VUT ALUMNI PLOUGHS BACK TO THE UNIVERSITY BY SHARING INDUSTRY INSIGHTS WITH MARKETING STUDENTS
By: Puleng Maphisa- 09 June 2023
PEPSICO team with VUT delegates
The importance of marketing services in the industry topped the agenda at the recent Vaal University of Technology (VUT)’s student-alumni engagement session – a collaboration between the University’s Marketing, Retail, Business and Sports Department (MRS), the Alumni Relations Department and PepsiCo, an American multinational food, snack, and beverage corporation, with a footprint in South Africa since 1997.
In an interactive session facilitated by Dr Lehlohonolo Masitenyane, a Senior Lecturer at VUT, a cohort of undergraduate marketing students gained critical insights from a guest lecture session presented by a VUT alumnus and Frontline Sales Manager at PepsiCo, Mrs. Mosele Maloka who was supported by two other VUT Alumni industry experts Mr. Mandla Nkosi, Denis Manganye including a VUT Student Intern at PepsiCo who is currently studying his Postgraduate diploma in Marketing Mr Tshoboko Raphoko.
A seasoned marketer with a demonstrated history of working in the consumer goods industry, in her presentation, Mrs Maloka emphasised that one of the most important personality traits of a service marketer is to be open-minded and learn different languages to effectively infiltrate the market. She adds that the sales industry doesn’t require an introvert but an extrovert to be successful and therefore, one needs to step out of a cocoon and learn the tricks of trade, in addition to product knowledge. “It is essential to know your market and know who your audience is, but most importantly, know your products. Customers can be very difficult at times, but if you know your product well, that tends to make one’s job a bit easier and convincing them to buy, comes naturally”, says Mrs Maloka in her deliberations. Furthermore, she emphasised that being a Sales Team Leader doesn’t only require one to sit in the office and boss people around but to lead by example, is an important element a manager must possess, as she normally goes out with her team on the streets to sell their products.
According to the event organiser, Dr Masitenyane, in the quest to bridge the gap between practical industry experience and the day-to-day academic theoretical knowledge, initiatives of bringing active industry expects into the classroom are more and more becoming an imperative that as a department they also embrace. “Mrs Maloka fundamentally assisted us to break down the barriers of the classroom walls to intensify student learning experience,” he said. He added that the experience she brought gave the students the opportunity to connect with a professional and VUT Alumni by creating an evocative integrated learning experience. “The Guest speakers presented real-life and personal marketing experiences that the students can relate to from theory,”.
The Alumni Relations head of department at VUT, Mr. Peter Masombuka, says that the aim of such collaborations is to ensure that students get to know and have a feel of what it is like in the industry, but also for the students to voice out and bring to the attention what they expect from the university.
During the question-and-answer session, the vividly motivated students expressed their gratitude to VUT for making it possible for them to interact with industry experts by bringing them into the classroom. At the end, a sentiment shared by many of them was that they aspire to be future marketing gurus – “just like Mrs Maloka,” they said.