Pardon Ndhlovu is no mystery to Augusta University. In 2013, Pardon became the assistant coach for our Augusta University Cross Country team. During his time here, he was known for his race performances. However, in the Hull College of Business, he was known for something different, his academic performance.
Along with becoming an assistant coach starting the Master of Business Administration program, Pardon engaged in a research project with two Hull College of Business faculty, Dr. Simon Medcalfe and Dr. Mark Thompson. Using various functions of competitiveness, the project looked at how female competitiveness in the sport of cross country has changed over the years in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Using 34 years worth of data, they found some evidence that competitive balance in women’s Division I Championship races improved with increased participation.
Pardon completed his research and graduated from Hull College with his MBA in 2015 all while preparing to represent Zimbabwe at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In March 2019, this research and findings were published in the journal, Applied Economics Letters.
With his busy scheduled training for the upcoming 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Pardon took time to answer a few questions from our Communications Specialist at the Hull College, Payton Prather, about his experience with the Hull College MBA Program as well as working on this research project.
Payton: How did your experience at Hull College help you after graduation?
Pardon: The coursework at Hull College of Business prepared me to be professional in my business and personal interactions post-graduation. It was all hard work and a lot of team projects which taught me to work with others, leverage my strengths, and lean on others’ strengths where I knew I needed help. Working in team projects outside of class with local businesses in Augusta and solving real-world problems was a great experience to enhance learning and help better understand and grasp business concepts.
Besides the coursework, I had great professors that were passionate about teaching and helping students succeed. I was challenged intellectually and personally. I feel like they brought the best out of me. I still have good relationships with the professors that had an impact on my life when I was a student at Augusta University.
Payton: What interactions did you have with the local business community as a student in the Hull College?
Pardon: I had three major interactions with local businesses during my coursework at Augusta University. I was part of a team that worked with Augusta University Hospital’s West Wheeler Clinic. We were tasked with offering Quality Performance Solutions to the queuing problems at the clinic. We investigated the front desk operations, in order to find the core source of issues, and made recommendations to correct any issues that were uncovered. Our objective was to grasp, and analyze the current queuing situation, and define the real cause of the extended queuing issues.
We also devised a marketing strategy for Johnson, Laschober, and Associates, P.C. in Augusta for their engineering services and worked with a nonprofit organization called Hope House Inc. in Augusta for our Leadership and Strategic Management class. We helped identify everyday work-related areas that could be improved to enhance work efficiency and overall employee/management relationships and satisfaction.
Payton: If you had it to do all over again, what would you do differently?
Pardon: If I had to do it all over again, I would take advantage of the teacher/student conference time and ask for more help from all my professors. I would also get more involved in campus civic and community engagement activities. As an international student, I feel like that helps deal with homesickness and opens up opportunities to meet new people through community service. I would also be intentional about going to free home sports games on campus to give the mind a break from studying and work.
Payton: What advice do you have for students?
Pardon: Take advantage of the resources that are at your disposal on campus: the library, professors’ office hours and classmates. If you do not know anything, do not be scared to ask for help. The CAP Center has great advisors, please stop by if you have any questions with your schedules, someone is always available to help.
Payton: Briefly talk about your research experience and what this publication means to you?
Pardon: I was fortunate enough to work with Dr. Medcalfe on an Independent Study for my last semester at Augusta University. Dr. Medcalfe is a great professor who was always available to offer any help with the research analysis. He worked really hard after I graduated to make sure the paper got published. He was determined after several publication request denials that our paper was good enough to be published and never gave up until our paper was accepted. The publication does confirm that the work we did was worthwhile and relevant.
I think this offers encouragement and opens up opportunities for other students at the Hull College of Business or any other department at Augusta University to do extensive research on the topics they are interested in and maybe pursue publishing their work as well. I believe if we were able to do it, anyone else can do it. In all my years in college, I never thought my name would appear in a publication as an author among talented professors like Dr. Medcalfe and Dr. Thompson. I owe my gratitude to Dr. Medcalfe and Dr. Thompson for their relentless work in this project.
Payton: What quote represents your experience at the Hull College?
Pardon: ‘Your current struggles or obstacles do not determine your future outcome. Keep on keeping on.’