It was an honour to sit with the former Dean of my business school, the Gordon Institute of Business Science (“GIBS“, the Business School of the University of Pretoria, South Africa) and listen to his journey. Key take-aways included:
- Starting your journey as a Founder: He felt ready and qualified to found GIBS as he had the requisite experience not only as a corporate manager, but as an academic, political activist and the former Dean of another business schoo. These experiences gave him unique insight as to where the gaps were as well as the experience to found and lead GIBS. The lesson here is that it is important to gain experience in the area you want to found your organisation in.
- Key Challenge faced in building GIBS: Choosing what to do and (maybe more importantly) what not to do. The lesson here is the importance of focusing on your key goals.
- Main regret: Feeling that he should have made more effort to make GIBS international by perhaps opening other campuses and forging closer ties with the rest of Africa. The lesson here is that despite the numerous successes you may have there will always be areas where you feel you could have done more. Perhaps the task will fall to the next generation.
- Key Quote: “One should seize the opportunity of a lifetime within the lifetime of the opportunity’