TATA Africa CEO taps into millennial magic

Scholarship recipients from the UFS with CEO of TATA Africa Holdings, Len Brand, are from the left, Christeley Bouwer, Dominique de Kock, Tanisha Botha, Sumaya Surtie and Angelo Arendse.

Top talent flocks to well-known brands, and if you want to remain relevant in an increasingly competitive world, you need to be top of mind. This is according to CEO of TATA Africa Holdings, Len Brand.

With his sight set on appealing to a new and younger audience, Brand hosted five postgraduate students from the University of the Free State (UFS) during a two-week internship programme at the TATA offices in Sandton.

The TATA postgraduate scholarship programme started in 2013 with the UFS. Over the years the students were requested to conduct research and present possible solutions. Five interns were selected from a group of twelve final-year marketing students from the Department of Business Management at the UFS. They were awarded TATA postgraduate scholarships after presenting marketing ideas for TATA trucks and buses to a panel of judges as part of TATA’s Postgraduate Scholarship Programme in September 2018.

The students are: Damelin Bloemfontein alumnus, Sumaya Surtie (28); St Michael’s School for Girls alumnus, Christeley Bouwer (24); Hoërskool Lichtenburg alumnus, Tanisha Botha (21); Grey College alumnus, Angelo Arendse (21) and Empangeni High School alumnus, Dominique de Kock (21).

“In line with the content of their presentations each student was paired with a mentor and was given access to all aspects of the business. In turn they provided us with some incredible and fresh insights on the future they saw for our brand, sparking new trains of thought for our rebranding process,” said Brand.

With the current unemployment rate among the youth of South Africa in mind, the two-week internship programme also aims to put TATA scholarship recipients ahead by providing them with work integrated learning.

“I think the most important thing we learnt from these students is that modesty doesn’t do a company any favours in terms of brand awareness. They made us see that being more vocal about your company’s contribution to society, the wonderful things you’re doing to improve on human excellence, and sowing seeds for future generations are not boasting.

They also made us realise that the public genuinely wants, and needs, to know how the companies behind the products and services they buy improve communities and impact ordinary people’s lives,” concluded Brand. – Seithati Semenokane