ESMT Responsible Leaders Fellowship Program: Evyatar Epstein in Cape Town, South Africa

I was given the opportunity to be a lecturer at TSiBA Education, in Cape-Town.

Evy teaching at TSiBA 3TSiba is a college that educates for a Business Administration degree. The college provides full scholarship for all of its students. Its main goal is to recruit talented high-school graduates who have the potential to become well educated and successful adults, but do not have the financial means to do so. In the broader sense of South-Afriac`s complex political and social environment- TSiBA is trying to help bridging the huge gap between the under-privileged people- namely the black and the colored population- and the privileged ones.

My business school- ESMT- is aiming to use the knowledge and experience gained by its graduates to contribute to a knowledge-thirsty institution such as TSiBA. ESMT is doing it by offering its graduates the opportunity to spend a semester in South-Africa, in which they will volunteer as teachers and mentors at TSiBA.

Evy at TSiBAAfter arriving to TSiBA, I was asked to be responsible of a managerial-accounting course. This responsibility included preparing lectures and tutorials for a class of 60 students, as well as checking the students` work, preparing their final exam and grading them.

I found a very special kind challenge and satisfaction in doing this work, something I must admit I have never experienced before. The students are great- youngsters in their late teens to early twenties who are truly ambitious to gain knowledge and knowledge-recognition, and to find their way out of the poverty cycle. Most of them are truly grateful for the opportunity they were given and are determine not to miss it. Moreover, the students are excited from having a foreigner lecturer- a person who came from a different country, different background, and have proven experience from which they can benefit a lot.

I had great connection with my student and I truly feel I was able to contribute to them, not only with my professional knowledge but also with my life experiences in other areas.

Overall it was an amazing experience for me. I believe that this initiative of ESMT is a truly noble one and I wish that other business schools can find similar ways to contribute to society and “pay it forward”, as TSiBA`s slogan says.


ESMT Responsible Leaders Fellowship Program: Kunal in Cape Town, South Africa

‘Open Day’ at TSiBA, Cape Town campus
‘Open Day’ at TSiBA, Cape Town campus

TSiBA Education is a private non-profit institution with an urban campus in Cape Town and a rural campus near Kynsa, both in Western Cape, South Africa. Their vision is to “Ignite Opportunity” by being an innovative learning community that engages young talent into academic courses focused on entrepreneurship and leadership. TSiBA lives on the philosophy of “paying it forward”- students who are awarded scholarships are not required to pay for their education monetarily, but rather to “Pay it Forward” by transferring the knowledge, skills and resources that they gain at TSiBA to their communities.

With BBA students and CEO of TSiBA at a cocktail evening hosted by Bowman Gilfillan
With BBA students and CEO of TSiBA at a cocktail evening hosted by Bowman Gilfillan

TSiBA’s main offerings are the BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) and HCBA (Higher Certificate in Business Administration) courses. Students are not required to pay any tuition fees. These expenses are covered through TSiBA’s generous individual and corporate sponsors and donors. TSiBA does generate revenue and that is through the executive education offered to the corporate and government sectors.

My role as a pro-bono volunteer was to provide consulting and general management assistance to the administration team in TSiBA’s Cape Town campus and occasional teaching assistance. Two of the main projects handled were-

  • Audit of examination marking system- Apart from delivering quality education, TSiBA’s critical task is also fair and accurate assessment of student performance. This audit was carried out to verify and improve processes which lead to examination marking/grading and course qualification. The aim was to standardize the process to eliminate errors in the future.
  • Streamlining of policies and procedures- Policies and procedures form an essential part for the smooth everyday functioning of any organization. TSiBA is now only in its 10th year of operation and most polices were written during its formative years. This was a project which I ran alone and involved meticulous review of all the policies, especially those affecting student and academic matters. Recommendations were made to the Dean and were later tabled across the executive committee.

About the Responsible Leaders Fellowship

As part of the Responsible Leaders Fellowship, three of ESMT’s 2013 MBA graduates put their career plans on hold to volunteer as teachers and mentors for up to six months and pass on the skills learned during their MBA to the students at TSiBA (Tertiary School in Business Administration) in South Africa. The knowledge and experience gained by ESMT graduates will contribute to a knowledge-thirsty institution such as TSiBA.