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Student Spotlight: Catching up with Sydney Mhango

Sydney Mhango and Family

Abilene Christian University (ACU) enjoys a special relationship with African Christian College (ACC), our sister school in Swaziland. Along with having Church of Christ roots in common, we share a vision of inspiring future Christian leaders to make a real difference in the world.

As ACC continues to grow and serve Southern Africans, the realization of the school’s vision depends upon cultivating a fully-qualified staff in the academic environment. To support that goal, ACU welcomed several ACC employees into our virtual, Christ-centered community of learners, granting them full scholarships to ACU Online graduate programs.

Sydney Mhango, Director of Operations at ACC, is one of those dynamic students. When we last spoke with Sydney in the spring of 2019, he was busy earning his MBA with an Operations and Supply Chain Management concentration. Sydney started his ACU Online master’s program in August 2018, and we’re excited to announce that he graduated in August 2020.

Sydney shares, “The last week was an exciting time, and part of me was not believing I was finishing soon. When I was done, I was still not sure if I had really finished. Sometimes I still feel like I am dreaming that I finished my master’s degree.”

Organization and prioritization are essential skills for success

Sydney admits that balancing his numerous ACC Director of Operations responsibilities with his master’s program, family commitments, and church service was a challenge. He appreciated the program’s user-friendly interface and also found value in the time-management suggestions ACU Online offered to help him better divide his time between work and studies.

When asked how his graduate education has affected his job performance, Sydney replies, “I am more confident in my approach to leadership than before, and my mind is full of ideas of how I can improve my team to do better.” Of particular benefit to Sydney in his current Operations role were the Project Management, Innovation, and Foundation of Analytics courses.

What’s the next step for Sydney Mhango?

We reminded Sydney that when we spoke in 2019, one of the primary goals he held for his ACU Online MBA was to be “a better, more effective, and organized leader. Helping people is something that I think God wants me to do.” Given that he’s well on the way to accomplishing that, where does he see himself growing and going next?

“I would like to do teaching methodology. I think I want to learn how to teach and use proven techniques to do that.” But before he ventures into a teaching career, Sydney wants to put systems into place for his current responsibilities to ensure everything is operating smoothly. 

He continues, “I think 2021 will show how well I can organize my team in doing better in the work that we have here at ACC.”

African Christian College’s ambitious enrollment goals are on track

Despite the global pandemic, Sydney says enrollment at ACC was good in 2020. “The college’s vision is to grow the school to 300 students by 2029. In August 2022, they should have the first intake for a four-year degree and be offering more than a theological degree. I strongly believe we will have more students enrolling. One of the constraints for ACC was the fact that it only had a Theology degree, but with plans of adding more faculty members—possibly five—it will certainly increase the enrollments.”

The Mhango family continues to thrive in uncertain times

Sydney’s wife, Misozi, is employed as a librarian at ACC. Sydney is encouraging her interest in pursuing ACU Online classes due to his positive experiences. The couple’s boys, Benjamin, 15, and Mluleki, 13, have been recently called back to school after the country’s lockdown eased. 

The family is an active participant in a congregation in the Timbutini area outside Manzini town. Sydney shares, “Previously, our children had preferred to attend at another congregation that is near ACC, but since it has not opened since lockdown in March, they have been going with us and sharing in the responsibilities. They take temperatures and keep records of all who attend each Sunday. On some days, I have asked Benjamin to song lead, and I intend to ask him to do a lesson on one of the Sundays.”

A devoted servant

Sydney contemplated the importance of ACC and ACU Online both being Christian-based learning organizations. “Serving in God’s kingdom has been enriching for me and my family. There is no better life than doing God’s work. I love helping people get better in their relationship with God and working at ACC has helped a lot for me to do that. I believe God wants me to serve Him in the things I am currently doing at ACC and the church I am working with at Timbutini.”

Sydney reflects, “Serving God is what made me apply to go to Swaziland in 2001 to attend Manzini Bible School (ACC’s previous name). God has been faithful in making me meet wonderful people who have impacted me positively to make it possible for me to do what I am able to do in serving God in His kingdom.”

To meet another African Christian College staff member pursuing a graduate degree through ACU Online, check out our interview with Tsitsi Edith Nherera. And if you share Sydney’s passion for taking your leadership skills to a new level, learn more about ACU’s online Master of Business Administration.

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