The Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) celebrated a stellar showing by the business school's 2016 graduates on 30 March 2017, as degrees were conferred on two Doctor of Business Administration graduates, 67 Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration graduates, 96 Programme for Management Development graduates, 265 Post Graduate Diploma in General Management graduates, 315 MBAs and one newly-crowned PhD.
The graduation, which was held at the University of Pretoria (UP) during a ceremony which saw 13 000 degrees handed over, was made all the more significant in that it saw the university's largest cohort of black postgraduate women graduates; almost a third of the total number. Of the 1453 postgraduates more than half – 745 – completed their studies at GIBS.
Among this number was Dr Anastacia Mamabolo, who bore the added distinction of completing her entrepreneurship-focused Doctor of Philosophy PhD in a record time of three years. At the ceremony, Mamabolo's PhD abstract was read in Sepedi, her mother tongue; marking the first time that UP and GIBS have seen an abstract read in Sepedi.
This achievement is all the most significant for GIBS given the number of women-focused programmes with which the business school is associated, including the Leading Women initiative, which is run through the Centre for Leadership and Dialogue, and the NHBRC Women Empowerment Programme.
While the achievement by black women was highlighted and heralded at the event, in her address UP Vice-Chancellor Cheryl de la Rey affirmed all the achievements on display, saying: "Achieving an academic degree does not come easy. It requires persistence, dedication and hard work. Our graduates can be justifiably proud of reaching this milestone."
Following the graduation, GIBS Dean Nicola Kleyn took the opportunity to rally these future and current leaders to step up and play their part in society. "We all need to recognise the leadership role we have to play, instead of looking to the pre-existing leaders in society. We have high expectations for each and every one of our new graduates," she said.