Prof Zak Nel completed his BA Hons, HED and MA (cum laude) at Stellenbosch University and started his career as a teacher and later as a school psychologist, in Durban. In 1975 he joined the Rand Afrikaans University (currently the University of Johannesburg) as a student counsellor.
The completion of his doctoral degree led to the award of a post-doctoral stipendium in Career Counselling research, which allowed him to work in close association with the University of Minnesota in the USA.
In Minnesota, Prof Nel became convinced of the impact of career choices of students. They were of the notion that the career students choose, changes them and their lives, more than they would influence their chosen career.
Prof Zak Nel became a full professor in Counselling Psychology, and during this time he published five books and 32 research articles on career counselling. In this field of study, he was instrumental in supervising more than 30 doctoral students from different universities in their PhD studies on all aspects of career counselling.
In recognition of his contribution to career counselling, Prof Nel was awarded a life-long honorary fellowship from the South African Institute of Counselling Psychology, after serving as Chairman for 5 years.
After his retirement from the Rand Afrikaans University, he has been directly involved in the promotion of private higher education in South Africa. This included heading up the Business School of Educor for 5 years, which offered the Oxford-Brookes MBA in Africa. Prof Nel currently serves on a number of academic boards, boards of directors and student scholarship organisations.
In addition to his passion for career counselling, Prof Nel also has a special interest in brain information processing systems and learning strategies. He has developed specialised skills in assisting non-traditional learners and is a founding member of My Tutoring and Teaching Centre, which caters for non-traditional learners.