Interview with Mafhungo Nevhutalu South African student, winner of LA NUIT DE L’INTERNATIONAL with her team « Team’boctou »
Mafhungo Nevhutalu is a South African student in M2 International MBA of IAE Gustave Eiffel. She is also a member of the « Team’boctou » team who won LA NUIT DE L’INTERNATIONAL IAE FRANCE on thursday, January 14.
Why did you come to France and joined our School of Management IAE Gustave Eiffel?
Mafhungo Nevhutalu: I had always loved numbers and learning about different fields so my initial studies in my home country of South Africa were in Mathematics and Statistics and then Finance. I really enjoyed the experience. After my Honours degree in Finance, I decided that I really wanted to expand my knowledge in a new field and to immerse myself in a new culture as well. I got the opportunity to come to France on a scholarship and although I knew very little about the language or life in the country, I was excited to take on the challenge. My first few days in France were really interesting and the translation app on my phone was extremely overused. I definitely got lost in Paris many, many times but I eventually settled in. I did my M1 in International Economics, a completely new field, and although challenging, I learnt a lot and made the best of friends. During my M1, I realised that although my studies had been very fulfilling what I didn’t know yet was how best they could be applied in a business context. The M2 International MBA fit the pieces of the puzzle together for me. The programme was comprehensive and had amazing lecturers with not only academic knowledge but real-world experience too. It allowed me to not only refine some skills I already possessed, but to learn about new areas of business and management that will hopefully help me become a great leader in business one day.
How would you describe your experience at the IAE Gustave Eiffel during this context?
I was a little nervous about starting the Master 2 with no real business knowledge or experience. However, my fears quickly disappeared when I began the classes. The lecturers were well aware of our diverse academic and work experience backgrounds and did their best to cater to students who knew nothing about their subjects. Even with Covid and online classes, our professors tried to give us the best learning experience possible. I think it was frustrating for everyone without social interactions but we never felt isolated and our professors really cared about our wellbeing. This made the experience so much more enjoyable. I was also so grateful to have been in a truly international class with students from different parts of the world. It was amazing to learn from and make friends with people who had such different backgrounds to my own and I hope that these will be people who I will keep in touch with, even as we all go on our separate journeys in our careers and even as we disperse to different parts of the world again.
How would you describe your experience of the Nuit de l’International – IAE FRANCE Business Game Competition?
I have always really enjoyed group work. This is mainly because I am often in a group of people with extremely different ideas and viewpoints than mine and we make contributions to a common goal. I also love the ability to learn from people who are more advanced in a variety of skills and to continue to improve. One of my main reasons for entering the competitions that I did at the Business Game (Master International MBA – IAE Gustave Eiffel) and the Zoohackathon (http://www.zoohackathon.com/), was the ability to not only learn from but interact with new and extremely talented people. I was grateful for the opportunities that the IAE Gustave Eiffel provided us to learn beyond the classroom and to network with talented students. I got that and so much more. During both competitions, I met students from all over the world who helped me to widen my horizon and to learn about things from a variety of different fields and specialities. Their strategic approaches to problems were amazing and I was able to adapt that to my own thinking as well. I was initially a little concerned about how well we would be able to communicate as my French is still a work in progress but they all spoke English really well and I was able to use a translator to help me if I needed to write things down or say them in French. Hopefully my French will be much better the next time I take part in a competition!
What are your plans, what could we wish you for the future?
I hope to start out my career in Management Consulting after completing my International MBA. I think this will provide me with the best experience on how to really create value and growth in organisations and I know the knowledge acquired during my International MBA studies will come in handy. In the long term, I hope to one day establish a non-profit organisation in South Africa, especially in my place of birth Venda, that will serve underprivileged youths and provide them with opportunities to get into great universities (locally and abroad) and make a meaningful contribution to the growth of the country.