In July last year the University of Johannesburg (UJ) opened the doors to a cutting edge initiative that is on trend with global educational trends; the formation of the College of Business and Economics (CBE).
The initiative sees the former Faculty of Economic and Financial Sciences and the Faculty of Management joining forces to provide students with a qualification that is multi-faceted, entrepreneurial and business orientated and will meet the needs of the future.
Prof Mercy Mpinganjira, Director, School of Consumer Intelligence and Information Systems, says the changing world of work demands a different approach. “We need to incorporate new technologies and the digitalisation of marketing into the programme. Bringing together the different departments under one roof is part of this move. We also believe that this will give us the synergies we need to provide a good and relevant qualification for our students.”
The move builds on ground breaking initiatives that have been part of the faculties for some time. One of these is the globally recognised partnership the university has with the Direct Selling Association (DSA) in South Africa.
The DSA-UJ partnership has received global recognition from the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) and is seen as a trend setter for what is happening globally. So much so that the programme is being embraced by other DSA’s internationally.
Initiated 15 years ago the programme provides students with practical experience. “The programme is informed by the needs of the industry, and teaches students practical sales and sales management skills. The programme also assists the students to gain entrepreneurial skills and earn an income through the sales of products,” says Prof Mpinganjira.
She says that going forward we would want to expand the programme with more DSA member companies coming on board. “The programme is a very important part of our course, but apart from the skills that they learn, the programme inspired them to achieve. It shows them that they can do it themselves; that they have the ability to take ownership for their life. The entrepreneurial spirit that it fosters is invaluable.”
Table Charm has been part of the programme since shortly after its inception and has seen it grow and develop to become the world-class programme it is today. “The programme is recognised worldwide and that is because it changes lives” according to former Sales Director, Belinda-lee Bellagarda.
The Millennials have so much to offer, she adds. “They are smart, and use technology to their advantage. An added benefit is that the programme creates an opportunity for these students to earn an income; one they can continue with once they graduate and start working.”