, the MTIM programme has provided me with some useful tools which I use often in my line of work. It has also exposed me to aspects of technology and innovation management which I may not have come across otherwise. During the programme, I was exposed to various stages in the pipeline of innovation commercialization and management; from entrepreneurship, to creating and scaling new products, through to navigating our local innovation policy environment. At the same time, the research topic introduced me to new ways of viewing and articulating various aspects of our innovation system. The programme does well to take the technical background one has and expand it, ensuring growth in our respective fields. Evah Phago , MTIM graduate (2020)

As 60 year old mining engineer who just started a small consulting mining business, I enrolled for the masters programme with two objectives: to become more marketable as consultant in my sole propriety business, and to provide a safety net for defaulting to lecturing or project management in case the consulting business fails. Both objectives were achieved, and much more. I did not expect to learn much about project management since I have managed numerous projects during my career, but it was quite the opposite – I learned why certain things are done, or should be done in project management, I learned about different types of projects and contracts and control processes. Some of the lecturers were excellent, not only in the way that they taught the concepts, but also their wide and in-depth knowledge of the subject. This master’s degree in project management will not necessarily provide you with the nitty-gritty of how to manage specific projects, but it does give you the comprehension to manage project managers. Lofty Fourie, (MPM graduate 2020)

Before undertaking the coursework required for the MPM, I was often anxious about my career. The various modules gave me a strong base from which to build my career as I moved from a technical role to a leader in my organisation. The exposure I got served to inspire me and unlocked a plethora of new interests for me. I obtained practical knowledge and skills, which I was able to implement in my work immediately. The course covers a wide area, everything from fostering better team dynamics to using system engineering techniques to decompose complex projects. Aside from the coursework, I interacted with several like-minded individuals in both the faculty and my classmates. My interaction with them was invaluable to my progress and enabled me to learn more effectively. While the disruption of Covid-19 was unfortunate, the faculty still found ways to foster interaction between students. My time spent at UP was rewarding. I am proud to add this qualification to my name. (Ronald Smith, MPM graduate 2020)

As a civil engineer, project management became part of my day to day activities, however, I sometimes felt overwhelmed, this alerted me to the need to upskill myself in project management. A colleague suggested the MPM programme at the University of Pretoria, after careful consideration and research I decided to apply for this programme. While applying to the programme I found the thought of studying again after so many years and this time with a full time job a little unsettling, however this has been one of the most enjoyable formal learning experiences for me. This programme is structured in such a way that you are able to schedule your time well in advance and the material is well thought out to allow you to understand and apply what is being taught. It has given me the opportunity to grow and form relationships with some of the most amazing people, both students and lecturers. The knowledge base of the lecturers are so vast as well as relevant as they all have experience in the industry which easily allowed me to be able to relate what I was being taught to my job. This programme has definitely empowered me with extensive knowledge to better plan, manage and deliver my projects. Keshani Naidoo nѐe Subramani , (MPM graduate 2020)

- Author Christopher Njaravani

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