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“It does not matter whether you are from the village or township, if you have a vision of what you want to do, you can do it, all you need is focus, dedication and be willing to work hard,” said the jubilant Nhlakanipho Goodman Ngcobo. 

The former Durban University of Technology (DUT) student has just completed and graduated from the University of Pecs, Hungary in Europe; as a qualified Economist in Management and Leadership.  

In 2018, Ngcobo graduated Cum laude Bachelor of Technology Degree in Business Administration and in 2019 he was awarded the DUT Golden Key International Honour Society for being the Best Student. He started his Master of Science in Management and Leadership in February 2019. He was proud and honoured to have been given the opportunity to study overseas by the Department of Higher Education and Training and International Scholarships in partnership with Tempus Public Foundation and Hungarian Government.  

“I’m a proud DUT BTech Business Administration alumni and Golden Key International Honour Society member. I represented DUT with pride and honour. The DUT Department of Entrepreneurship Studies laid a good foundation for me and I did not struggle with my studies here in Europe. It was a good two-year journey to be part of bright academic international students’ community and to be involved with such bright talented graduates from around the globe,” he said proudly. 

Speaking more on his stay in Europe, Ngcobo said that his university was a town university, the oldest university in Hungary. He said the University of Pecs was built in 1367 and it has been operating for more than 670 years. 

“All new arrivals stayed at university dormitories. I stayed at Szanto Kollegium dormitory for the first six months (from February 2019 till end of August 2019). I then found an apartment which I moved in from 1 September 2019 till 04 February 2021. The Hungarian government together with Tempus Public University gave us allowances to pay for our accommodation if you do not stay in a dormitory,” he said. 

For Ngcobo, this was his first travel to overseas although he did travel to Walvis Bay, Namibia several times when he was doing his internship with Grindrod Limited in 2013. 

Discussing more on his academic studies, Ngcobo emphasised that in his second year students had to prepare their Thesis and submit it in November 2020. Once they were done with their Thesis and studies, they had to do one Oral Presentation called Thesis Defence, where a student defends his or her work, to prove that the work one did was their own work. 

“My initial topic was based on Logistics but due to the pandemic, I had to change because I could not travel to South Africa to do my research, then I changed it to Exploring the Impact of Corruption on Public Investment. It was a difficult and challenging topic because I could not use questionnaires as the questions relating to corruption are sensitive and involves top executives. I had to use a Desktop research and use case studies to analyse the impact of corruption on public investment,” he stressed. 

Speaking more on the global pandemic, Ngcobo said that COVID-19 was first reported in Hungary in March 2020. The students had to quickly change from face-to-face lecturing system to online lecturing including hybrid teaching. 

“Luckily, we did not stop our lectures as there are systems in place to cater for such events. We switched to online teaching through MS Teams where we attended our lectures as normal just like when we were attending them face to face. The only difference was that it was now online. Study wise, COVID-19 did affect me a little because I like the face to face lecturing system because it is easy to follow a lecturer if you see him or her live. The pandemic only ruined my Thesis strategy because I could not travel back to South Africa to do my research there. That was the only challenge I had academically,” he indicated. 

Ngcobo left South Africa on 31 January 2019 and was back home on 5 February 2021. He flew from Budapest to Qatar then from Qatar to South Africa, an 18-hour trip back to his home. He said that the experience so far is that the students had to be careful and follow the regulations and constantly wash their hands or sanitise them and observe social distancing. 

His advice to DUT students is to believe in themselves, work hard and focus on their studies, the rest will be easy. 

“It is possible to succeed anywhere in the world, whether you are in Africa or Western countries or America or Asia, it is doable. I am proof of that, I come from a small rural town of Nongoma, Northern KwaZulu-Natal and I managed to do it and compete with other bright minds from all over the world because we had intelligent students from all continents,” he said. 

Pictured: Nhlakanipho Goodman Ngcobo 

Waheeda Peters 

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