Where Are They Now?

Sinethemba Cele

Excel@Uni Alumni

After graduation, Sinethemba, joined the graduate programme at Rand Merchant Bank.

“I benefited a lot with Excel@uni in terms of support during my years of studies.

My mentor used to give me practical guidance on my personal development, especially when I had my specific issues that affected me academically. He also helped me a lot in terms of setting up my CV to appeal to the recruiters, and I still use that structure and advice up until today when I update my CV. I also attended several workshops, one that I still remember is the PowerPoint training. This helped my PowerPoint skills to improve, and the nice thing about these short courses is that you could add them to your LinkedIn profile and your CV. Furthermore, you could get endorsement on these skills from your peers.

The other thing that I found useful was the Strengthfinder assessment tool which assesses one’s personality and where one is best suited to work and/or careers one can pursue. I will forever be grateful for this, especially.”

Katlego Nkomo

Excel@Uni Alumni

After graduation, Katlego pursued his master’s degree in architecture at University of Pretoria and worked as a junior architectural designer.

“I learned a lot about time management, and I still use it today. The second thing my mentor really helped with is expressing myself fully and properly. I am normally someone that uses a lot of slang and abbreviations, but my mentor asked me to read a book and give a summary of the book. The initial draft of the summary was not very well articulated. I was using words like Hmmm and abbreviations like I’m, It was really bad. It was not like I could not write but it was something I was not taking a note of, now I proofread everything even my WhatsApp texts”

Basetsana Jokozela

Excel@Uni Alumni

After graduation, Basetsana joined the graduate programme at Growthpoint Properties.

“Excel@uni was very helpful to me especially when I initially joined the mentorship programme. At the time, I was still funded by another bursary. The bursary covered only my tuition and books, but it did not cover groceries, so I was struggling with that. However, my Excel@Uni mentor helped me a lot. She helped me put together a motivational letter for the Growthpoint bursary. I managed to get an interview and I was awarded the bursary with Growthpoint. The bursary covered everything including tuition, books and groceries.”

Danialle Lotz

Excel@Uni Alumni

After graduation, Danialle joined the Coronation internship programme.

“Excel@Uni provided a great support structure during my university journey. During my final year, I had a lot of anxiety and stress issues. However, with Excel@uni, I had someone to talk to, who would listen to me.

The CV preparation and Interview preparation webinars helped me a lot. As I speak now, I still use the same CV I used when we completed the CV preparation course. The Interview readiness was also very great in preparing me for interviews and acing my interviews.

One thing I would like from the Lungela Career  Readiness or Mentorship offering is for the programme to continue for at least the first six months of starting in the work environment. You know when you are just getting started in the workspace, everything is new. Things can be overwhelming and frustrating at work sometimes, and if that mentorship and support could stay for six months as we start our careers it would help a lot.”

Nhlanhla Mdlalose

Excel@Uni Alumni

After graduation, Nhlanhla joined JP Morgan’s Corporate and Investment Banking division.

“I was quite big on making connections while I was studying, I was strategic and conscious about what I was studying and what opportunities were available for me. I believe this is what I learnt from my Excel@Uni mentor at the time. Our engagements more focused on preparing for the future. For example, I was doing well at school, studying finance and Accounting, and I was coming from a math and science background in high school. What was important was preparing myself for the future, understanding the whole purpose of what I was studying”

Monica Vumani

Excel@Uni Alumni

After graduation, Monica joined Concor as a Quantity Surveyor.

“I joined Excel@Uni in my third year. Through Excel@Uni, I got exposed to the career readiness programmme. This programme helped me realize the importance of gaining work experience. Through the programme, Excel@Uni helped me learn how to write a CV and motivational letter and they would encourage us, cohort of students at the time, to apply for part-time jobs while we were at university to gain experience and exposure in the work environment. This was done to prepare us for the real world of employment after graduation. I am very grateful for this. This what I took from Excel@Uni, and as a mentor now at Excel@Uni, I also encourage my mentees to do the same.”

Yuriska Reddy

Excel@Uni Alumni

After graduation, Yuriska joined the graduate programme at Growthpoint Properties.

“What I took from Excel@Uni was the lesson on CV preparation. I think that was something that really helped me stand out from the rest when I applied for jobs because as soon as I used the advice I was given, I started receiving invites to interviews. Another thing I appreciated about Excel@Uni was having a mentor. The mentor checked up on me once every month and this was someone I could talk to when I was struggling and ask questions when I needed answers.”

