In its quest to inspire higher education for employability, distance education institution MANCOSA has granted a MBA bursary to a Top 100 Finalist in the GradStar Awards which recognises the most employable students.


Tanaka Gombera, 22, who is pursuing a post-graduate Diploma in Business Management at MANCOSA, and has gained a place among South Africa’s top 100 university students in the contest, is over the moon about her achievement.

After receiving over 8000 entries from students all over the country hoping to be recognised by the leading employers in the land, the top 100 finalists for the Absa GradStar Awards 2020 have been chosen. The “10 of the Finest” will be selected on 17 September.

Professor Kiveshnie Naidoo, Academic Director at MANCOSA, said the institution was excited that one of its own students was among the 100 finalists in the GradStar Awards programme to recognise top university students across South Africa and connect them with potential employers, as well as business mentors.

“Making yourself eligible for employment is not just about getting a job; it is about a broader set of skills and attributes that will enable a graduate to be successful throughout their working life.

“Therefore, it’s your employability, the unique mix of skills, abilities and personal qualities that you have, that will make you stand out from the crowd.”

She said MANCOSA wanted to give Tanaka a head-start in life, and the academic leadership of the institution offered her a bursary to pursue an MBA that would give her new skills and knowledge to enhance her chances of securing a fulfilling and rewarding career.

The youngest of three daughters, Tanaka was born and raised in Zimbabwe and completed her schooling in QweQwe.

Last year she entered the GradStar Awards talent recognition programme in the hope of being recognised by the leading employers in the country, including Absa, Accenture, Fasken, Epiroc, BAT and many more. She was selected among the 100 finalists.

She said with the uncertainty of what the future holds because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she decided to again enter the GradStar Awards to stand a chance of being among the next generation of talent coming into the workplace.

“The GradStar Awards shines a light on future leaders of South Africa and what they can offer to the workforce of the future.

“The awards event is an amazing opportunity, and you get to learn so much from the other entrants, the sponsors, as well as yourself. It provides the opportunity for students to prove they have qualities beyond book knowledge and academic achievement,” she said.

The GradStar Awards builds bridges between students and corporate South Africa. Personal characteristics, more important than ever to employers, including self-awareness, curiosity, resilience, problem-solving, decision-making and teamwork, are key components of the four-stage assessments that students complete.

Tanaka said she was deeply indebted to MANCOSA for placing confidence in her by offering her a bursary for the MBA.

“Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be able to tackle the MBA at MANCOSA immediately after completing a Diploma in Business Management.

“I thought I would have to save money for a while before enrolling for the MBA.

“At least now I know that soon I will be adequately qualified to put my best foot forward. The world will be my oyster,” she said.

Tanaka hopes to start a company of her own one day and offer employment to young people who have so much potential.

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