Take a journey toward a better version of yourself
For Malegola Mohlala, making a positive impact in African healthcare has been a career-defining value – and an international MBA from Henley Business School Africa has played a key role in helping her to do so.
With a professional background in biological sciences, I started my career journey working in the lab, first as an intern and then as a forensic analyst before moving into transplant diagnostics. During that time, I worked my way up from a technical role into senior management, eventually changing industries. Presently, I am with a multinational biopharmaceutical company where I focus on optimising the patient selection process for oncology treatment. We find that not all treatment is appropriate for all patients, so my day-to day in the broader ecosystem involves selecting the right patient for the right cancer treatment, at the right time. This is the principle of precision medicine.
I am driven by a desire to advance the quality of healthcare on the continent, and before the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to do my MBA to help me achieve this. The process involved plenty of research to find the right school that would align with my goals and accommodate my unique schedule. The one thing that stood out for me about Henley, was that it accommodates families and flexibility. The information session I attended was inclusive as partners and families were also invited. It felt like a family event, which for me was remarkable for a business school! Your loved ones are a part of your MBA journey too and they need to be acknowledged for their role and support. Finding a healthy balance between achieving my study goals and being a developed individual was important to me. I enjoyed the flexibility of the Henley MBA. The programme is slightly longer than other institutions (30-months), but having that flexibility to pace myself, allowed me to come out as a well-rounded and strong individual at the end.
Bringing the Henley MBA into my career plan has allowed me to pivot successfully and apply myself in a new industry. As a result, I have grown tremendously as a professional, and having experience in both diagnostics and therapeutics, has broadened my perspective and approach to healthcare. I do feel that the MBA played a role in making the transition smooth and seamless. I was able to focus on the important skills required to manage the change in both a professional and personal capacity, especially during the pandemic!
Being a student at Henley opened up my eyes to how business can be done differently, to suit markets across various sectors. I have experienced organisations make the mistake of poorly understanding the country and dynamics in which they operate, not listening to their people, and applying business contexts and solutions in (South) Africa that are actually inappropriate and cause the business to lose much more in the long run. I found that Henley offers relevant content that is practical and useful – my favourite module was “Africa rising”, an elective which prompted great discussions in class and offered insights and useful considerations to make when seeking to do business in Africa.
The MBA takes you on an unimaginable journey of self-discovery. When I first decided to embark on the MBA, I did so with the intention of becoming more financially astute. I was incredibly surprised to discover that I was being taken on a journey to become a better version of myself. And that makes you a better person in every sphere of your life. Another one of my favourite modules focused on personal development. I have a better understanding of who I am as a person, what my values are and how to set healthy boundaries. It’s important to understand your values, so you can stand by them regardless of the circumstances and have the courage to walk away from situations or relationships that make you unhappy.
The MBA is an incredibly challenging degree, but I found that keeping a routine and sticking to it, helped me in structuring my activities and getting across the finish line. There are going to be many times when you’re not feeling motivated, you lack inspiration and are probably feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work you have to do. Leaning on your learning teams is invaluable because you have different perspectives. Each one of you brings something different and valuable to your learning so that will help with your assignments and the learning journey as a whole. Ultimately, the effort is worthwhile, because having an MBA from a good institution under your belt, equips you with tools to have the career you desire.
I believe it’s important to celebrate how far you’ve come to achieve your goals. Buying my first home was a huge deal for me. It involved good financial and personal management and my home is a safe and relaxing environment where I’ve created special memories. I’m immensely proud of the career that I have had so far. Including obtaining the MBA, what stands out for me is that through evidence processing and recovery, I’ve helped to bring justice to victims of crime and their families, and I have worked with amazing people and teams to introduce new technologies in South Africa that have advanced donor compatibility testing for patients requiring either solid organ or stem cell transplants. Another highlight is being the lead consultant on the establishment of a brand new transplant diagnostics testing unit in South Africa. Today, I am part of an ecosystem doing incredible and impactful work in oncology and across the continent. I’m excited for what the future holds!