Toyota partners with Gordon Institute of Business Science to offer Africa's first manufacturing MBA
Automotive giant, Toyota SA, has partnered with the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Pretoria, South Africa, to offer Africa’s first manufacturing-focused Masters in Business Administration. Toyota and the Gordon Institute have stated the creation of the MBA is intended to create growth in the manufacturing sector, which is a key driver of economic development in the region.
The course, according to the Gordon Institute’s executive director, Justin Barnes, will not be automotive specific, despite its strong connection to the Japanese car maker. Instead the MBA will “address manufacturing in general”. Initially, annual intake for the course will be limited to 40 students per year, according to Gordon Institute dean of students Nicola Kleyn.
Business Live reports Kleyn “said her school was wholly responsible for student selection and teaching. Programmes, taught by Gibs faulty, would include both online tuition and 10-day block-releases at the institute.”
Kleyn also stated in a press release that, while “much of the MBA’s content would be general business administration… elective subjects, research, dissertations and overseas trips would concentrate on manufacturing.”
According to a report by Business Live, the program will be made available to students in 2019. Former Toyota South Africa CEO Johan van Zyl, and the current president of Toyota Europe, said: “The creation of a deep manufacturing culture has contributed to the development of Asian economies such as Japan, Thailand and Korea. I believe we need to start building a similarly deep culture of manufacturing in South Africa.”
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.