Guests could also attend parallel lecture sessions on a variety of topics - Alternative Provincial Boundaries for South Africa – a Logistical Approach (Professor Hannelie Nel), Renewable Energy Opportunities: Transitions to a Sustainable Africa (Professor Alan Brent), Leadership Essentials for the Sustainability Challenge (Dr Arnold Smit), How to Avoid the Phisherman’s Hook (Professor Rika Butler), Generation Y at Work and Play (Mr Len Steenkamp), Customer Retention and Long Term Profitability (Professor Nic Terblanche) and Realizing South Africa's Economic Potential in the 21st Century (Professor Rachel Jafta). There was also a panel discussion: Current Issues and Future Challenges in Industrial Psychology by Professors Amos Engelbrecht, Ronel du Preez and Callie Theron, chaired by Professor Johan Malan.
From the lectures it was clear that the natural environment and principles of sustainability should be at the centre of ethical decision making in the business world. Dr. Arnold Smit of the USB said that corporate responsibility is the responsibility of the company for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment through transparent and ethical behaviour that contributes to sustainable development. We have to learn to live sustainably in a world where the laws of nature should dominate. In the current set-up the community and nature is subjected to the pressures of economic growth and advancement to the detriment of the natural environment. The situation is unsustainable. A new paradigm where the economy, community and environment is in balance, is needed. This can only happen if a new economic model is found that fits within the possibilities allowed by a limited environment.
In two different lectures, reference was made to Generation Y - also known at the millenniums - and the demands they bring to the work environment. Mr Len Steenkamp of the Department of Accounting said that this generation (born between 1978 and 1996) are addicted to positive feedback. Employers should therefore do regular performance assessments. This generation is strongly influenced by their parents who are known as helicopter parents. They are in the background giving guidance and advise to the young ones. In America it is common for parents to phone their children's employers to inquire about negative evaluation reports or a lack of promotion.
Professor Ronel du Preez, associate professor in the Department of Industrial Psychology said Generation Y expects to be remunerated according to their performance. They are not willing to begin at the bottom and to wait years before meeting the MD of the company. They expect to immediately meet decision makers and those who can help them chart their career path. Corruption and scams were also popular topics of discussion. Professor Amos Engelbrecht, of the Department Industrial Psychology said that South Africa is amongst the most corrupt countries in the world. He said that business leaders should establish a culture of ethical conduct in their companies and identify people who can offer ethical and moral leadership.
Professor Rika Butler, from the Department of Accountancy spoke about phishing and the methods “phishermen” use to lure victims onto their phishing hooks. Phishing scams are most common in the payment sectors (37%) followed by the financial sector (35,9%), “other sectors (17,9%), auctions (8,3%) and retail (0.9%). Butler showed a number of examples of what consumers have to be wary of in order to protect themselves against phishing scams.
Professor Johan de Villiers, Dean of the Faculty expressed his pleasure at the success of the Alumni Day. The feedback from all who attended was very positive. It is important to incorporate not only students and alumni, but also parents in the Faculty family. It was heartening to see how alumni used this opportunity to look up old friends and to share their memories.”