Do your homework before you apply for a job

Do your homework before you apply for a job:

An interview with Ryan Mansour, Senior Associate with Benchmark International

Ryan Mansour is a Senior Associate for a Merger’s & Acquisitions firm, called Benchmark International. “My role is primarily to lead a team of professionals in preparing for a project to be presented to the market. I need to ensure that all responsible teams meet their timelines, and the quality is up to standard. My role includes client relationships and managing expectations”.

Benchmark International is one of the world’s leading merger and acquisitions specialists specializing in the sale of mid-market companies. With offices throughout the world, we are in touch with all the major acquirers and consolidators who are constantly seeking both on and off market opportunities across all sectors. Our unique and dynamic international offering presents our clients with unparalleled global coverage, allowing them access through our exclusive databases and business intelligence facilities to both international markets and local representation. Our clients include entrepreneurs and owner managed businesses.

Benchmark have used the Boston City Campus Graduate Support Services department with great success, and it is for this reason they have continued the mutually beneficial relationship! The types of positions they have filled include 2 Outreach Analyst positions, Reception Position, and Point of Contact Assistant.  Ryan continues, praising the department, “We have been absolutely blown away by this experience. Jeannette has been so exceptional in assisting us to find the right candidates for the role. She ensures they meet the requirements of the role and that they have a good personality. She is VERY responsive on email and her turn-around time is better than that of a recruitment company.”

Ryan speaks highly of the Graduate Services Department, both in terms of the service they offer to corporates who have vacancies to fill, but also in terms of the guiding and mentoring the department offers to Boston Graduates. “This programme is so incredible that it allows students to potentially find employment opportunities. Students are offered such a unique service at no extra cost to them. I would without a doubt recommend corporates to fill their workplace placement opportunities.”

Jeannette Campbell, Head of the department says, “The Graduate Support Services Office is mandated to provide a range of free services to all Boston Graduates in the first year after graduating. We are confident these services will enhance our students’ journey into the world of work by providing them with the tools they need to assist them in securing employment. These services are offered to our graduates who have completed any programme at Boston.”

Jeanette obtains very specific details from corporates that she deals with, including what qualities they will be looking for in their new recruits. Ryan says that for Benchmark, they will look for “Three important qualities in a new recruit? Ambition, professionalism and eagerness to learn”. And the type of person they would like to hire? Personality type required for success at Benchmark international? Someone with “Patience, resilience and tenacity in working in high-pressure situations with the ability to handle a rigorous schedule of deadlines.

A common lament from new Graduates is that corporates require experience before they will hire someone. What does Ryan think about experience vs training? “Training is key when deciding on placing a candidate. Experience comes with time, but I employ for attitude and teach the skill”.

Expect The Best In Order To Achieve The Most

Expect The Best In Order To Achieve The Most

How much of your expectations – either to succeed or to fail – impacts on the final outcome?

Expectations influence -> behaviour impacts -> performance creates -> outcome achieved!

Expectations that we have of ourselves influence our behaviour, which impacts our performance, and this in turn influences the outcome – becoming self-fulfilling prophecies.

“Expectations influence our future performance.  High self-expectancy means we are more likely to put in a greater effort and implement the necessary relevant behaviour to achieve the desired outcome,” says Natalie Rabson, career and education specialist at Boston City Campus.

A growing body of research shows that expectations can influence everything from our perception of taste and enjoyment of experiences to our performance on specific tasks. And the expectations of the people around us affect us too.

Expectations predict outcome

A study to look at whether expectations can positively influence performance was carried out in the late 1960s by Harvard social psychologist Robert Rosenthal, together with elementary school principal Lenore Jacobson.  The study aimed to answer the question: does teacher expectation influence behaviour in terms of performance, motivation and outcomes of their students?

Teachers at the school were told that their learners had been given a special test, identifying specific learners who would have an intellectual growth spurt in the upcoming year.  However, the researchers randomly selected these ‘academically promising’ students.

At the end of the year, those students who had been randomly labelled as intellectually promising actually showed a marked improvement in both the humanities and sciences. Even their IQ’s increased significantly.

At Boston City Campus we have high expectations of all of our students. To aid them in achieving results we stagger assessments throughout the semester (these aid in self-assessment which allows to rectify academic behaviour and to consult with educators), and use MaaS, (Mentoring as a Service) which mixes digital and live mentoring. Both the
mentoring as well as the assessments build proficiency, – developing positive expectation in the student which then impacts on the student’s performance and achievement.

Alfred Orlander, a manager at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, assigned six of each of his best agents, average agents, and lowest producing agents to work with his best, average and lowest producing assistant managers, respectively, giving each team goals that corresponded with their level.

Expectations influence -> behaviour impacts -> performance creates -> outcome achieved!

The top group, known as the ‘Super-Staff’ did in fact live up to their name (and their managers’ expectations) with dramatic improvements.Those members in the lowest unit, who were not considered to have any chance of reaching the target of half million dollars, actually declined, and attrition among them increased.

