Meet Karen Strydom | GetSmarter Notable Achiever

MARKETING   |   3 minutes  |   March 15, 2017

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In recognition of students who stand out from the crowd, GetSmarter’s Notable Achievers campaign highlights a top-performing student each week.

Karen was chosen by our Student Success Team because of the growth and promise she showed in the UCT Social Media online short course.

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Here’s what she has to say about her experience:

Why did you decide to take the UCT online short course?

After being in marketing for 9 years, I knew the day will come that I’ll have to open my mind to “new ways”. I studied in the times before Facebook and being an old-school type of girl I didn’t even want e-mails on my phone. I was appointed Marketing Manager and had to take the lead with the marketing strategy when I realised the company’s biggest target market is between 17 – 25-year-olds and the best way to reach this market is through mobile.

Although I knew something of the concept “social media” I wasn’t really interested and opposed the idea of everybody knowing everything about each other. I had a mental block against social media. I’ve never been more wrong in my life.

What were your concerns before enrolling on the UCT Social Media online short course? How were your concerns alleviated and why?

I’ve never been a great student. The reason I loved attending university was because I could interact with my classmates. This course was presented online. An extrovert’s worst nightmare is being alone sitting in front of a computer.

To my surprise the first moment I opened the website to log in, the screen goes to the UCT campus as if I am there!

Storm, the GetSmarter coach phoned me (everyone who enrolled) to welcome us. I loved the online discussion forums, to hear what people said and to share my thoughts. The Tutor and Success Manager actively take part. Within the first week I was totally at ease and very excited.

What aspects are you enjoying about learning online with GetSmarter?

I was three weeks in when my partner had to go to America for the rest of the year, and I just didn’t know how I’d manage to do an online course and travel through America. It was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. Studying online allows you to do everything in your own time, and your own pace. GetSmarter’s modules, projects and assignments were so well mapped out, allowing you to do proper planning even if you are seven or nine hours behind.

How do you plan to use the skills you learned on this course in your career?

My outlook on Social Media changed drastically during the nine-week course. It taught me how to market effectively using the different digital channels, I’m equipped with the right tools. I started my Facebook Page to sell my own art and posting my photographs on Instagram. To me, it isn’t just knowing how these platforms work but how to use it optimally and effectively.

That’s what the course taught me, what I strive to achieve daily and what I will use as a Marketing Manager in future. To add value and enrich those around me through my experiences.

What does it mean to you to earn a UCT certificate?

The reason I never wanted to do a short course was because those certificates didn’t carry any weight. Receiving a certificate from the University of Cape Town carries the weight I was looking for. I’m proud to say it’s from UCT.

Will you be displaying your certificate?

That is not my personality, to be honest, I don’t even know where my Honours degree from university is. This qualification was about me and what I can learn and use productively in my life and in the future.

Our Student Success Team identified you as being an outstanding student. Why do you think you are a Notable Achiever and what advice can you give to others looking to do this course?

I think the reason was because I thoroughly enjoyed the course. I did this courses with a goal in mind and that kept me focused. The advice I would give anybody is to not postpone. If there’s something you’d like to know more about or learn, do it for you, nobody else, because you’ll walk away more energised, confident and a richer human being.

What made you choose to do a second course with GetSmarter?

Being in Sales and Marketing for the past nine years, I was confronted with growing the company’s sales, motivating the sales teams and hiring sales staff. The company I worked for felt I was good enough but I wanted to learn more about it for myself and knew it would give me more confidence.

I am travelling Europe this year and thought this is the best time to do it, I can learn more about sales, stay on the forefront of what’s going on in the industry and travel at the same time. Through GetSmarter I just need Wi-Fi. You just realise how convenient GetSmarter makes it for you to better yourself. I knew how GetSmarter executed the UCT Social Media online short course. Because GetSmarter lives out the values they teach excellently, I will never do an online course through anybody else.

Want to accelerate your career and stand out as a GetSmarter Notable Achiever?