We recently caught up with CertHE Business and Management Student Ambassador, Minkateko Shikweni, to learn more about her future plans with her business qualification. If you missed this Facebook Live interview, you can watch the full recording here or read the transcript of it below.
Interviewer: Hello, good afternoon and welcome to our next live interview with the University of Essex Online. Today I’m going to be interviewing Minkateko Shikweni, a current CertHE Business and Management student and one of our Student Ambassadors. How are you today?
Minkateko: I’m good thanks, and yourself?
Interviewer: Yeah really good thanks. It’s Friday so not too bad.
So in today’s interview we’re going to be chatting about Minkateko’s future plans with her business qualification. And if you are watching us live, then go ahead and drop us any questions you’ve got about her experiences studying, about the course she’s studying, or anything else; just go ahead and drop it in the comments and I’ll ask Minkateko for you.
In the meantime, I’m just going to kick-off with getting to know you a bit. Can you tell us a little about yourself? So what you do? Where do you live? What sort of background you’ve got?
Minkateko: Alright, I’m currently in South Africa. I am a South African and I live in Pretoria, one of the capital cities of South Africa. Currently, I don’t have a full-time job or a proper job but I’m a part-time musician. So I’ve released my first single and my first music video has been played on one of the TV channels in South Africa. And then I’m also doing an internship in the administration sector. So I’m mainly on the capturing of financial duties, and so that’s what I’m currently busy with.
Interviewer: Wow that sounds really exciting. So why was it you decided to study a business course?
Minkateko: I decided to study a business course, because it’s the middle ground to everything I want to accomplish in my life.
Interviewer: Cool. What makes you say that – like, in what way is it the middle ground?
Minkateko: That’s because everything I want to accomplish is in the business field – it has something related to business. So yeah that’s why I decided to study business.
Interviewer: Great! So you’re studying a CertHE and for those who don’t know that’s a 16-month course which is equivalent to the first level of a Bachelors degree. So a Bachelors degree is normally 48 months – a CertHE is 16 months, and it’s equivalent to the first level, so you can progress on from the CertHE to the full Bachelors degree. So you’re studying a CertHE with us, why did you decide to do that?
Minkateko: Yes, I studied the CertHE because it is a stepping stone towards a Bachelors degree in Business and Management. And also due to the entry requirements I couldn’t get into anything unless I got a CertHE so that’s the reason I decided to start with it.
Interviewer: That makes sense. Our CertHEs have an open entry route, so that you can start studying it without any prior work experience or qualifications. So yeah, it’s a popular choice for that same exact reason, I think. And you’re studying online rather than on-campus, why did you decide to do that?
Minkateko: Yes, I decided to study online – initially I wanted to study on-campus, but I have an eye condition. So from concerns from my doctor and parents I wasn’t really able to study abroad. So the only option I had was to study online.
Interviewer: How are you finding the course so far? How are you getting used to study?
Minkateko: I’m enjoying it, and it’s actually isn’t difficult. It’s my second year of studying online. I completed my last year of high school studying online because I wasn’t coping a normal classroom environment due to my eye condition. So it’s not really a big transition and is something I’m used to.
Interviewer: Great! And the course material itself – sorry just to – how far into the course are you at the moment?
Minkateko: Ahh I just have to count that quickly. I started in April… so yeah I’m 12 months into the course.
Interviewer: So what is your opinion of the course content so far?
Minkateko: I’m really enjoying it. It has really broadened my education in the business field. And also I enjoyed how it is structured, the course and all the modules and everything. Also the testing and how it has enhanced my intellectual skills, critical skills, and reasoning skills. I just feel smarter actually! I’ve really enjoyed it – I’m enjoying it.
Interviewer: That’s fantastic to hear! Have you studied any particularly interesting topics so far?
Minkateko: Yes my favourite was the Introduction to Marketing. I really enjoyed the section of Consumer Behaviour and how marketing influences us as consumers; and how we shop and how we are attracted to different products; and how we see products due to their pricing and all sorts of things. So I really enjoyed that module.
Interviewer: Brilliant. So you mentioned briefly the assessments. Can you explain for people who might not know how the assessments work when you’re studying online.
Minkateko: So we mainly have 3 assessments: assignments, discussion forums and journal entries. So on the assignments we’re given a topic to write an essay on and we have to do some research on that; and we’re mainly assessed on our critical skills how we relate to the topic, the structure of the assignment and how we present it.
With the discussion forums it’s just short 200-300 essays where we write about a topic and debate about it. And with the journal entries it’s basically writing about what we’ve learned in the module, and our personal development and how it relates to our professional life and how it has improved that. And also… I think I might have skipped some things but that’s what it’s mainly about. And also with the journal entries we’re given some case studies sometimes where we have to analyse a business and give them insight through research.
