Personal and professional development are areas that professionals need to take ownership of and prioritise for themselves. This is becoming increasingly important for working individuals, whether an owner of a business or employee. Marketing in Practice (BEM 783) is one of the modules in the Marketing Management honours programme where students engage in practical marketing-related tasks and assignments with the aim of intentionally developing and managing both their personal and professional skills. The module provides opportunities for students to learn to form habits in planning, setting goals, measuring, and reflecting on their development.
On Tuesday, 21 February 2023, the BCom (Honours Marketing Management) students were privileged to kick off their first class in their Marketing in Practice module with an expert guest lecturer, Dr Gené van Heerden. Dr Van Heerden does not only hold a PhD from Lulea University of Technology in Sweden, but is also a UP alumnus who obtained her MCom (Communication Management) (cum laude), BCom (Honours Marketing Management) and BCom (Communication Management) (cum laude) from the University of Pretoria. As a former Associate Professor in the Department of Marketing Management, Dr Van Heerden has played a vital role in contributing to the success of the Department over the years.
Dr Van Heerden is passionate about the growth and development of individuals and firmly believes in adding value to an academic offering. In this regard, she has been part of the development of the Marketing Management honours programme, particularly in relation to personal and professional development, which is significant in preparing students for the future world of work. Although Dr Van Heerden now operates as an independent contractor, she continues to give back to the University and the Department by sharing her knowledge and professional expertise with the students.
During her lecture, Dr Van Heerden shared insights into career development, such as being aware of changing environments and mega trends, becoming involved, as well as researching various skills and competencies. In terms of personal development, she challenged the students to think about what success means to them personally and create specific and measurable goals in this regard. She highlighted the significance of continuously allowing time for self-awareness and planning for learning and development.
Below are some of the comments from the students when asked about their key takeaways from the lecture:
"Growth and development are a continual part of life to make yourself a better person and worker. To ensure that growth and development takes place, measurable goals have to be set in place, thus there is an intentional and reasonable effort to develop goals."
"That development, both professional as well as personal, is an ongoing process and that it needs to be embraced."
“Personal development is just as important as professional development. It is important to grow your knowledge and skill sets so that you can add value to a company. It is important to sometimes put yourself in challenging situations that help you get out of your comfort zone and try new things. Having a positive and optimistic attitude can help you try new things and by trying new things you can find out what exactly it is that you enjoy and what you don’t. It is important to set goals and small achievements to look forward to along the way. This helps you stay motivated and encourages you to complete these goals."
It was an honour to have Dr Van Heerden as a guest lecturer. Her time, expertise and personal investment into enriching the lives of our students is most valued and appreciated.
Marketing Management Honours Class of 2023 with Dr Gené van Heerden (front row, seated third from the left)