Teboho ‘Tee’ Makhabane and Brent Nygaard are two very different people. Both are young professionals venturing down opposite career paths, but what connects them is how they got there.
Tee is in the investment world and confesses that university could never have prepared her for the practical know-how gained simply being in the job that she has grown to love. “I guess I have always had some interest in finance. My honours degree, which focused more on investments, stimulated my interest… Just like any other job or profession you have to love it.”
She explains how dynamic it has been working as an investment analyst where one has to constantly be aware of the legislation changes happening in different styles of investment. “It is quite a competitive field. It requires you to read financial news all the time and to follow the market.”
Brent is working in the branding, design and web development industry and shares how interesting and fun branding has been for him so far. “I have been hooked on design since early in high school as I loved drawing and making images… So I had design as a high school subject and then went on to study brand management
and visual communications at Vega here in Cape Town.”
Being in the industry for his second year now, Brent admits that as a newbie out of college the biggest contrast that he found was the pace at which he was expected to work and the way he had to interact with clients. “At college we had two to three weeks to finish a single project with no client to deal with, just our pure creative freedom. Then I get into the real industry and suddenly I only have three days to get the same amount of work done, and with clients constantly giving feedback and critiques.”
He has had to deal with clients’ expectations of him that weren’t realistic to what he was capable of producing. “I was trying too hard to work faster than I was able to and do design better than I was capable of at the time.”
Tee and Brent share a common thread in the reason why they are working where they have landed up today. While Tee was in her honours year, she had a lecturer who was in investments and offered her invaluable need-to-know about what a career in that line of work would entail. Brent found out about his job through a contact at college. What they both agree on though is that only once they got into the work environment did they feel more equipped to excel in their respective professions.
“The first few months of working you learn the business and how things are done. I found that only after that did I really apply the theory I had learnt at university,” Tee notes. “I did feel relatively well equipped for my projects. But more in the sense that I felt equipped to learn on the go and to not give up in the face of high pressure,” Brent adds.
Here are some words of advice from Tee and Brent to other budding young workers who are considering similar career paths:
“If anyone is seriously considering going into this field, it is highly recommend that they do their CFA exams. This gives you a great reputation in the investment arena,” Tee stresses.
Brent’s two tips to you if you’re studying design or have just finished-
1. Work on your speed of producing projects at college.
2. In the workplace, always get your boss to check your emails and the deadlines you set for yourself, which could save client relationships.4