College of Law and Management Studies

Seven months ago Ms Marlene Govender quit her job as the General Manager responsible for marketing, sales and events at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) to complete her Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme at UKZN’s Graduate School of Business and Leadership. 

Little did she know then that she would graduate this year wearing a Mrs Commonwealth SA finalist sash!

It was the current Mrs Commonwealth SA, Dr Anneline Chetty, who encouraged Govender to enter the Mrs Commonwealth SA pageant and she was hooked! ‘I had never considered being in a pageant but the Mrs Commonwealth SA pageant resonated with me as it is more than just a beauty pageant – it’s a women empowerment programme and an empowerment movement,’ said Govender. 

Her MBA thesis was titled: An Evaluation of the Impact of the Durban International Convention Centre on the Economy, which she completed under the supervision of Dr Mihalis Chasomeris.

The study was motivated by Govender’s belief in convention centres being strategic conduits to deliver economic development, job creation, small business development and knowledge transfer opportunities.

Govender combined her experience in the business tourism industry, the newly acquired knowledge gained in the MBA programme and her passion for making a difference in the socioeconomic well-being of local communities to start her own business known as The Market Masters International.

‘I am now doing what I love! I leverage opportunities in my current role as an entrepreneur as my focus is on the creation of entrepreneurship, innovation, and socioeconomic wealth. I am constantly looking at collaboration and inspiring other women to become entrepreneurs and not to give up.’

She also hosts a television show: The Market Masters – Keeping it Real, on a new online TV channel, SKYE TV by PSK Computer Solutions. She plans to use this platform to address real challenges facing the youth, entrepreneurs, small and medium businesses, and business challenges in general.

Before the Mrs Commonwealth SA final in October, Govender will support various initiatives including the Breast Cancer Awareness NPO, Pink Drive and prepare for the international pageant in London in 2019.

Acquiring her MBA has inspired her children to consider further studies while she hopes to do a doctorate in marketing neuroscience or consumer psychology.

* To support Govender on the Mrs Commonwealth SA pageant journey, SMS Marlene to 35554.

Words: Hazel Langa