IIE Bachelor of Commerce
If you had to give one word to describe yourself, what would that word be?
The IIE’s Varsity College Cape Town
GRADUATED CLASS OF 2014
Company: JTC Group
Description of your duties on a daily basis
My job is different every day and as such I do not have daily duties. However, the main purpose of my role is to collate, calculate, process, investigate and check information in order to produce the accounts/ valuations of the specific Funds allocated to me within defined deadlines and regulatory requirements.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I love that I do something different every day and that I am constantly learning. My knowledge of finance, accounting and investments keeps improving day by day and I have learnt so much about private equity. I also love my company and the people that I work with – there is so much support and team work which in the end contributes to every one of our successes.
Is your qualification relevant to your job? If so, did your studies adequately prepare you for your job?
Yes, it is relevant. My qualification gave me exposure to a few elements of investments, which is what sparked my interest in the investment world. In my finance modules, investments were covered, giving an overall understanding of the investment world. Principles that I learned from this exposure has definitely carried through to some elements of my job, and I believe I would not have been hired for any of my positions after college if I had not gained enough knowledge from my degree to get through my interviews. I think the most valuable part of my qualification that is relevant to my career was the third year portfolio of evidence business project we had to submit. Here we had to evaluate a company and the finance that needed to be applied here related a lot to investments. I actually took my project with to my interview of my first job and it was discussed in detail. They were very impressed.
Tell us about your career path to date?
My first job out of college was as a Traditional Funds Fund Accountant at a company called Aylett Fund Managers. I worked there for nearly two years and gained so much knowledge about the industry from a very experienced investment team and a qualified front and back office team. I am very grateful for the exposure the job gave me, however I became bored of doing the same tasks every day (as this is what is required with traditional funds). I then took a leap of faith and applied for a few more jobs that were different from my previous job. I was lucky enough to stumble across an amazing opportunity at a great company as a Private Equity Fund Accountant (where I was successful in securing the job). This job offered me the opportunity to do something new every day (thereby learning every day) and I have never been happier. They also encourage studying and as such I am now studying a short online course on valuation and investing. I am gaining so much exposure to the industry through my job and believe it is definitely contributing to the potential of me becoming an analyst one day.
What are your future career plans?
I would like to study my CFA sometime in the future, which will help me achieve my long-term dream of becoming an investment Analyst/Fund Manager. My short-term plan is to become a master at my current role and be promoted in the near future to either a Senior Fund Accountant, Supervisor or Manager.
Do you have any key mentors or people who have played an important role in your life or in your career success to date?
My mentor would be my dad. He has always been such a successful entrepreneur and has taught me that hard work and perseverance are not a waste of time. He has pushed me through times where I wanted to give up and has never stopped encouraging my love for education. Growing up and seeing my dad push through anything that tried to come in his way, whether it was about business or family, has inspired me to be the person I am today.
How do you maintain a health work/life balance?
I have learnt to maintain a balance over time. When I started working I killed myself at work because I wanted to be perfect and did not have much of a life outside of work. Over time I realised how unhealthy that approach was and that it just burnt me out. Since then I have ensured that I work as best I can when I am at work (and ensure to always meet deadlines) so that when I get home I can switch off and concentrate on the rest of my life. I have realised the importance of having a life outside of work, as it increases the love for your job and the quality of life. When I get home, I switch off from work and focus on family, friends and hobbies. I also never take weekends for granted!
Tell us about your time at The IIE’s Varsity College?
I absolutely loved my time there. When I was at school I was not very dedicated and hated studying – but when studying further I got to study subjects that I loved and was passionate about. The small classes were also very beneficial as students got individual attention and tons of time to ask questions. I built good relationships with both the students and the lecturers.
What advice would you give to students who are looking for or about to embark on their first job?
Work as hard as you possibly can. Don’t be a 9 to 5er – show that you have what it takes to go above and beyond. If you need to stay later to get the job done, do not hesitate! I believe that the early stages of your career are vitally important as it builds your reputation and sets you up for future jobs. Meet deadlines, be enthusiastic and change conventional ways of thinking. Improving the way a company does things will be sure to build your reputation and get you promoted (do this even if it means extra hours). Be ambitious and apply what you have learned at The IIE’s Varsity College!