Interview With Business Analyst Naledi Nguse

13:05 Monrovia 0 Comments

Please tell us about yourself

 I was born and raised in KwaZulu-Natal in Durban in a township called Umlazi. I then moved to live in an area called Bluff where I attended kindergarten (grade RR) at Bushlands Primary School until grade 7. From grade 1 to 7 I always received awards for extra-murals, sports and academics. In grade 8 I moved back to Umlazi and lived with my grandmother to attend High School at Zwelibanzi High School which was where my cousins attended and would tell me stories about its academic reputation so I asked my parents if I could go study there they didn’t agree nor like the idea because I had already got accepted at a few multiracial schools around the Bluff area with my third term results. When December came, I got dressed in my Bushlands uniform and went unaccompanied with my 4th term report which I had passed with flying colours (full house) and went to write the entry tests (English and Mathematics) at Zwelibanzi High School and nailed the tests and that’s how I got in.

The teachers were even more impressed with my results. I remember my mom came to support and came just in time when they were announcing those who had been accepted into the school, I was so happy that regardless of my parents not agreeing to my decision, my mom still supported me. That December I went to buy the school uniform for the high school of my choice and would wake up and go to school with my cousins. The first day I received corporal punishment with all the other learners for making noise and I wasn't even talking. I couldn't wait for the day to end I ran home and cried and told my parents about my first day. I had never experienced such and also, I had failed a Zulu test on my first day and got a 5/20 a whole me, those were some hard Zulu words I had never heard. The teacher asked which school I was from and why would I come to a school where Zulu was a Home Language and said “uzobanga amaFailers” meaning I was going to decrease the school’s pass rate. Those words fuelled me I asked my parents to buy me Zulu newspapers and a Zulu dictionary called Inqolobane. I would read every day and ask my mother and grandmother to help me learn isiZulu to improve and quiz me.

I gave it my all and at the end of the year, I got a level 7 for the language and proved everyone who laughed at me and had remarks wrong and each term I was 1st in my grade in the Top 10. I continued to excel in my studies until grades 11 and 12. I got ill and spent most of my time in and out of hospitals and doctor appointments but still came to write my tests I didn't do as well as per the norm, but I passed. Side note, in matric I pleaded with my school Principal to do 8 subjects instead of 7 and he agreed conditionally if I passed the added subject, and I did in the first term I passed above 80%. Fast forward I got accepted at UKZN for my 2nd choice BCom (Bachelor of Commerce) General which wasn't my first choice Medicine was, but little did I know that everything was not happening to me but for me and also for the better. Looking back now my high school had a huge role in shaping the person I am today including corporal punishment it taught me discipline and to work hard and even harder for the things I wanted for myself.

What inspired your career choice?

 I didn't always have a clear vision of my career path after being accepted for BCom since I always wanted to be a Cardiologist and would later be a Cardiothoracic surgeon. With BCom being my plan B, I had always thought about being a Chartered Accountant. Funny enough, I was drawn to the analytical aspects of business early on as well as Economics and as well as Information Systems & Technology and Finance which became my majors. Through exposure to various industries and experiences, I realized that becoming a Business Analyst aligned perfectly with my skills and interests. I was inspired by the potential to make a meaningful impact on businesses through strategic analysis and insights. 

Did you experience any hurdles during your university years and if so, how did you overcome them?

 Like many students, I faced challenges during my university years, whether it was balancing coursework, extracurricular activities, or personal responsibilities. I overcame these hurdles by being disciplined and prioritizing my tasks, seeking support from mentors and peers, adopting effective time management strategies and staying determined to succeed.

What would you advise a 17-year-old high schooler who isn’t sure about what career to pursue?

I would encourage a 17-year-old high schooler to explore their interests, try new things, pursue internships or volunteer opportunities, seek mentorship from professionals in different fields and not be afraid to pursue unconventional paths. It's okay not to have everything figured out at such a young age, but staying curious and open-minded can lead to discovering fulfilling career opportunities.

What do you love the most about your job and what is a typical day like for you at work as a business analyst?

What I love most about my job as a Business Analyst in Software Engineering is the opportunity to solve complex problems and facilitate positive change through technology. I enjoy being at the intersection of business and technology, where I can leverage my analytical skills to understand business needs and translate them into effective IT solutions. A typical day for me involves a variety of tasks, including meeting with stakeholders to gather requirements, analyzing data and processes, documenting business needs and technical specifications, collaborating with development teams to design solutions, and participating in project meetings to track progress and address any issues that arise. I also spend time staying updated on industry trends and best practices to continuously improve my skills and knowledge. Overall, I find the dynamic nature of my role and the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on business operations very rewarding.

How did you manage school and your extracurricular activities?

Balancing coursework and extracurricular activities was challenging but rewarding. I prioritized my time, developed strong time management skills, and leveraged support networks to excel both academically and in my extracurricular pursuits.

When you started working, was it exactly as you expected or were there any surprises?

While there were some surprises when I started working, such as the pace and dynamics of the corporate environment, overall, it aligned with my expectations. I was prepared for challenges and embraced opportunities for growth and learning. Fortunately for me, my company Entelect Software afforded me a solid foundation through the company Bootcamp for graduates.

Looking at SA’s High Rate of Youth Unemployment, what advice would you give to an unemployed graduate?

 In the current job market, persistence, resilience, adaptability, and networking are key. I would advise job seekers to focus on building a strong professional network, continuously upskill through online courses or certifications, consider internships or freelance opportunities to gain experience, leverage your network for job leads and referrals, remain proactive in their job search efforts and don't be discouraged by rejections. A free tip, I would also encourage job seekers to be active on their LinkedIn Profiles, keep their CVs up to date and ensure their social media profiles are professional even if it’s a personal blog.

You recently received an award for being one of the most inspiring students at UKZN, what impact has that experience had on you?

Receiving the award for being one of the most inspiring students at UKZN was a humbling experience. It reinforced the importance of perseverance, excelling academically, leadership, and making a positive impact on others. The recognition has motivated me to continue striving for excellence and giving back to my community. I am grateful for the opportunity to inspire others and remain committed to making a positive impact wherever I go.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

If I were to give advice to my younger self without mentioning my current role, I would emphasize the importance of embracing failure and taking risks. I would encourage myself to step out of my comfort zone, try new things, and not be afraid to make mistakes along the way. Learning from failures and setbacks is a crucial part of personal growth and development. Additionally, I would advise myself to prioritize self-care and maintain a healthy work-life balance, as taking care of my physical and mental well-being is essential for long-term success and happiness. Finally, I would remind myself to cultivate meaningful relationships and surround myself with supportive mentors and friends who encourage and inspire me to pursue my passions and goals.

The SAVarsity team would like to send a heartfelt thank you to Ms. Naledi Nguse for this uplifting interview, we're looking forward to witnessing more growth and prosperity from her as a young woman in corporate.

To contact Naledi:

Instagram: naledi_nguse

TikTok: naledi_nguse

Twitter: naledi_nguse

LinkedIn URL: Naledi Nguse (click to view her profile)

Click here for a guide on how to become a business analyst in South Africa.


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