Master of Business Administration (MBA) cum laude graduate, Dr Ntsapokazi Deppa, attributes her achievements to her late grandmother who not only raised her but was an advocate for education.
Growing up in rural Idutywa in the Eastern Cape, Deppa said her grandmother’s constant encouragement for her to get a good education led her to focus her MBA research on: The Impact of Education on Economic Growth in South Africa.
She said the results showed that education, except at matric level, had a positive impact on economic growth across all the provinces. The correlation between the matric level and the growth in GDP was only observed in two provinces, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.
‘I had my first exposure to Economics at MBA level and I was fascinated to the extent I wanted to do a related project. Although lecturers advised us to undertake research projects in line with our main disciplines, I could not find anything in my workspace that I could do, so education and economics became the best fit,’ said Deppa.
‘Education is acknowledged as a crucial mechanism for economic growth in developing countries. The theoretical model of education on economic growth originates from the human capital theory which attests that investing in education yields positive externalities such as increased efficiency and poverty alleviation, productivity, improved technology, better salaries, and innovation and knowledge capacity.
‘This study investigated the impact of all levels of education (primary, secondary, matric and tertiary levels) and the positive externalities such as better salaries, the field of study, and enhanced innovation, research and development, on economic growth in all nine provinces of South Africa using yearly panel data from 2001 to 2014,’ said Deppa.
‘The results emphasise that the South African government must allocate more funding towards education, encourage more innovation, research and development, and focus more on improving the quality of the education system,’ said Deppa.
She said the highlight of her studies was meeting and engaging with people from different disciplines and sectors of industry. Deppa said the study group also became her pillar of strength as members kept her focussed and motivated.
Deppa said there were challenges during her studies. ‘The MBA work volume is very high and it challenges your planning and time management skills because you get bombarded with too many assignments and tests. If you do not plan well you lose your mind!’
Deppa is currently working as a Laboratory Manager at Umgeni Water. ‘I believe that had it not been for my MBA, I would not have got the Umgeni Water position. The qualification has opened doors for me and I am definitely applying the management and leadership skills I learned.’
Words: Sithembile Shabangu