It’s never too late: 53-year-old graduates with master of commerce

Jacqueline Grant at her graduation ceremony held at the UKZN Westville campus. Picture: Supplied

Jacqueline Grant at her graduation ceremony held at the UKZN Westville campus. Picture: Supplied

Published May 9, 2024


Age should not impede one’s goals in life. If you have a vision and have the drive to execute it, you can become unstoppable and 53-year-old Jacqueline Grant knows this all too well.

Grant worked in the accounting and property industries for over 25 years before beginning her academic career in 2015.

“Transitioning to academia has not been without its challenges, but this latest qualification opens up new opportunities,” said Grant, who recently graduated with a Master of Commerce in Leadership Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

“It broadened my knowledge of leadership and helped shape my leadership approach. I was appointed to a senior position at the beginning of this year.”

Her dream had always been to become a teacher and she initially earned a Bachelor of Commerce and a postgraduate diploma from Varsity College, is now a part-time online lecturer.

In 1989, the aspiring academic enrolled at the then-University of Natal’s Bachelor of Arts in a Drama and Teaching programme, but life had other plans. However, nine years ago, she made the decision to pursue her dream again.

Grant’s study, titled An Examination of the Role of Leadership in Fostering Employee Engagement During Times of Crises: A Case Study of the Commercial Property Sector in KwaZulu-Natal, is timely.

This is because of the multiple crises of the Covid-19 pandemic, the July 2021 unrest, and the April 2022 floods, all of which have a significant impact on the property industry and the people of KZN.

The study’s findings underscore the importance of communication in employee engagement, which is supported by the quality of the employer-employee relationship.

Grant hopes that the results of her research will help executives develop effective staff engagement methods during times of crisis.

“Leaders play a pivotal role in ensuring that employees remain engaged so as to enhance organisational success. This is even more important in times of crisis when people are trying to cope with personal trauma and work commitments,” she said.

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