08 December 2023 | Story Leonie Bolleurs | Photo Janeke Eloff
Johan and Schalk Eloff
The brothers Johan and Schalk Eloff completed the Bachelor of Management Leadership (BML) together.

The Eloff brothers, Johan and Schalk, completed the Bachelor of Management Leadership (BML) together and received their degrees at the December graduations of the University of the Free State (UFS).

Johan says very few people get the opportunity to complete the same degree with a sibling. “Not only was this a huge honour for me, but our relationship also grew stronger, as group assignments and discussions were a big part of the BML curriculum.

According to Schalk, tackling the work together helped them both. “Studying the same modules together enabled us to support each other and share ideas as we progressed,” he said, adding that undertaking the BML together with his brother motivated him to complete his studies.

Benefiting their business

The two brothers, both entrepreneurs and co-owners of Airtelecom – an internet service provider with offices in Bloemfontein and the Garden Route – said that nothing prepared them for the amount of time and effort the studies would require.

Johan mentioned that because they never had the opportunity to study after completing matric, they discussed the potential advantages that the degree could bring to their business. “Not only did we benefit from it for our own business, but it also provided a qualification that could be beneficial should we need to venture into other opportunities or return to the employment sector,” he stated. 

Schalk pointed out that he, too, believed that he could benefit from registering for the BML. “Although I was introduced to business and business principles from a young age and learned about all aspects of business from previous managers and mentors, I felt that studying for a degree and applying the theory along with my knowledge and experience would go a long way in improving the way I manage my business,” he remarked. 

Johan, who learned about growing profits and expanding the client base, motivating employees, and placing them in the correct positions to empower them to be the best at what they want and need to do, said they would like to apply as much as they can of what they have learned in their business. Schalk added that he also would like to investigate other business opportunities to expand and diversify the company.

Experiencing a key milestone together

“With all the challenges we experienced during our studies, including managing the curveballs thrown at us by the COVID-19 epidemic when we had to postpone our studies for more than a year to tend to our business, it is a surreal feeling that we accomplished this and that we are experiencing this milestone in our lives together,” said Schalk.

Johan believes that the support of their family played a key role in their success. “To show our appreciation for their patience through the hours, days, and nights of classes and assignments we had to sacrifice to finally walk across the stage, we plan on attending a Formula 1 race overseas, which will be a dream come true. With this family vacation, we intend to celebrate and reward ourselves and our loved ones,” he said. 

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