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A Day in the Life: Talent Business Partner Thandy Mkhambi

Written by Molly Forman on Sep 16, 2020

Related content: Diversity And Inclusion, 2U Cape Town

This story is a part of our ‘A Day in the Life’ series that highlights the career journeys of 2U employees across the world. Throughout September we’re celebrating Heritage Month in South Africa and featuring 2Utes located in Cape Town.

Since leaving university, Thandy Mkhambi has sought to reinvent herself.

From a radio personality on regional radio stations like East Coast Radio, LinkFM, and CCFM to a voiceover artist, an MC, and a human resource business partner for global, fast-moving consumer goods companies and an online retailer, Thandy has spent her life dabbling in careers that engage people.

While Thandy has always worn many hats, including serving on the school governing body at her children’s primary school and as a board member of nonprofit organization Warrior Woman, there’s no hat she enjoys more than wife and mom. And by working at 2U, she’s found the work-life balance to wear the hats that suit her best.

Read on to learn about Thandy’s career and the influence her heritage has had on her life.

Why did you join 2U? What is it about the company that sparked your interest?

My relationship with GetSmarter, a brand of 2U, Inc., was triggered by a need to stack my skill set. I had been out of the corporate world for four years and was feeling a bit rusty, so I went online looking for an online short course to take. I searched for short courses on Google and when GetSmarter courses popped up, it was love at first sight. It was the unapologetic pink that drew me in (I love the colour pink!), the slick professionalism of their course prospectus, and their almost tangible culture. I think I spent close to three hours on their website that first time. I could not tear myself away from the wealth I had found. Two days later, I went on to GetSmarter’s careers page and they were in the market for a talent business partner to join their amazing team of talented humans.

How would you describe your role as a talent business partner?

My role is to partner with business leaders to enhance/foster/grow each individual on their team toward their full potential and, in so doing, create sustainable organic growth. It is to be a thinking partner for current and future state resolutions. It is the ability to thrive in the ambiguous/unknown whilst remaining firmly planted in the legislation that governs the talent management policies in South Africa.

What do you find most rewarding and challenging about your job?

The most challenging part is creating and maintaining spreadsheets! The most rewarding part is feeling part of a bigger whole that impacts hundreds of thousands of people across the world and knowing that I had something to do with their dream coming true.

What’s your favorite part about working at 2U?

The friendships I have made. I honestly feel like I have walked into a hub of incredible people and each one in their own way has been woven into the tapestry of my heart.

What does Heritage Month mean to you?

Heritage Month is a time for us to share in the many cultures, traditions, foods, and customs that we are so richly blessed with in South Africa. It is an opportunity for us to be openly curious about each other’s heritage and have deep conversations that aren’t laced in stereotypes.

How has your cultural heritage influenced your career?

I honour my leaders and respect authority.

During Heritage Month, you’re encouraged to celebrate your culture and the diversity of your beliefs and traditions. How will you be celebrating this year?

Last year I made traditional tripe (ulusu) and my boys could not get over the fact that you can blow into the trachea and see the lungs expand (sheep). Needless to say, once the meal was served, they did not partake! This year will be Smiley (traditional sheep head) complete with dumplings.

What’s your favorite South African saying/phrase/word?

Hayibo! This is an exclamation that is synonymous with “Oh my word!” or “No ways!” or “Get outta here!” or “You gotta be kidding me!” depending on the tone, inflection, and subject at the time.

Tell us about a favorite place in South Africa where you feel most rooted to your heritage.

East London because that is where I grew up, on a small holding with all of nature around me and lots of livestock.

Out of everything you’ve done 2U so far, what are you proudest of?

Hosting our company meeting last year was definitely a highlight for me!

What advice would you give to someone just starting at 2U?

You were not hired because you are the last person on earth. There is something that you bring that is unique that we, 2U, need to take this journey forward. Shine your best light, give your best ideas, don’t shrink back because your idea could be the catalyst that catapults us into the next level. #Don’tLetTheSkepticWin #NoBackRow

Are you interested in a job like Thandy’s? Check out our Corporate Services team page for information on open positions. We’re hiring.

Learn more about us.

At 2U, we’re on a mission—to eliminate the back row in higher education and help universities thrive in the digital age. To learn more about who we are and what we do, follow the links below.