The so-called ‘average’ unit however, proved an anomaly – exceeding expectations of the district manager.  This was because the assistant manager in charge of the group refused to believe that she or her agents were less competent than their colleagues in the ‘Super-Staff’.  In fact, in her discussions with her group she insisted that they had greater potential than those in the “Super-Staff”, lacking only in their years of experience in selling insurance. The results: her team also outperformed, by increasing their productivity by a higher percentage than the super staff team.

“The assistant manager communicated strong feelings of personal efficacy which in turn created mutual expectancy of high performance with her agents, stimulating productivity in the process,” says Rabson.

Boston’s graduate support services department sets rigourous expectations of graduates, andstudents seeking work integrated learning experience. “We will coach and mentor graduates and students in every aspect from their CV to their interview skills, and how to follow up with a thank-you whether the interview resulted in placement or not. By setting stringent expectations of professional behaviour we have raised the bar for our students, and we get excellent  feedback fromclients who turn to us repeatedly for their workplace opportunities”.

Students (as with all people) flourish when adults believe in them.

“Our expectations play a key role in creating the desired outcome:  Beliefs are self-fulfilling prophecies,” says Natalie.

Make Room for Women on International Women’s Day

Make Room for Women on International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day was established because there is disparity in our communities and workplaces with regard to the treatment of women. A day in which we can highlight this and promote awareness also creates opportunities to close the gaps, and work toward complete equality in workplaces and homes.

There is certainly corporate clarity that the best way to achieve workplace equality is through education. Education empowers not only through skills, but also empowers women by giving motivation and confidence.

Education levels the playing field for women. Sitting around a boardroom table, it is often easy for men to feel they have the upper-hand in discussions. Women graduates can take part in these conversations with confidence, their knowledge strong and their opinions relevant.

We have way too often had ladies on the other side of the desk, having left abusive relationships, and now trying to secure work to support themselves.  Women who have been in long-term relationships have also often been homemakers, caregivers and babysitters. Suddenly they need to play in the same arena as other women and men in a corporate environment; this (sadly but truly) means they need to have more to offer. The starting point is going to be up-to-date and relevant education.

Women with an education will not be beholden to their romantic partners. They can earn money, support themselves, achieve promotions and consider themselves mobile in terms of job prospects.  But what if you have left an abusive relationship and need to still earn your degree? But also need to work? It is essential to find an institution with a flexible approach to Higher Education studies enabling women to continue to work, run a home and get a degree.

Having dealt with students from vastly different backgrounds, Boston endeavoured to make the student experience as smooth and effective as possible.  The Boston ecosystem caters to all students, but it enables ease of study for female students even more.

  • Women do not need to travel to ‘class’, all lectures are online, creating a safer study journey. And if they are looking after children they do not need to hire babysitters or worse, leave their kids on their own in order to attend class.
  • Working women can study any time and any place. (Tessa, one of our degree students who was working full time and looking after twins, finished her BCom in three years, the minimum time possible!)
  • The ‘bespoke’ methodology of Boston caters to those who wish to take 5 modules in one semester and 1 in the next semester, allowing for life events to fit into studies.

Women need to find an institution that caters to them in a bespoke way. This in terms of range of qualifications on offer, and the flexibility of when and where to study.

On International Women’s Day we look to boost women. Studies will prepare them for the working world. At Boson, as an example, they will graduate armed with not only the academic skills but also the soft skills that come from the discipline of online learning, and the assertiveness you need to develop to ask your questions, as well as the confidence from being a graduate.

Business and workplace

Boston has a flat organisational culture which seeps through to the students. What this means for students is that all are treated the same, and female students feel as valued as their male counterparts.  All organisations should identify and better understand how to attract, develop, and retain female talent at all levels.

On this women’s day, we need to work to close the unconscious discrepancies that have been inculcated in society for both males and females in terms of which gender is better suited for different types of work and thinking. At Boston, we want women to develop their potential beyond cultural and social stereotypes.

Boston’s Bachelor of Accounting achieves SAICA accreditation

Boston’s Bachelor of Accounting achieves SAICA accreditation

Boston City Campus (Boston) is pleased to announce that our Bachelor of Accounting degree is now SAICA-accredited (South African Institute of Chartered Accountants). The achievement of this accreditation means that students who complete the Boston Bachelor of Accounting degree and who meet the entry requirements set by institutions offering the SAICA-accredited postgraduate qualifications in accounting can seamlessly continue their journey toward the attainment of the CA(SA) designation.

“CAs(SA) are seen as responsible leaders who create sustainable value for the organisations that they work in and there are a wide range of employment opportunities open to these professionals. Becoming a chartered accountant requires grit and determination, and students who enter our Bachelor of Accounting degree can be assured that our programme provides a solid foundation from which to embark on the challenging journey toward ultimately earning the sought-after CA(SA) designation. SAICA’s strategic intention is to contribute to sustainable economies through developing responsible and ethical leaders. As such, it aims to ensure continued relevance and the growth and transformation of the accountancy profession. Through our Bachelor of Accounting qualification, we are proud to be associated with SAICA and the high standards of professionalism required by this globally recognised Institute” emphasizes Dr. Hendrik Botha, the Head of Institution at Boston City Campus.

