Bursary holder and top achiever on route to becoming a business leader

Posted on April 23, 2021

Michàel van Schalkwyk, who was selected by Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences (EMS) alumnus and former JSE CEO Russel Loubser as this year’s Russell Loubser/JSE Bursary Prize Winner from a shortlist of four Accounting Sciences, Financial Sciences and Investment Management top achievers, received his BCom (Accounting Sciences) degree cum laude on 23 April 2021.
 
Van Schalkwyk has always had a knack for numbers, and a keen interest in the fields of accounting and business. He says that the Accounting Sciences degree, as part of the road of becoming a CA(SA), provides a great steppingstone into gaining a key understanding of the intricacies of the business world, as well as providing one with technical knowledge in the fields of accounting, tax, auditing and financial management – something that no other degree offers.
 
“Furthermore, I realised that the majority of the great business minds in South Africa and globally are CAs, and I thus I decided that it was definitely the path to follow,” he notes.
 
To him, the Accounting Sciences degree is one that requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but provides a lot of satisfaction after the work has been done. “It provided me with the opportunity to interact and become good friends with like-minded individuals, who will hopefully also become possible business partners and contacts in the future. I was also able to participate in many social events and sporting activities, albeit less in recent times because of the pandemic and an increase in workload, and thus had the university experience that most students look forward to,” he adds.
 
A key aspect to his success was finding ways in which to make the work covered in class applicable to everyday life. “Where many students studied the work purely for the purposes of a test or exam, I find inspiration in trying to make the work interesting for myself in many practical ways, whether it is by applying it to transactions on the stock market, or just managing personal finances. This helped me to really enjoy studying towards the degree and motivated me to excel academically.”
 
Van Schalkwyk experienced the EMS Faculty and the University of Pretoria as exceptionally professional and results-driven, focussed on the importance of academics. It pleases him that a degree from UP will be taken in high esteem in South Africa and globally, and that it holds a high level of prestige.
 
Receiving the Russell Loubser/JSE Bursary Prize for 2021 added to his success story. “I feel that the stature associated with the award and the recognition of being one of the top performing students at such a prestigious institution like the University of Pretoria will definitely open many doors for me in the future.”
 
In 2022 Van Schalkwyk will start his SAICA articles at KPMG in Johannesburg, after the completion of his Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting Sciences this year, and eventually obtaining the CA (SA) qualification. “I would love to expand my horizons by living and working abroad for a few years after that, to gain further skills and experience, and hopefully eventually become a business leader in South Africa.”
 
 
- Author Petronel Fourie
Published by Nonkululeko Kubeka Moyo

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