Owner of two businesses finds time to earn MBA

Christabel Khumalo balances education with running businesses, travel, and raising a family

Christabel Khumalo knew when she finished her undergraduate degree that it wouldn’t be enough to get her to her dreams. She had already earned a Bachelor of Commerce in Financial Services and a Business Administration Diploma in Finance. As a lifelong learner, she understands the power of knowledge, but she never enjoyed the limitations of sitting in a classroom. That’s why when she decided to pursue an MBA, she chose the Sandermoen School of Business (SSB) at the University of Fredericton (UFred).

Christabel and her husband have two small children – Jasmine (4) and Amelia (2) – and own two businesses. On top of that, she is passionate about travel, having visited several countries. Because of this, she wanted an institution that allowed her some freedom within her already busy schedule.

“I chose UFred primarily because of the flexibility. But I was also drawn to the affordability of such high-quality education after researching and finding out more about the university, and experiencing some outstanding professors. It made sense to go with UFred.”

Christabel says the experience with her peers was humbling.

“I studied with working professionals in an array of industries. I studied with Canadians living abroad, intellects building corporations, and everyday people trying to attain what I was also pursuing. I had some great memories with peers and developed lasting relationships with them.”

She says that having professors who are also in the industry practicing what they teach made her experience even more relevant. She now considers some of her professors to be mentors.

I was able to tap into a wealth of knowledge outside of textbooks and theories. I gained practical insight through discussions and debates on real-life situations that affect corporations and individuals on a daily basis.

While one may think a virtual learning environment can be isolating, Christabel didn’t feel that way. In fact, she says making connections was a highlight of her experience.

“Whether it was with my instructors, peers, or staff. There was always a connection with someone just moments away. The program is structured in such a way that you are interacting with individuals to broaden your thinking and fulfill your experience.”

The most important thing Christabel learned throughout her MBA experience was self-reflection.

“This process allowed me to reflect on myself more times than I cared to enjoy, but it was through those honest reflections that I was clearly able to understand how my approach was improving. Today, when I am working on projects, I find myself reflecting often. It may not be in written format, but it has become a systematic process for me,” she said.

In addition to her broadened perspective through reflection, Christabel says the program helped her gain confidence in her ability to solve problems for her clients and in her business.

“My UFred education didn’t just give me more knowledge, it altered the way I think for the better. Through this experience, my approach to solving problems, process building, and implementation has matured.”

To current and future students, Christabel says the only person standing in the way of your success is you.

The only thing stopping you from improving is yourself. Make the choice to be better. Put in the work, and become that improvement.

Christabel and her husband run a courier business and she recently rebranded her bookkeeping practice into business consulting.

“With my help, I want to see companies be the best they can be.  My MBA has made me more equipped to solve issues and work together with clients to help them attain their visions.”

In addition to running her businesses and raising a family, Christabel volunteers as a mentor for the Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council (ERIEC) and is on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Strathcona County.

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