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Graduates at work

Presentation skills: Make your first impression count
Students don't know what the work place is like, using bad layout and presentation in your CV jeopardizes the job you apply for. The cover letter is so important as well, many employees throw away your CV if you do not present yourself well on paper.
Refilwe Ralefeta: all revved up
On the advice from her lecturer to apply to Toyota because it has the “best graduate programme in the country”, Refilwe Ralefeta did just that. And for the past 18 months, she has been a graduate trainee in sales and marketing at the motoring giant.
Living the Anglo American dream
Alasdair Martin has a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Cape Town, and was a bursar at Anglo American from when he was at school. He’s currently on the Anglo American BLAST (Building Leaders And Shaping Talent) programme.
Great beginnings
For Choene Maitisa, a keen interest in understanding how computer games work led to a career in the IT industry as a software developer at Telesure. Maitisa was interested in computers from his high school years, and had ambitions of creating his own computer games.
An enquiring mind
With an inquisitive young mind, it was almost written in the stars that Innocentia Mahlangu, junior engineer at consultancy firm Hatch, would go on to discover the wonders of the engineering world. “I have always been inquisitive about manmade structures and their ability to stand and withstand forces,” she says.
Consulting offers a world of opportunity
At Ernst and Young (E&Y) there is a strong focus on helping clients decide on African investments and how to enter these new markets. Samantha Varney, who has been working at the organisation for a little over a year, says the African angle is one that really appeals to her, particularly from a political and economic standpoint.
Banking is an ongoing learning process
  Mandlenkosi Vana has been working as a business analyst at First National Bank (FNB) for the past six months, and has learned the most important part of finding a solution to a problem is first clearly identifying and understanding the issue.
Human rights: Hot topic!
For this graduate, human development is key. Megan McGarry is a Johannesburg-based human rights researcher. She did a Bachelor of Social Science at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), majoring in English and Political Science. “I then went straight on to do my Masters in Development Studies through the School of Development Studies (SoDs) at UKZN, with two years of course work to make up for the fact that I didn’t do my honours.
Retail is her happy space
Massmart created a role especially for this young communicator Ngobile Khubeka joined Massmart last year, after graduating in 2009 with a BCom in Management and Marketing from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. “I’ve been told I could sell ice to an Eskimo,” she says.
The economics of farming
Science and economics meet to make this grad's career come alive. Thandeka Msini is a resource economist, who works from Cape Town as a researcher for an independent resource consultancy based in London. She studies the impact of agriculture on the environment and economy, so if you want to know if fish farming in Mozambique will be a successful and sustainable industry in the year 2025, Thandeka is your lady.
Pushing ahead in pharmaceuticals
An outgoing personality is proving to be a great business asset for this young intern. Dumisa Maki, a BCom graduate from the University of Johannesburg, chose her degree because of the range of opportunities it opened her up to. She found the pharmaceutical sector attractive due to its dynamic nature and the fact that it’s a continually changing environment.
Bringing cheer to the classroom
Walking the talk is what it’s all about for this Capetonian. Abdulmugheeth Petersen studied at the University of the Western Cape, where he completed a BA majoring in Psychology and English. “In our country, everyone is always complaining about the state of education, what teachers need to do better and how the education department is failing us,” he says.
Loving the learning experience
Stepping out of the graduate worls helped this graduate find her true calling  Teaching in under-resourced schools gets this ambassador going in the morning. Khethiwe Radebe is a Teach South Africa ambassador at Fontanus Comprehensive High School in Soweto, teaching Grade 8 and 9 English.
Banking on his HR degree
Social sciences are another road to success in the banking space. Sbonelo Masilela obtained his BCom in Human Resources from the University of Johannesburg, and now works at Absa. He says the social component of Absa’s graduate programme became an ingrained part of his outlook.
A woman in the wheels business
This young talent makes working in a male-dominated environment look easy. Toyota graduate recruit Akhona Tiki studied Mechatronics at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. She says the course was ideal as it offered both mechanical and electronic engineering elements, which helped her avoid being restricted to any one discipline.
Helping to build a better business
This IT and economics graduate is proving to be a real asset. Humbulani Dombo is an asset optimisation analyst for Anglo American. She's been working at the company for over almost three years but fulfilling this role for two months. She is on her third year of Anglo American's BLAST graduate programme.
Working hard to get to the top
This girl has her eyes set on the ultimate prize – the top job. Evelyn Rachidi, a mining engineer working for Anglo American's Thermal Coal division and a big supporter of the Pirates soccer team, says the mining industry provides endless opportunities.
Having fun following her passion
A real interest in helping to produce useful products is one way of proving your mettle. Pfadzani Ligudu is currently working at Columbus Stainless. She studied metallurgy at the University of Pretoria, and received a bursary from Columbus while in her third year of university.
Discovering the mysteries in metal
A typical day sees this young metallurgist doing a serious amount of investigation.     Dirk Kruger is currently working as a metallurgist at Columbus Stainless. He studied Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Pretoria and he is now pursuing a post-graduate degree in the same discipline.
Always up for a challenge
A chance meeting that opened up a new career path. Cebisa Mahlukwana always knew he wanted a career in financial services but somehow insurance was just under the radar. That all changed when, as a student reporter, he interviewed a Santam executive about a corporate social investment initiative.
