“The importance of putting growth, sustainability and justice at the forefront of South African targets and policies is pivotal to overcoming some of the devastating effects that COVID-19 has had thus far,” stresses alumna Tina Mabugu. Following her formal education, she intends pursuing activities that she believes “will contribute to sustainable development and hence, the betterment of others, particularly those who are most vulnerable”. Read more about her studies, the high regard for her lecturers and professional goals below.
Q: Briefly summarise your studies and your professional career, with special mention of specific highlights/milestones.
A: I completed a BCom Economics and a BCom (Honours) Economics degree, both with distinction, at the University of Pretoria. I have also worked for roughly four months at Investec in the Share Plan Services team as a consultant. Currently, I am studying towards an MPhil in Economic Research at the University of Cambridge.
Q: To what extent did your studies at UP benefit you in your career and contribute to your success?
A: “The academics in the EMS Faculty have played a significant role in where I am today. They have helped to shape my thoughts, they have mentored me, and they have, perhaps unwittingly, helped me develop into the woman that I am today. These academics have gone far beyond just imparting knowledge to me. They have cultivated a real passion for Economics in me.”
Q: Given your academic experience at UP, what advice can you pass on to current students?
A: My advice to current students is to use their time at UP to the fullest. Specifically, I think students should discover – with the help of the career service, their lecturers and networks – what they really want to do long term. Once they have discovered this, they ought to – again with the help of the university’s resources – place themselves in the best position to end up where they want to be.
Q: Which business/trade-related publications (magazines/newspapers/blogs, etc) do you enjoy reading?
A: I love The Economist! The Economist’s witty and brutally honest writers have often had me on the edge of my seat.
Q: What is your ‘golden guideline’ in life, in other words, what keeps you on track?
Q: What motivates and inspires you personally?
A: The answers to these two questions are identical. My ‘golden guideline’ has been to better myself in order to put myself in the best position to help others. This is what drives me and what lies at my core. As such, what inspires and motivates me is this very prospect. The idea that I may, someday, possess the tools necessary to meaningfully contribute to bettering the lives of people, is what inspires me.
Q: If you could have a face-to-face meeting with an inspiring person - in any domain - who sets an example in transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same, who would it be and what would you like to discuss?
A: I would love to have a conversation with Malala Yousafzai. I would talk to her about our role in furthering education for vulnerable groups and how we can ensure that we (people who have the privilege to be educated) contribute to the education of others, amongst many other topics!
Q: Going forward, what are your professional/business/personal goals?
A: My immediate goal is to excel in my Master’s degree. After my formal education, for me to be fulfilled, I will have to pursue activities that I believe contribute to sustainable development and hence, the betterment of others – particularly those who are most vulnerable.
Q: Lastly, COVID-19 has turned, and continues to turn, the world upside down. In your opinion, how can South Africa best overcome its current economic woes and increasing joblessness?
A: I believe that vaccines are the most immediate key to get our economy up and running. Following this, I’m a true believer in sustainable development. I think putting growth, sustainability and justice at the forefront of South African targets and policies is pivotal to overcoming some of the devastating effects that COVID-19 has had thus far. South Africa has an opportunity to reset growth, sustainability practices and justice in a way that ensures long-term sustained prosperity and that, in my opinion, is what ought to be prioritised.