Ms Natasha Ashley, a BCom Business Management student, has been awarded a Mandela Rhodes Scholarship for 2016 to complete her master’s degree in business management. She completed her honours degree with distinction this year.
The scholarship is administered by the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, which, through its various programmes, aims to build exceptional leadership capacity in Africa and to foster reconciliation and entrepreneurship. The foundation holds several leadership and development workshops throughout the year in various locations around South Africa.
Ms Ashley applied to receive the scholarship in order to grow as a leader and change-agent, and to be better equipped to serve her country. Furthermore, she hopes that the lessons and skills she will be exposed to through the programme will be useful in affecting positive change in her community. Ms Ashley aims to become a leader who can find practical ways to make major contributions to society and industry, in order to move South Africa forward.
Having served on various student societies and committees, Ms Ashley feels that receiving the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship is a large but natural leap forward in her progress. She realises that the scholarship is a golden opportunity to develop herself and to learn about life and leadership from her fellow Mandela Rhodes scholars. She wants to continually grow as a leader in order to better serve the citizens of her country and globally as well.
Ms Ashley is passionate about international business and about how companies operate in Africa. Her honours research article focussed on the process that South African firms follow when expanding into foreign markets. She discovered a passion for research during her honours studies and has decided to continue to pursue research. She has been very involved in student life at the University, serving as house committee member at Nerina Residence and as Public Relations Director of the University of Pretoria chapter of the Golden Key International Honour Society. In July 2015, she was awarded a travel grant to attend the International Golden Key Leadership Summit in Australia and learnt a lot from the exposure to a diverse group of global student leaders. Ms Ashley has been on the Dean’s List of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences for two years and was awarded the Principal’s Award by TuksRes as well as three UP Achiever awards. She wholeheartedly commits herself to her endeavours, ensuring that her work and commitment are of the highest standards. Furthermore, she aims to make a positive contribution to the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship programme.
‘Being awarded this scholarship has been a humbling and wonderful experience. I am blessed to be given an opportunity to further my education and grow as a leader through exposure to my exceptional fellow Mandela Rhodes scholars from across the African continent. Winning this scholarship is the tangible reward of many years of hard work and perseverance and I hope that I can inspire others to continue to pursue their dreams relentlessly. This is one of the highlights of my life, thus far. I am really looking forward to the challenge and learning experience of being a Mandela Rhodes scholar. I am excited to explore and develop my role in moving our beautiful country forward,’ says Ms Ashley.