Succeeding in software
This young graduate proves that performance equals promotions Warren Foxley joined Microsoft solutions provider 3fifteen Technology Solutions through its graduate internship programme in March 2009. His employer provides a range of business solutions based on Microsoft technologies to clients such as large banks, hotel groups, mining houses and retailers.
From biology to branding
Switching it up and moving into something that inspired him made all the difference to this young graduate. Adrian de Wet, a graduate employed at SAB since February this year, has had quite the introduction to the fast-paced environment that FMCG is known for.
Delivering customer satisfaction
Customer service offers it's own rewards for this go-getter Mmapitso Moropa works in the small business services at Nedbank. She holds a BCom in Marketing Management from the University of Johannesburg and loves her job. “I love people and especially seeing a satisfied customer’s face – this is the greatest reward,” she says.
Learning the ropes
Friendly people and financials keep this graduate happy. Njabulo Sibisi works for the commercial division of FNB’s Premium Business Banking, a position he finds ideal, as it suits the interest he has had in economics since high school.
This graduate’s banking on changing his career path
He’s clever, confident, has a great work ethic and a clear view of where he wants to end up. Byron Thomas oozes confidence. He’s probably one of the most focused and eloquent graduates you’ll ever meet and it’s going to see him going far at the FirstRand Group.
Rocking it in retail
Shelton Timm, who studied marketing and communication at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, is currently working as a channel manager at Massmart. Shelton had no real idea as to what kind of career he wanted when he enrolled for a BCom. “I thought maybe accountancy might be for me, but I found out pretty quickly that it wasn’t what I wanted.
Drive your own career, advises auto industry high-flier
Khaya Ndondo is an up-and-coming high-flier in the auto-making industry, whose 23 years belies his intellectual depth, having, in just two years, already made his mark as a strategic thinker for VWSA in its corporate and government affairs division.
Succeeding from the ground up
Cathrine Modisakeng studied a BSc in information technology at the University of the Free State. After she graduated, she got a job at the university as a project co-ordinator in project management. Two years later she applied on the BHP Billiton (BHPB) website to join the Energy Coal graduate recruitment programme.
Legal eaglet soars towards success
Danielle du Plessis is a second-year candidate attorney (CA) at Werksmans. She obtained both her BComm and LLB cum laude (University of Pretoria). It wasn’t easy, she says. “My school followed the ACE curriculum, which sets the pass mark at 80 percent but requires only one exam, the SAT for US college admission.
There’s no grey days for these two
Shaun Duddy obtained his BSc in Actuarial Science at the University of Cape Town. “Although not a traditional actuarial field, asset management began to interest me more and more throughout the course of my studies. I came to realise that I would not be satisfied with working in any other field,” he says.
Performing at her peak in packaging
Thotyelwa Zondani, who is currently employed at Nampak, studied at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (previously Peninsula Technikon). She’s an energetic and ambitious person, with a solid work ethic. Among the personal challenges she has mastered since entering the workplace is learning to be more patient.
Some shining success stories
Johan Naudé has a bursary from Columbus Stainless and is studying part-time towards his honours in metallurgical engineering at the University of Pretoria. He aims to complete his studies at the end of the year. "Metallurgy is a wide field with applications in diverse industries.
This young banker is determined to succeed
 Lufuno Makhari joined Nedbank Capital on a one-year graduate programme in November 2009. “I was always attracted to the dynamism of financial markets, knowing just how quickly and sometimes seriously they are impacted and affected by different kinds of everyday events.
Changing continents to become a CA
Jie Ma, known as ‘Jason’ to his friends and colleagues, could have studied as a chartered accountant almost anywhere in the world, but chose to do it in South Africa. “I grew up in the People’s Republic of China and was there for both primary school and high school,” he says.
Legal eaglet soars towards success
Danielle du Plessis is a second-year candidate attorney (CA) at Werksmans. She obtained both her BComm and LLB cum laude (University of Pretoria). It wasn’t easy, she says. “My school followed the ACE curriculum, which sets the pass mark at 80 percent but requires only one exam, the SAT for US college admission.
The first month in the life of a VW Grad
Tashta Jessa has this to say about her first month as a graduate trainee with VWSA: "The 1st of February finally arrived – the day on 28 young, enthusiastic and driven Graduates began their careers with Volkswagen of South Africa and became part of this legendary and deep-rooted heritage and family.
Loryn Symons, marketing research coordinator with VWSA, says...
Loryn Symons is a recent graduate from NMMU. She completed a BCom Marketing Management and BCom Business Management Honours before joing Volkswagen South Africa. She is now a marketing research coordinator with this company, and we at GradX had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her job.
Xitivani Chabala, ex-Tuks student, says...
Xitivani Chabalala recently graduated with a Bachelors in Consumer Science: Clothing Retail Manager from the University of Pretoria. She is a "Pepiniere" in the market research department at L'Oreal South Africa. GradX recently caught up with her to find out more about her work experiences so far.
Going once, going twice and sold for a good cause
Auctioneering – it’s a think-fast, talk-fast profession that requires someone with charm, wit, intelligence and a big personality. Ariella Kuper, one of only a handful of female auctioneers in the country, has all this and more, including an MBA from the UCT Graduate School of Business, which has propelled her forward with new energy and expertise.
Antoinette Matthee - Working for BDO on the other side of the ocean
The saying goes, when you become a CA, you will have the world at your feet. It is really true! I can vouch for that. I studied at the University of Stellenbosch. With my degree and CTA in hand I did my articles at a tiny firm in Somerset West.


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