Interviewer: That sounds really interesting. So in the discussion forums you’re talking with your other classmates about topics you’re covering in your lecturecast study.
Interviewer: Great. How are you finding sort of the interactions with other students then?
Minkateko: It’s really interesting and I’m actually enjoying that. Sometimes it can be challenging because we’re given hard topics and we don’t know how to approach it. But I end up finding solutions through research and I can engage with my classmates accordingly.
Interviewer: So after you finish your CertHE are you hoping to progress onto the full Bachelors degree?
Minkateko: Yes definitely. I’m planning to study with the University of Essex to a Bachelors degree in Business and Management in order to obtain a Masters degree in a few years.
Interviewer: That’s great. Is there a reason you’ve chosen the business and management pathway rather than the business and marketing? Because you can progress from the CertHE onto either of those courses. So is there a reason you’ve preferred the business and management course?
Minkateko: Yes, I preferred the management course because my future plan is to create businesses and employment in the tourism, food and entertainment industries. So having those business and management skills will give me the right skills to run the businesses and manage them accordingly.
Interviewer: That’s great. In terms of the skills you’ve been developing while studying the course, are there any in particular that you already feel you’ve developed a lot?
Minkateko: Yes, my critical and reasoning skills, they’ve really enhanced greatly. Even in general things, while watching the news and stuff like that, I’m able to critically analyse everything. I don’t know if that makes sense. It’s just general knowledge – it has expanded.
Interviewer: It really sort of makes you think about things in the way that you weren’t doing before, that sort of thing.
Minkateko: Yes, that sort of thing.
Interviewer: Great. Would you have any advice for anyone who is considering studying online? You know in terms of deciding whether or not they want to start studying on the CertHE, or how to choose the course? Sort of from your own experience.
Minkateko: Yes, I have advice. Firstly, I would advise them to go for the course they’re really passionate about, they shouldn’t compromise for anything, they should just go for their passion. And also I would tell them to be dedicated and committed, because they are key to your own success. It’s all in their hands the outcome of their course is, and their marks, their results.
Interviewer: That’s really good advice, yeah. Because it takes quite a lot of hard work to put in all the time that you need to complete the qualification. So yeah definitely pick something you’re passionate about, I definitely agree. And what about studying online, would you recommend that others try that as opposed to campus-based study?
Minkateko: Yes, I definitely would recommend people to study online. More specially for the ones who are really busy, and they really want to go for their education, but they can’t because they have so much going on. So studying online is the right way to go. With studying online and my experience with University of Essex Online – I’ve really enjoyed the service and all the resources they provide to me as an online student. It has really been impressive and I’m really happy about it.
Interviewer: That’s really great to hear. In terms of the resources that are available to you – you mention that you really like it – the lecturecast that you do, do you sort of enjoy the multimedia format of that?
Minkateko: Yes, I definitely enjoy it. I was really impressed actually when I started the course and I had a variety of resources like that. It was really amazing.
Interviewer: That’s great. How about the support you’ve received? Been working with the Student Support team and also having module tutors to support you, has that been helpful?
Minkateko: Yes, that’s really helpful and I also really appreciate my Student Adviser. She always checks in every week that everything is fine and stuff like that and reminds me of deadlines. And also my tutors, I know they’re really busy but I’m really impressed with how the reply within 24 hours, and they always ensure that you’re happy with everything and understand everything that you’re supposed to do.
Interviewer: Have you got any – we’ve not had any questions from anyone – if you do have any questions, we’re probably going to wrap up shortly. But have you got any final thoughts; about anything we’ve not covered?
Minkateko: No I don’t I’m happy with everything.
Interviewer: Brilliant. So thanks so much everyone for tuning in today. If you did have a question for Minkateko that you didn’t want to ask on here, then you can actually send Minkateko a message directly through our chat system. So I’m popping the link into the chat. You can go there and speak to Minkateko about her experiences or you could talk to any of our other Student Ambassadors we have available across a wide range of our courses.
I hope that you’ve been inspired by what Minkateko has been saying about her experiences studying business online and how she plans to use that in the future. We’re going to be taking a break from doing live interviews over Christmas, but we’re going to be back in the New Year so keep an eye on our Facebook page for announcements of when they’re going to be.
And if there’s a topic you’d like us to cover that we haven’t covered yet, just let us know again in the comments here. Yeah all that’s left for me to say is thank you so much for joining us and watching. Thank you Minkateko for all of your fantastic insights.
Minkateko: Thank you for having me – thank you so much!
Interviewer: Thanks! I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas, and goodbye!
If you’d like to know more about Minkateko’s experience studying business online, you can chat with her via Unibuddy here.
Additionally, if Minkateko has inspired you to consider online study – you can download a prospectus now to find the course for you.