The University of Pretoria’s industrial engineering graduates thrive in industry

Posted on June 18, 2024

Kutlwano Mabeba is a business analyst at Lombard Insurance who graduated with a degree in industrial engineering from the University of Pretoria (UP) in 2019. She is currently enrolled for a master’s degree in innovation management with the University’s Graduate School of Technology Management (GSTM).

What attracted her to this field of study was its potential to unlock opportunities in a diverse range of industries. “You can branch into literally everything and find work in any discipline that has a problem that needs to be solved.” The principles she learnt during her studies and exposure to industry problems can be applied to any company in any conceivable field.

Studying with a bursary from the global transportation company DSV, she was fortunate to be able to start working for the organisation immediately after graduation, having completed vacation work at the company as well. She spent three years with the company, gaining experience as a logistics engineer.

The work she is currently doing as a business analyst at Lombard Insurance is the total opposite of what she did at DSV. Here, she forms part of a team that solves business problems. She describes her work as an industrial engineer as continually improving and optimising processes to solve problems, as there is always a better, more efficient way of doing things. She is excited that her qualification has enabled her to identify opportunities for continuous improvement.

Considering the value of studying at an internationally recognised institution such as UP, she explains that some companies, especially the company at which she started her career as an industrial engineer, feel very strongly about employing graduates from UP’s Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology as they have a strong work ethic. “This gives graduates from UP a differentiating position in the workplace and enhances their credibility in industry.”

She would definitely recommend industrial engineering as a career path for prospective students. “It gives one the opportunity to tap into fields as diverse as data management, logistics and banking, and there will always be a need to improve systems and processes to ensure business sustainability.”

Reflecting on her postgraduate studies in innovation management, she admits that she is being challenged in ways she has never been challenged before. She is learning valuable concepts, and the programme is shaping the way she thinks. She loves the way she is learning to question things, and believes that it will improve her value to her current and future employers.

- Author Janine Smith

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