Education is the way out of poverty
We all know that South Africa’s school education system is in a shambles. Does this matter, however, if an overwhelming 81% believe that school does a bad job of preparing learners for the real world and the workplace? Actually, education is still the way out of poverty and here is living proof.
THE ANTI-POVERTY POWER OF EDUCATION
The Association of MBAs (AMBA) recently chose Olebogeng Glad Dibetso, the top MBA student at Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gibs) for 2012, as its global winner for the AMBA/Independent MBA Student of the Year Award 2013. This is a remarkable accomplishment, given t hat t hat t here a r e roughly 40 000 graduating MBA students at 204 AMBA-accredited business schools in more than 70 countries worldwide. Each year, every accredited business school in the world nominates one outstanding MBA graduate for the MBA Student of the Year Award. Entry criteria include academic achievement, career advancement potential, exceptional leadership and ambassador qualities. Dibetso outshone all the other entrants to take first place in this prestigious international competition.
Dibetso’s inspirational story began in Rustenburg, where he grew up. His mother’s advice to him was to strive for a good education, because education was the best escape route out of poverty. “My mother’s words were that no-one can take your education away from you,” says Dibetso. Ambitious and motivated to succeed, he embraced his mother’s advice wholeheartedly. “You can invest in a lot of things but if you put your money into your mind, you’ll never lose it. You’ll always be gaining from it,” he says.
Hardships on his journey, including the failure of a company and bankruptcy, only bolstered Dibetso’s drive and hunger to succeed. In his words: “I decided to do an MBA because I realised my business failed not only because of economic downturn, but also due to poor business principles I had applied.”
Soon after he f inished his MBA in 2012, Dimension Data promoted Dibetso to General Manager of West Africa in May 2013, at which time he relocated to Lagos. Just a few months later in October, he was promoted to the position of Managing Director: West Africa.
“Education is the difference between poverty and success. I am a true example that, even though the odds are against you due to your country of birth, the era of your youth or the poor economic circumstances, you can succeed if you persevere. So never stop striving to be the very best that you can be,” Dibetso says.
What are the implications for SA, and for Africa, of having a South African winner of the international AMBA competition? According to Dibetso, “This award is bigger than me. It is an award for the African nation. We can begin to value the quality of our business schools. It is no surprise that in the top six finalists we had two South African business schools. Let us continue to uphold the high standards of education in our tertiary institutions and, more importantly, to spread it to other schools that need assistance or mentorship. This award is saying our schools are worldclass; therefore we can begin to attract students from outside of our continent. Africa is ready for the well-educated business people who will build the new African multinationals.
“The African people must believe that we can transcend our circumstances and be the best in the world. When students enrol at university they need to realise how global we have become and they need to perform with the global mindset. We need to take the same attitude into the work place.”
Dibetso is the first African ever to win the AMBA Award. What is it about him