Says Robert Zwane, SAICA Executive: Learning, Development and National Imperatives: ‘In its role in promoting quality assurance in accounting education, and in terms of its current recognition and standing with the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA), one of SAICA’s key roles is to accredit programmes which allows students access to SAICA’s first professional examination, the Initial Test of Competence (ITC). ‘For programmes to be accredited by SAICA, higher education providers undergo a rigorous and extensive process to ensure that their programme has the necessary resources in place to deliver a high quality programme leading to a CA(SA) qualification. These quality assurance processes are undertaken over and above the formal regulatory accreditation requirements of the DHET, CHE and SAQA which need to be in place before getting the SAICA stamp of approval. Having undergone the formal accreditation process, we are confident that the Boston degree is backed by the necessary resources to meet the standards set by SAICA.’

Boston is the first private provider of distance education to receive SAICA accreditation for the undergraduate degree. Additionally, Boston is accredited locally and internationally for our higher education programmes, and have a longstanding reputation of excellence as a private higher education institution specialising in online and distance education. At Boston, we understand what is needed to put the student front and centre in the learning process. We appreciate the additional support that an online learner may require, and we have invested in human capital and technological infrastructure to ensure that no candidate is left behind. Our unique offering extends to include 47 learner support centres located countrywide, so there is a friendly face to welcome you to the Boston family and to assist with applications and registrations. Offering the SAICA-accredited Bachelor of Accounting qualification in the distance mode means that we’ve eliminated many obstacles preventing access to higher education—like the cost of travel and relocation to a physical campus or having to forego the opportunity cost of full- or part-time employment. Additionally, Boston offers a competitive fee structure and payment plans that include all required textbooks for the duration of the degree.

Boston’s commitment to widening access to a diverse group of students who do not qualify for direct entry into the Bachelor of Accounting is seen in its alternative entry routes. Alternative routes include entry through recognition of prior learning and various relevant higher certificates, diplomas, and occupational qualifications. The accreditation by SAICA demonstrates our commitment to back our students in a challenging and competitive world where success is hard-earned and aligns with our quality approach to higher education. That approach focuses on transformative learning and emphasises the potential of each student, ensuring we support work-ready employable graduates.

Boston is able to extend access to its Bachelor of Accounting in a number of ways. Each application will be considered on its own merit, as follows:

  • School leavers and early career adults wishing to embark on the journey toward becoming a chartered accountant will find our degree a viable option either through direct entry or via alternative routes of access.

  • We are able to accommodate students whose SAICA-accredited undergraduate degree has been interrupted for various reasons beyond their control, and who are wishing to complete a SAICA-accredited undergraduate degree in the distance/online mode can apply for advanced placement through credits already earned.

  • Graduates who have completed qualifications in related disciplines and who now wish to convert by embarking on the journey toward becoming a professional accountant are welcome to apply for entry and/or advanced placement into the Bachelor of Accounting at Boston.

  • Students who have completed professional occupational certificates or diplomas in accounting who now wish to continue on the journey toward becoming a chartered accountant are welcome to apply for entry and/or advanced placement into the Bachelor of Accounting at Boston.

    To find out more visit one of Boston’s 47 support centres situated countrywide, call 011 551 9000, email info@boston.co.za or visit www.boston.ac.za for more information and to apply online.

From Boston Grad Michael Schoeman

From Boston Grad Michael Schoeman

I completed my Postgraduate Diploma in Management at Boston last year.

I am currently completing my Master’s Degree in International Business (MIB).

The reason for this post is to provide positive feedback on Boston’s Postgraduate Diploma in Management.

Firstly, let me thank the team for the outstanding experience I have had with Boston. I was part of the first group that enrolled for the Postgraduate Diploma in Management. It was tough. However, as I continue to successfully complete my Master’s Degree, I have the desire to inform you on how exceptionally well the Postgraduate Diploma in Management has prepared me. I knew at the time that I was being challenged on both an intellectual and personal level, but it is only now that I truly understand and appreciate the exceptional structure and quality of the programme. I am performing exceptionally well and I am so surprised by the knowledge and insight that I have brought with me from my Postgraduate Diploma in Management.

have been taught, like most academics, to think critically. However, I absolutely cannot think of anything I would change to the programme. It is phenomenal.

Mr. Delport assisted me incredibly well throughout the programme. I sincerely hope that he is, and will continue to be involved in the programme because I cannot emphasise enough how well it was put together and executed, and especially how well it has prepared me for my Master’s Degree.

Thank you to all of you.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

Thumbnail Michael Schoeman
Michael Schoeman
Graduate: PG Diploma in Management