MIT Professional Education trains South African transportation managers

South African Transportation Managers at their graduation ceremony.

MIT Professional Education worked with South Africa’s Regenesys Business School this summer to provide training to budding transportation and logistics managers from previously disadvantaged communities in South Africa.

Thirty participants, along with two executives from Regenesys — Hazel Bagley, strategic business development manager and William Vivian, a founding director of the school — came to MIT’s campus in Cambridge in June to take the Mastering Innovation, and Design-Thinking Operations program designed for the group. The program, integrated into Regenesys’ international leadership development program, was taught by MIT Professor Joel Schindall along with senior lecturers Don Rosenfield, Blade Kotelly, Steven Spear, and Edgar Blanco. Innovative thinking, the importance of global supply chains, 10-step design process, identifying good or bad design, and megacity logistics were some of the topics addressed in the program.

Bhaskar Pant, executive director of MIT Professional Education, traveled this past week to Johannesburg, South Africa, to observe the students’ final project presentations, and to award participants their MIT Certificates of Completion at Regenesys’ graduation ceremony for degree and certificate students.

“While at MIT, the students learned radically new ways to look at and overcome challenges. The program opened their eyes; they learned how to take risks and bring innovative thinking to break out of some of the long-entrenched, less than efficient processes that were part of their operations,” Pant said, adding, “During their presentations in Johannesburg, they impressed me with their new approaches, some of which they had already begun implementing in their own respective areas. It is always gratifying to see MIT knowledge being applied usefully in the real world, particularly in developing economies such as South Africa.”

Bhaskar Pant of MIT congratulates a new program graduate in South Africa.

Bagely noted, “Our visit to MIT in June left each one of us with a story of change, growth, and inspiration. We were, therefore, extremely humbled to have Bhaskar Pant represent MIT on our home shores as part of our joint international leadership development program presentations and graduation. He brought a wealth of knowledge and experience, which he generously shared with Regenesys’ alumni, staff, students, and clients via his addresses and lectures.”

Bagley added, “Perhaps the biggest learning from the warm relationship we have formed with the folks from MIT Professional Education is that leadership is really about the degree to which you bring people along with you and the extent to which you open them up to the realization that leadership is as much in the little things as the big things you do. This is our passion and that’s what we share about education.”

While at Regenesys, Pant gave a talk entitled "Cultural Competence for the Global Workplace — A Growing Trend" to more than 140 people on Oct. 29 and 30. The audience was comprised of Regenesys alumni, many of them MBA graduates, the transportation managers who came to MIT, and other mid and senior-level executives from business and government organizations.

While in Johannesburg, Pant was interviewed live on South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) morning TV show "Morninglive" about the MIT Professional Education training program for South African managers. Pant also spoke with Leadership magazine.

While in Johannesburg, Pant met with senior officials from several state organizations dealing with freight and transportation to discuss how MIT could provide training to their key executives and managers.

Of the week spent in South Africa, Pant noted, “Being born in Africa myself, it was a thrill to see the level of appreciation that the South Africans I met showed to our interest in helping develop professionals in South Africa. I look forward to making additional strides in growing MIT’s training relationship with the South African government and industry.”

Source: MIT News