Harvard meets ballet

13 January 2014 - 02:01
By YOLISA MKELE
EN POINTE ON PLATFORM: Joburg Ballet dancer Linde Wessels performs at the Gautrain Sandton station as part of a publicity campaign aimed at enticing commuters to go and see its staging of 'The Nutcracker' at the State Theatre in Pretoria Picture:
Image: MOELETSI MABE EN POINTE ON PLATFORM: Joburg Ballet dancer Linde Wessels performs at the Gautrain Sandton station as part of a publicity campaign aimed at enticing commuters to go and see its staging of 'The Nutcracker' at the State Theatre in Pretoria Picture:

Students from Harvard Business School, who spent 10 days in Johannesburg studying the Joburg Ballet, will present their ideas to its leaders today.

The presentation forms part of the MBA students' Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development programme, during which they develop strategies for real-world organisations as part of their studies.

The visit's main focus was to develop ways to maximise marketing strategies and broaden revenue possibilities by developing new consumer-focused products.

"We feel really flattered to have them [the students] here," said Lindsay McDonald, Joburg Ballet marketing manager.

Harvard Business School's Professor Teresa Amabile said: "My six MBA students on the Joburg Ballet team have had an unforgettable educational experience.

"By working with the ballet's leaders, they have learned about the aspirations driving this unique cultural institution - as well as the challenges it faces."

This is the second consecutive year the school has collaborated with the Joburg Ballet.

"The students had a wonderful experience working with the ballet last year. They were impressed with the organisation and felt their project was contributing to its [the ballet's] success," said Amabile.

McDonald said last year's visit provided fresh and innovative strategies for the Joburg Ballet, resulting in positive outcomes and an increase in the company's global business knowledge, skills and sustainability.

"Their impact from last year was great. We employed some of their tactics, like interval performances, to great success," said McDonald.

Amabile believed her students would be able to build on the successes from last year.

"By working with the Ballet's customers and potential customers, they [the students] have not only discovered ideas that may help strengthen this organisation, but have also learnt much about this incredible city and its remarkable people."

Joburg Ballet CEO Dirk Badenhorst said the university's assistance would be invaluable in the quest to become one of the world's premier ballet companies.

"I believe the knowledge and insight we gain from such a prestigious university and its students heightens the potential to create a sustainable world-class African ballet company."

Apart from the Joburg Ballet, the Harvard Business School also works with LexisNexis, Barclays Africa, The House of Busby, Boston City Campus and Business College and Standard Bank of South Africa.