UCT GSB Director to lead AABS into the future
Director of the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (GSB), Walter Baets, has been elected as the next chairperson of the Association of African Business Schools (AABS).
AABS is a network of African business schools, formally established in October 2005 and registered as a non-profit organisation in September 2007.
Through capacity building, collaboration, and quality improvement programmes for deans or directors and faculty from African Business Schools, it aims to help build effective business schools in order to improve management education in Africa and thus enhance the relevance and contribution of business schools to African development.
Baets, who said he is looking forward to his tenure, takes up the position on January 1, 2014 until December 31, 2015.
He said: “It’s good for the GSB to be able to play a more active role in this fine association. Traditionally, the GSB has had more collaborations with US and UK business schools, so the AABS allows us to build more relationships with other African schools – something which I believe, in the spirit of creating African management for Africa, is very important.”
Baets believes that African business schools need to develop their own identity if they are to respond appropriately to Africa-specific business and management challenges, something which, in his position as chairperson, he hopes to have the opportunity to investigate.
“In order for business leadership on the continent to move forward, business schools cannot merely adopt prescribed ways of doing things.
“Through AABS, African schools are able to encourage better co-operation in the African context, enrich discussions, see what has worked for other schools, and generally improve the quality of business schools in Africa. All the while defining and hopefully adopting an African identity for education in business management,” he said.
One of the ways AABS performs its duties is through the annual AABS Connect, a conference for business schools and business leaders across the continent, which was successfully hosted at the GSB in 2011.
“The conference provides an opportunity for the expression of members’ views and interests and an opportunity for thought leaders in management education to create a discourse around what type of programmes would be beneficial in the African context,” said Baets.
During his time at the helm Baets would specifically like to address the lack of locally trained academics, and encourage the further development of social innovation programmes.
“Between the 30 plus African schools registered with AABS, we have a real opportunity to dissect the challenges facing the continent, and work together to ensure that the next generation of African business leaders is fully prepared to create sustainable solutions for the continent’s needs. I hope to raise the bar for expectations of an African business school,” he said.
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.