SA musician Nicholas Joubert balances musical pursuits with academic success at University of Pretoria

Posted on May 08, 2024

Nicholas Joubert (28) has completed three degrees over five years at the University of Pretoria (UP). And if that’s not impressive enough, he’s managed his three business degrees while also building a career as a musician and releasing a debut single that’s charted on radio stations across South Africa and even hit radio station playlists in the UK and Australia.

Joubert, who grew up in Pretoria and Bloemfontein, recently completed the requirements for his master’s degree in strategic management, and graduated at UP’s Autumn Graduation ceremonies in April. He also completed his BCom (Business Management) and BCom Honours (Communication Management) degrees at UP in 2020 and 2022 respectively.

His passion for making music, which he’s had since he was in primary school, was just as important to him as his commerce studies, though. This year he seized the opportunity to further his knowledge of the music industry through a Music Business Management certificate, courtesy of a prestigious Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) scholarship. He’s following this with a Digital Music Production certificate, further expanding his skill set and expertise in the ever evolving industry.

“I released my debut single, ‘Someone New’, in October 2021, in the gap year between my BCom and BCom Honours studies,” Joubert says. “I think the ‘heartbreak-type’ lyrics rapidly attracted attention, and it charted in East Coast Radio's top 40 and in 5fm's top five, and was also added to radio station playlists in the United Kingdom and Australia.”

Despite his growing musical popularity, he was determined to keep building on his academic qualifications, and started his postgraduate honours degree in communication management at UP in 2022. He barrelled straight into his next degree in 2023, after being accepted into UP’s rigorous MPhil programme in strategic management.

"I had to take a break from releasing music back in 2022 while I was busy with my honours degree,” he explains. “I applied to the MPhil Strategic Management programme, thinking I wasn't going to get in and then, much to my surprise, I did. So I had to stop releasing music for another year, especially with a tough programme like a UP MPhil. There were times during the programme when I cried because it got very intense, but I pushed through it, and in the end it was one of the best learning experiences I've had. I am sad it’s over now.”

He says he wrote a lot of music while doing his honours and master’s degrees, giving him enough material for his next project. “I’m currently recording and planning to release new music in the next few months." Until then, he is having fun making music and is keen to apply what he learned during his time at UP.

Of course, the next academic step would be a doctoral degree. Is this something that’s on the horizon for him? “Not right now,” he says with a laugh. “I think I need to have some different type of fun for now – I’ve been sitting down studying for a long time! But who knows, perhaps in a few years…!”

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