“When I was appointed as a manager, I knew I had the qualities that I needed, but I still had to learn the managerial principles and how to conduct myself in front of people in this position,” says Tsheko Kopong, who won a Top Achievers/Director’s Award for the Management Development Programme (MDP) in 2021.
“When the SENTECH HR team informed us that we were selected to attend an MDP course with USB Executive Development, I accepted this nomination because it was a great opportunity. It was a perfect start for me to represent the organisation in and out of the office. I took it upon myself as a challenge.”
Tsheko says, “It was vital to learn about other aspects of business operations and improve my managerial skills. I always wanted to know how to analyse and interpret the company’s financial data. The organisation has to align its objectives to its projects in the current year. But I was wondering – how does it achieve that efficiently? That was my question, and I was curious.”
This curiosity fuelled Tsheko’s interest in the programme, as he identified areas where he felt he would benefit. “I have a background in engineering, and my weakness was a lack of knowledge of financial accounting. I’m also involved in writing business cases, but it became interesting that the MDP course offers the “Environment of Business” and “Marketing Management” modules. I knew there was a lot to gain from there.”
With his technical background, his focus was on developing his skills as a leader. “There is no perfect manager, and with my technical background, I needed to develop my leadership skills.”
Tsheko’s main highlights from the course were learning about the environment of business and managerial finance. He goes on to praise the enjoyable learning environment created by the faculty. “The facilitators articulated the subjects seamlessly,” he says, “And the outcomes of these modules became relevant throughout the course. We were pretty comfortable adopting them into our BDAL project as a team, and we integrated other modules into the final piece for this project. It was pleasing to see how everything came together at the end.”
He shares how he applies his course learnings to his professional life. “We have our Quarterly Report meetings presented by the Executive Committee. In the past, during these meetings, I would not understand the Financial Statement, or even know how to interpret or understand the implications being discussed. I relied solely on the remarks and recommendations presented by our CFO. Now, I’m comfortable going into those meetings and emerge with a better understanding of the company’s financial status, and even some ideas of my own. My creation and interpretation of business cases have also improved. And when I read business plans, I can identify the gaps and critical aspects of the document and put solutions in place. This is something that I wasn’t confident with before doing the programme. I will sometimes even reference the course material both in and out of the workplace.”
Tsheko also feels the programme has improved his natural skills as a manager. “I want to see people excel. I am a teacher at heart, and I want to see people around me grow to become masters in their work. I have found that I have become a more proactive manager. I’m not only focusing on my area of control, but I also want to give input to my area of influence.”
In addition to making him a more proactive manager, the programme has helped Tsheko realise a strength he didn’t know he had. “I have started considering people’s opinions rather than dismissing them. I have become a person who listens more when there are differences in opinions. I have found that one of my strengths is to reflect on past events during the discussions to make sure that the conversations reach their outcome progressively and we do not repeat past mistakes. I now prefer to offer assistance to those who are not performing, instead of reprimanding.”
This shift has also resulted in a wider perspective for Tsheko. “I take lessons from any person I interact with. I have become less of a critic in any situation, and I support what people aspire to achieve. One person’s mistake is a lesson to many people. I have started to cherish the people that continue to help me.”
Tailored for all managers from any industry, the Management Development Programme (MDP) is valuable for those who are responsible for managing various business units and are ready to dive deep into management development. This course empowers managers to reinforce their managerial skill set and business acumen. As a strategic management course, the Management Development Programme (MDP) is packed with material that focuses on broadening one’s self-awareness and leadership attributes, while enhancing the necessary managerial skills required in the ever-changing business environment. For further information about this course, please click here.