Meet Michael Taylor | Notable Achiever

BUSINESS & MANAGEMENT   |   3 minutes  |   June 23, 2017

notable achiever michael

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

Michael Taylor, business analyst at software development house Derivco, is currently studying the University of Cape Town Business Risk Management online short course and has been chosen as our Notable Achiever for maintaining a high standard throughout the course.

His Success Manager nominated Michael due to his high performance on the course, consistently pushing for grades of 90%. Despite going through some difficult personal trouble, he has maintained his high performance throughout the course.


Have you studied an online short course before?

No, this would be the first.

Why did you decide to take this course? What did you want to gain from this course?

The fact that Derivco have an entire department dedicated to skills development also worked to my advantage. Personal growth is as important to Derivco as it is to me. Besides Derivco’s encouragement to study further, there are a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I have always enjoyed the risk component of business. At FNB, while working on a business process project, I was exposed to the risk framework in action. Before then, it was at the height of rolling blackouts in South Africa, and as an IT guy at a large retail firm I realised that planning ahead for an event was critical. We were very naïve back then – we backed up our databases, and that was the extent to which we protected ourselves against risk.

With that in mind, I was fortunate to get a job at a company that was formalising its business continuity framework, and I see business continuity as one of the pillars of risk management. I was the business analyst who was given the project, and I became the disaster recovery and business continuity analyst, working under the business continuity manager. I was fortunate enough to have a manager that was happy to let me learn as I went along, but I felt it my responsibility to also do what I could to make sure that I improved myself and did the best I could.

That meant learning outside of business hours, and that meant taking this course.

What is it like learning online with GetSmarter?

I loved the idea of a Success Manager. Morghanne Procter was amazing! I loved how the course was laid out, and how the learning was incremental. It started from the basics, through to applying the framework in the same way as we would be expected to at work. This made it easy to apply what we leant in the project. As the project evolved, so did my understanding of risk.

What were your concerns before enrolling on this course, and how were these alleviated?

I had no real concerns. GetSmarter has a good reputation, and I am pretty adaptable. How GetSmarter would deliver the course was out of my control, so I would just make do with what I got, and make the best of it.

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

UCT is an institution! It means a lot.

Will you be hanging it up? If so, where?

In my office, where everyone can see it.

What is one of your favourite articles on the GetSmarter Career Advice blog?

There was an article on building emotional resilience – this changed the way I viewed my emotions and how I reacted to different situations at work. The nice thing was that it gave steps that you could follow, but even better, it made me aware of my emotions, and even though I thought I was pretty relaxed, it did not mean I was in control of my emotions. My manager has even noticed the change, and it has been very positive. Being self-aware is very important, being aware of your emotions is very important, and how we react to situations is important.

Being in control of your emotions does not translate to having resilience, but it is a start. At the moment life is throwing a lot at me, so this article was well timed and appreciated. I started applying some of the steps, and the difference has been amazing, and, I mean, what is the worst that can happen…

What is your favourite module in the course so far?

The first module, The Concept of Risk, and the module on ethics, Organisational Culture and Ethical Concerns. The first because it was, well the first. Like the start of a new life for me. A bit dramatic, perhaps, but the excitement was well worth it. Module 1 was also an eye opener and created some good topics of conversation. The module on ethics in risk, well because ethics is the foundation on which business should be built; and ethics maketh man!

If you could study another GetSmarter online short course in the future which one would you choose?

The UCT Project Management Foundations online short course, and something to do with law – I do believe that applying the project management framework to any project makes sense, including any type of risk project. And law because having a sound knowledge of law helps us with business ethics, boundaries, and knowing when to spot something that may have consequences by law. Which means knowing when to report, and knowing when not to.

What advice can you give to others looking to do this course?

Study from day one, and don’t stop until the very end. Keep active on the chats on the website. Also, try to avoid hospitals and drama, and take up surfing.


Interested in the UCT Business Risk Management online short course?