Current Degree and University?
BCom (Hons) Financial Risk Management at Stellenbosch University
What did you study at undergraduate level?
BCom Mathematical Science (Financial Risk Management)
Why did you choose this degree?
That’s actually a bit of a long story. I had originally planned on doing an LLB but after job-shadowing a judge at a magistrate’s court, I realised that it wasn’t something I wanted to do. So, running out of time to finish my varsity applications, I went for a psychometric evaluation at UJ and they suggested Financial Risk Management. What’s interesting is that even before I did the psychometric evaluation, there was something about Financial Risk Management which just ‘clicked’ with me. So naturally, when I got confirmation from the psychologists at UJ, it felt as if there was only one way forward.
Did you change degree / discipline choices at any point during your undergraduate studies? If so, please elaborate.
At what point did you decide to pursue your Master’s or PHD?
I had always thought about doing my Honours but only really made a decision about it towards the middle of my third year. I had learnt a lot of information during my undergrad, but I didn’t know what I could do with that information. I felt as if I still had a lot to learn before I could start adding any real value to the corporate world.
What / who helped influence your decision?
I would say that it was a mixture of the advice of my lecturers, parents, friends and that I wanted to learn more. Also, weirdly, it felt as though my journey at Stellies wasn’t quite finished yet. I make this last point somewhat retrospectively, with my journey at the university now coming towards an end but it’s worth mentioning.
What benefits, in your opinion, have you gained from pursuing a Master’s or PHD qualification?
From my first year, I’ve always said that I don’t want to come to university and the only thing I walk out with is an education. It may seem a bit counter-intuitive, but knowing what I do now, I’d give the same advice. Yes, your studies are the main reason you are at university, and you shouldn’t neglect them but, there’s more to life than just that. It may be hard getting that balance right (and it’s definitely not a 50/50 split), but if you get it right, you’ll be setting yourself up for the rest of your life.
Also, make sure you start your thesis early; its definitely not a walk in the park.