Lance Bartlett

Excel@Uni Alumni

After graduation, Lance joined South32 as a Graduate Engineer.

“I am really grateful for having been a part of Excel@Uni, because they showed great support when I came back from abroad during the lockdown. When I came back from Germany, I had to adapt to the new way of learning, e-Learning and at the time I had lost touch with how things were going at home, in South Africa. With schooling being online and being unable to socialise with people, I felt alone. However, with Excel@Uni I was not alone, I had someone to speak to when I struggled with school work and to ask questions when I did not understand. Knowing that you have someone you can trust on your side is what I really appreciated.”

Thapelo Letsoalo

Excel@Uni Alumni

After graduating, Thapelo joined the Investment Banking Graduate programme at Citi group.

“The biggest lesson I learnt from Excel@Uni was preparing for the workspace while still at university. I was introduced to Excel@Uni while I was still studying at Wits University. The Mentorship programme was very helpful in a sense that it gave me direction of where I wanted to be. From the beginning of the programme, I was taught about goal setting. I used to set short and long-term goals with my mentor. Short term goals were my studies and achieving attractive marks for all my modules. Whereas Long term goals were regarding the exact companies I wished to work for, if they had internships or graduate programmes, and thinking through what would be required to qualify for placements on those programmes.”

Portia Monaheng

Excel@Uni Alumni

After graduation, Portia joined Abland as a Project Management Intern.

“At the time when I was a student, I didn’t find mentorship very useful. It was instead sometimes a nuisance when you (Excel@Uni Mentors) were constantly pushing us to build our LinkedIn profiles, to build a good CV, and all of that. However, when I started working, I started to understand the importance of everything you were teaching us, because I noticed that a lot of the other candidates were not as well prepared in terms of how their career documentation represented their abilities.”

Boikano Monareng

Excel@Uni Alumni

After graduating, Boikano joined Ford Motor Company as a Graduate Trainee and 5 years since, she is presently an Assistant Tax Manager at KPMG in the United Kingdom.

As someone who lives by the philosophy of not waiting until graduation to start applying for graduate career opportunities, she commends Excel@Uni’s mentorship program for incorporating CV and cover letter drafting exercises as well as prioritising knuckling down on her networking skills and market research abilities.

She recalls how incredibly shy she indeed was as a student, humorously admitting “I hardly spoke”. She is thankful for Excel@Uni’s part in her escaping her shell and how she has since grown into an avid negotiator. This catalysed the way she learns and develops professionally, through continuously engaging with senior employees– and – asking questions when she does not know the answer.

Yulandi Sikidi

Excel@Uni Alumni

After graduating, Yulandi joined Growthpoint Properties as a Sustainability and Utilities Graduate and after being in the working world for 2.5 years, Yulandi is now a Sustainable Finance Analyst at Absa Group.

Yulandi has proven her ability to climb the corporate ladder and in reminiscing on her experiences with Excel@Uni she credits her awareness of the demands of the working world to Excel@Uni’s active involvement in getting students to think about their career aspirations constructively, before graduating, not waiting until after. Achieved by Excel@Uni’s orchestrated mentorship program that includes CV and cover letter drafting exercises as well as evaluating and advising students’ constructively on both their LinkedIn profiles and their use of it to intentionally engage relevant professionals and keep abreast of the job market.

She fondly recalls that it was the brushing up of her networking with professionals’ skills that assisted her with landing her first role given that she networked.

Charmaine Mbatha

Excel@Uni Alumni

After graduating, Charmaine joined Mercedes-Benz South Africa as a Graduate Engineer and has since been at the company for nearly 5 years, she now holds the position of Robotics Specialist.

Charmaine particularly enjoyed having access to Excel@Uni’s MILA app. She fondly recalls the convenience it brought her when uploading pertinent documents and how this allowed for seamless communication with her sponsor. As someone who did not have a laptop as a student, she was elated that the MILA app could be used on her phone. Before, she would have to spend late hours at the computer lab just to email her documents to her sponsor.

In addition to the operational efficiency, she expressed that having access to MILA felt like having a friend. Given the wellness updates weekly prompts that checked in on her psycho-social wellbeing whenever she logged onto the app. The option of requesting a tutor to ensure her academic progress did not falter. In saying this she could not stress more how chuffed she was that Excel@Uni had formulated a system of care that acknowledges how psycho-social well-being, academic pressure and document submission can and does impact students’ ability to excel at university.

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