Ms Shana Axcell overcame hurdles to graduate with a masters degree during the College of Law and Management Studies Graduation ceremony.

“Rocky Road” Makes Success Sweeter for Masters Graduate

Immigrating to England, job hunting and a high-risk pregnancy were hurdles masters graduate Ms Shana Axcell had to contend with during her studies.

‘We moved to England in January last year so my husband could take up a job offer which posed its own challenges and halfway through my studies I fell pregnant with my precious son, Dale, and was listed as being a high-risk pregnancy because of heart arrhythmia,’ said Axcell.

‘However, with the support of my amazing husband, Mike, as well as my supervisor at UKZN, Professor Debbie Vigar, I was able to complete my studies in 18 months. The struggles have proved to be all worthwhile in the end!’

Axcell’s research titled: Exploring the Attitudes and Behaviour of Generation Z Students Towards Branded Mobile Applications, explored the consumer behaviour traits of Generation Z people (those born after 1994) towards brands of today.

‘I noticed how “addicted” Generation Z folk were to their smartphones and wanted to gather more insight into their behaviour around mobile apps. Big brands are all introducing mobile apps to engage future consumers and my research aimed to gather an in-depth knowledge in this market in South Africa,’ explained Axcell.

She says the findings of the research showed that the South African student sample enjoyed mobile apps for their convenience but disliked them for their annoying adverts.

‘The top three most popular branded mobile apps in the sample were WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook. Family was the biggest social influence for the sample downloading mobile apps. Privacy was raised as an issue of branded mobile applications by many of the participants. This research provides guidelines to developers on how to better build an app most suitable for young South Africans,’ said Axcell.

The very proud new mom, who also enjoys singing opera, currently lectures marketing at the University Campus of Football Business at Wembley Stadium in England. She was glad to be back in Durban to celebrate her graduation.

‘Right now my focus is being the best mom to my son and the best wife to my husband. I will be back at UKZN to lecture in September and I am very excited at the thought of returning to be with my wonderful students. My aim is to start my PhD in the next two years and publish my research results in international journals,’ said Axcell.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo