The unique partnership ACU Online enjoys with our sister school, African Christian College (ACC), is a perfect example of our mission in action: “To educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world.” We believe that higher education is one vital way we can equip students with the tools and skills needed to make a real difference in the world. Toward that goal, ACU is providing full scholarships for several ACC staff members to earn their graduate degrees. Currently, five staff members at ACC are enrolled with ACU Online.
Our second student spotlight shines on Sydney Mhango, Director of Operations at ACC. He’s currently working on his MBA with an Operations and Supply Chain Management concentration. Sydney started his master’s program with ACU Online in August 2018.
A long and fruitful relationship
Sydney Mhango’s history with ACC dates back to 2001 when it was called Manzini Bible School (MBS). He first heard about ACC from a friend in Zambia. “I wanted to learn more about the Bible so that I could work well with youth,” Sydney shares. He had to travel about 1,243 miles (2,000 km) to get to ACC from Zambia. “It was very scary because it was my first time traveling outside my country. But God was with me all the way.”
After earning his diploma, Sydney returned to the campus in 2003 to work in maintenance. In 2014, he continued his education by earning his bachelor’s degree in theology from South African Theological Seminary.
A day in the life of Sydney Mhango
In his current role as ACC’s Director of Operations, one of Sydney Mhango’s responsibilities is overseeing the macadamia nut orchard. The “Tree of Life Project” was born in 1997 with the planting of macadamia trees on campus. This inspired effort was the key to providing the school with the financial support it sorely needed to stay open.
“Each day, I see to it that all operational activities in the macadamia orchard are being done. This includes irrigation and maintenance work. We have about 14,000 trees,” Sydney explains.
“I also oversee the maintenance operations on campus, which involves needed repairs in staff and student housing, campus grounds work, maintaining grass, etc.” Sydney also supervises the school’s sustainability program, which includes vegetable gardens and chickens. “We produce enough chickens and vegetables for use in our cafeteria and still have leftovers to sell.”
“Doing life together” at ACC
Sydney’s wife, Misozi, works as a librarian at the school. This is perfectly aligned with the commitment to keeping families together as explained by Brad Carter, President of ACC:
“We believe strongly that families need to be together. We’re not just studying. We’re not just getting a piece of paper, but we’re working to transform lives. If we’re going to help a student grow in that way, the family needs to be there growing along with them. So, we’re studying together. We’re working together. We’re worshiping together, and we’re just kind of doing life together.”
Sydney feels that being with family and doing things together is very important. “When I came as a student, I was still single, and so I did not get to come with Misozi. We got married in 2004, and we have two boys, 13 and 11 years old.”
The family is currently worshiping with a congregation in eSwatini, about 28 miles (45 km) from ACC. “God has been at work since the very beginning. How amazing that I ended up marrying a woman who later became the librarian of the college. We are working well together, and God has been good.”
Choosing ACU Online for his MBA degree
Sydney learned about ACU’s online graduate programs through his years of association with MBS and ACC. He shares: “I have always wanted to advance my education, and God blessed me with an opportunity here at ACC. Through Brad, a lot has been communicated about ACU. He, and many others who are working in the background, has helped a lot in making this happen.”
Sydney admits that his first preference would be to attend graduate school full-time. “But somehow Brad convinced me that it’s possible to work and get an education, so I decided to give it a try. Right now, I am taking one course at a time. This is better for me. Two courses create a difficult situation.” So far, Sydney has completed two main courses and three boot camp courses in his MBA program.
Putting his lessons into action
When asked if he’s been able to use any of what he’s learned so far through ACU Online in his work today, Sydney replies: “Yes, I have already started using some lessons that I have been learning. For example, knowing your leadership style and knowing that different people respond differently with the various styles was an eye-opener. To me, I knew my style, and I was convinced it’s OK for everyone. But now I know that when working with others, in some cases I should have used other leadership styles to help them function better.”
Sydney says, “Learning to be organized and prioritize is something I am currently working on.” In fact, one of the main goals he hopes to accomplish with his ACU Online MBA is to be “a better, more effective, and organized leader. Helping people is something that I think God wants me to do.”
When asked for his thoughts on the ACC-ACU partnership, Sydney offers, “I believe this is a wonderful partnership that will help African men and women advance to a better standard. It will help us become better leaders of ourselves. I think there is going to be an increase in students enrolling in advanced training in the next 10 years.”
Do you aspire to lead with purpose based upon the foundation of Christian vocation? If you’re ready to be a part of a rigorous, convenient, and flexible online program that allows you to take your leadership skills to a new level, learn more about ACU’s online Master of Business Administration.
You can learn more about the ways these two institutions have been intertwined through the years in the first blog post of this special series.