BMI celebrates 21 years of collaboration with Absa

Marelize Santana -- Thu, 04/25/2019 - 11:12

BMI celebrates 21 years of collaboration with Absa

The Centre for Business Mathematics and Informatics® (BMI) at the North-West University (NWU) and Absa recently celebrated their successful collaboration of more than 21 years.

This memorable event took place at the Equinox Leadership and Innovation Centre in Sandton.

The function was attended by high-level delegates from both the NWU and industry. “The Centre for BMI is one of the university’s flagship programmes, and we are very proud of everything they have accomplished,” said Prof Dan Kgwadi, NWU vice-chancellor.

Absa has been providing financial assistance to the Centre for BMI since it was established in 1998 inception, and continues to give crucial input into the academic curricula. This ensures that the centre delivers professionals that meet the needs of the financial industry.

According to Prof Riaan de Jongh, director of the centre for the past 15 years, the current contract between BMI and Absa guarantees funding until 2021.

Prof De Jongh thanked Absa for their support and ongoing commitment to the centre. He also presented impressive statistics on the centre’s growth and achievements over the past 21 years.

He said the centre currently has more than 500 undergraduate and postgraduate students across its four programmes. These programmes are Actuarial Science, Quantitative Risk Management, Business Analytics and Financial Mathematics. The income that the centre generates for the university has increased steadily since its inception, and in 2018 this amounted to more than R50 million.

The centre is also driving transformation, with 42% of its students being African, Coloured or Indian, and approximately 42% being female students. The centre’s full-time MSc programme is unique, as it is industry focused and students spend six months of their final year solving real-world business problems.

“The increasing demand from companies for these project-focused students is truly a feather in the centre’s cap,” said Prof De Jongh. He also used the opportunity to thank a number of individuals for their dedication and outstanding contribution to the centre’s success over the years.

The centre also has a long-standing relationship with SAS®, a global leader in data science and analytics provision. SAS® has continued to support the centre as an academic partner since 2001, and a contract for funding between the two parties is in place until 2021.

These individuals received special recognition for their contribution to the Centre for BMI’s success. In front are Riaan de Jongh, Ina de Vry (Absa), Mona Bakker (retired, BMI) and Hennie Venter (retired professor, BMI). At the back are Dawie de Jongh (retired professor, BMI), Carools Reinecke (former rector of the Potchefstroom Campus), Machiel Kruger (Santam, previously BMI), Neels Erasmus (retired professor, BMI and Absa), Willie Lategan (Hollard, previously Absa) and Murray de Villiers (SAS® Global Academic Programme).