Derek Jansen (MBA)

Meet Derek – the founder of Grad Coach.

Passionate about democratising access to research skills (and the academic world more broadly), Derek focuses on growing Grad Coach’s reach and impact across the globe.

More practically, Derek is also involved in the Grad Coach “content machine”, regularly contributing to the popular YouTube channel and comprehensive blog.

Derek Jansen

Background & experience

Derek’s path to postgraduate studies was far from typical. Sans access to the capital needed to head to university straight after school, Derek dove directly into the world of work, starting an event production company. Over the years, he enrolled in multiple business-related courses to gain specific skills or knowledge as the need arose.

After many years of ‘winging it’, having built and sold a business or two, Derek decided to complement what he had learnt ‘in the field’ with the coveted MBA.  Seeking an international perspective, he enrolled in the Henley MBA (University of Reading, UK). He completed the programme ahead of schedule, earning full distinction, along with multiple prizes for ‘outstanding academic achievement’.

While undertaking the MBA, Derek had the opportunity to help numerous students – some failing, some borderline, some doing well. This experience uncovered an underlying passion for teaching and student development, which is how Grad Coach was born.

Professionally, Derek has built and managed numerous businesses across a range of industries, from entertainment to marketing and financial services. He has also served as a guest lecturer at the Vega School of Branding and the University of Johannesburg.


Henley Business School, University of Reading, UK: Master of Business Administration (MBA) – Distinction, Henley UK Prizewinner, Henley SA Prizewinner

Digital Marketing Institute (Ireland): Diploma in Digital Marketing – Distinction

Other: Financial Services Board: RE5 & RE1 / University of Stellenbosch: Digital Marketing Course / Vega School of Brand Leadership: Digital Strategy in Building Brands / Duke University: Probability & Data Course / University of Stellenbosch: MBA Foundation Programme / Udemy – Inferential Statistics in SPSS, Data Analysis in SPSS & Data Analysis / Google: Adwords Certification Program / Henley Business School: Finance for Non-Financial Managers