Faculty of Engineering celebrates graduation of inaugural MEM cohort

Engineering Faculty celebrates graduation of inaugural MEM cohort

The Faculty of Engineering at Stellenbosch University (SU) is set to commemorate the first graduation ceremony for the inaugural cohort of the Master’s in Engineering Management (MEM) degree on Thursday, 28 March 2024.

The MEM programme, offered by the esteemed Department of Industrial Engineering, represents a groundbreaking endeavour in engineering education. It is a part-time, hybrid online degree meticulously crafted to equip engineers from various disciplines with the skills and insights needed to thrive in their current roles and shape the future of their industries.

Launched in 2022, this three year degree attracted over 80 students in its first year. The admission criteria are stringent, requiring candidates to possess a suitable science degree, relevant work experience and be employed full-time in a related field.

Remarkably twelve of the first cohort has successfully completed the rigorous curriculum, including nine modules and a comprehensive research assignment, in just two years – a testament to their dedication and commitment while balancing full-time employment.

Yde Andringa, who is graduating cum laude, says the journey demanded hard work, dedication, and sacrifices, but the highlights and transformative moments made it all worthwhile. “The well-structured and thoughtfully designed modules provided an enjoyable learning experience. The lecturers and professors played a pivotal role in my growth, imparting valuable knowledge in Engineering Management and self-discovery as a professional and an individual.”

Bianca Domingues, who hails from Namibia, says her decision to pursue this degree was to acquire a more comprehensive skill set. “I recognised the growing complexity of engineering projects and the need for effective management. I was also inspired by the potential for innovation and positive impact that effective engineering management can have on projects, organisations, and even entire industries,” she says.

Graduate (cum laude) Modesty Lewis says the online, hybrid delivery mode fits well into a busy schedule. “Being a mother and manager while studying is not easy. The support I got throughout the degree played a huge role in my success. The Faculty was very supportive. I made many new friends, which is important because you need people to talk to understand what you are going through.”

Megan Higgo (cum laude) advises prospective students considering the programme to embrace this challenge fully. “Prepare for a demanding but rewarding journey that will equip you with the skills to lead and innovate. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn from your peers and lecturers, whose experiences and insights can enrich your understanding and approach to engineering management.”

The breadth and depth of research undertaken by these pioneering graduates reflect the multifaceted nature of the MEM degree. From exploring innovative strategies for implementing engineering management practices in various industries to investigating the potential of emerging technologies like drones and 4IR in revolutionising traditional sectors, the research topics exemplify the programme’s focus on cutting-edge knowledge and real-world applicability.

The following research studies were undertaken in 2023:

  • A framework for the implementation of Engineering Management practices in a pharmaceutical engineering, procurement, construction and management firm
  • Investigating the adoption of drone technology in the Namibian Construction Industry 
  • A framework for the management of digital innovations in developing economies 
  • Towards a knowledge transfer framework for megaprojects  
  • The development of a Technology Management Strategy Framework to overcome past technology implementation failures: a focus on the construction industry
  • Implementation of digital technology within the South African construction industry  
  • The potential application of 4IR technologies to mitigate risk in mine residue management 
  • Understanding strategies for managing the future of work in a digitised mining industry: Upskilling and reskilling of workers.
  • Using Kanban systems to minimise production delays in a plant producing access automating products 
  • An engineering management view on the future agricultural sciences student and lecturer: Entrepreneurship and emerging agricultural technologies (agritech) integration
  • Improving maintenance readiness in mining capital projects  
  • Investigating methods to optimise store operation for a manufacturing plant at Company XYZ

As the MEM team prepares to honour the achievements of its inaugural graduates, they do so with immense pride. Among the cohort, numerous distinctions and cum laude achievements have been earned, underscoring the calibre of talent nurtured by the programme. The MEM team eagerly anticipates the transformative impact that these twelve soon-to-be alumni will undoubtedly have on the engineering landscape, shaping the future with their expertise, innovation, and leadership.


For more information on the MEM programme, please visit the website at https://mem.sun.ac.za/ or send an email to mastersengm@sun.ac.za.