EMS Alumni profiles

In celebration of a century of academic excellence at the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, a range of esteemed alumni will be profiled thoughout the centenary year.
Wouter de Vos
Joining Investec early in his career was not only his ‘lucky break’; the years he spent in the vibrant, energetic, performance-driven environment of the bank moulded him for business, believes alumnus Wouter de Vos. He has since made his mark running the Atterbury Property Fund for five years before returning to the Real Estate Private Equity space to set up his own boutique real estate investment and advisory business, de Vos Capital. Now he is setting his sights on expanding this business in Europe. Read more about his career, his goals and other interests…
Niel Schoombee
For many years, the talented singer/songwriter, alumnus Niel Schoombee, ‘lived’ his passion in the entertainment industry. Besides creating the highly acclaimed 5-person male vocal group, Hi-5, he gained numerous prestigious awards, in SA and abroad. He wrote over 700 songs for many multi-platinum selling artists for which he received various Ghoema and SAMA nominations over the years and finally won the Songwriter of the Year title in 2019. Many of his songs were translated into Dutch and were released in Europe where he was also privileged to enjoy platinum-selling success. Currently living in Brisbane, Australia, his new position as co-owner and director of Starexpress Cleaning & Property Services, has taken him completely out of his ‘comfort zone’. He nevertheless sees this as a huge new growth opportunity. Join him on his exhilarating ‘global’ journey…
Prof Nasima Carrim
Credited with a long list of notable achievements, Prof Nasima Carrim is a role model in every respect: Apart from her newly appointed role as Exco member of the Society of Industrial and Organisational Psychology of South Africa (SIOPSA), Prof Carrim is part of a team of conveners for a future Gender, Work and Organisation (GDO) conference. She is also a member of the Gender, Diversity and Organisation (GDO) Division of the Academy of Management (AOM) since 2010. She has been a Global Ambassador in the GDO Division for the past five years. Prof Carrim is currently a mentor for international mentees for the Division, where she provides guidance to new members on how to compile high-impact articles. In addition, she has been a section editor for the South African Journal of Industrial Psychology for a number of years. Recently, Prof Carrim also co-edited the first diversity textbook in South Africa, titled Managing Diversity in the South African Workplace …the list goes on. Yet, it is in uplifting people in need, the underdogs, that she finds her greatest reward. Read more about her illustrious career, her sound advice to current students and her future goals.
Lucinda Neethling
She is not only a well-known singer who released her brand new, catchy single, Weerloos, to much acclaim a couple of months ago, but as a talented visual artist specialising in ballpoint pen art, Lucinda Neethling continues to catch the eye. On top of this, she also produced her first advertisement earlier this year and thoroughly enjoys being a Basi-qualified Pilates instructor. Attributing much of her success to her entrepreneurial studies at UP, she is all set to take her career as an artist to the next level. Read more about her achievements, ‘golden guideline’ and career goals below.
Anton Post
Blessed with entrepreneurial flair, coupled with a knack for launching, promoting and running successful exhibition centres, trade fairs, and lately also a group of exclusive lodges in sub-Saharan Africa as MD, alumnus Anton Post has certainly made his mark in the hospitality and tourism industry. Following his retirement in a year’s time, he would like to stay involved in tourism in some way or another and continue to add value. But first, he and his wife plan to go on their dream expedition. Join him on his life’s journey…
Prof Carolina Koornhof 
The double honours bestowed on former EMS dean, Prof Carolina Koornhof - a CEO Country Lifetime Achiever Award at Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards ceremony in 2014 for her contribution to Higher Education, and an Honorary Golden Key award in 2018 in recognition of her contribution to Education - could hardly be more fitting. Read more
Dr Cila Myburgh
To be part of a system that ensures access to quality education for all, is alumna Dr Cila Myburgh’s fervent wish. “Living in a country of extreme inequality in terms of access to quality education – from young to old – makes this goal very real for me and personally drives me to wanting to be part of a solution working towards inclusive, equitable and quality education for all.” Read more about her career, her advice for current students and other interests.
Russell Loubser
Mathematically gifted alumnus Russell Loubser was fortunate to study “almost exactly” the disciplines that he both enjoyed and needed in his career… and to this day still enjoys. This, in no small measure, contributed to the business success of the former JSE CEO and former council member of the University of Pretoria, who also served as a valuable EMS Faculty Advisory Board member for more than 10 years. Join him on his journey from his student days to the present day where he plays a valuable role in a non-executive capacity at the First Rand Group. Read more
Dr Martha Mushunje
From her studies, Dr Martha Mushunje has learnt valuable lessons on the importance of perseverance and dedication in all spheres of life. “Our backgrounds do not shape our destiny; through perseverance and dedication you can achieve anything,” she reckons. Along with 15 other candidates, she was awarded her PhD during the virtual graduation ceremony on 15 April. Read more about her career, the fulfilment of her current job and future plans below…
Dr Mgwebi Msiya
“The universe is full of diverse opinions and ideas and it is always important to be open to such divergences. Studying for a PhD has taught me the significance of embracing and understanding that scholars will always view each concept from different perspectives to mine, so I must always respect such diversity of ideas,” says Dr Mgwebi Msiya, Eastern Cape Liquor Board spokesperson. Along with 15 other candidates, he was awarded his PhD at the virtual graduation ceremony on 15 April and is all set to contribute substantially to the research needs of his organisation. Read more about his PhD, his career and future plans below.
David and Jonathan Sher
It comes as no surprise that the dynamic paper and plastics manufacturer, Universal Paper and Plastics (UPP), celebrated its 70th anniversary in style with a ‘roaring 20s’-themed party earlier this year. Starting out as a small family business, it has grown into a 455 employee-strong enterprise over the years, guided by the same entrepreneurial spirit. “While 70 may be a lifetime, at heart and at an operational level, the company remains forever young and vibrant, striving towards innovation every single day to satisfy the needs of our customers,” stress UP alumni and brothers, Jonathan and David Sher, joint MDs of the Universal Paper Group who are proud to continue in the footsteps of their father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Read more about their interesting journey - from their student years at EMS to their current position as joint MDs.
Olga Granova-Mooi 
Alumna Olga Granova-Mooi places much emphasis on working hard to improve accountability and corporate governance in the higher education sector. A sense of natural justice and fairness is equally important in her life, the current Head of the Unit for Internal Audit at UP, points out. A set of undergraduate degrees, an Honours and a Master’s degree and a determination to make a difference for the better, led to an exciting career path, both locally and abroad. Read more about her journey from a first-year student to the present day.
Nico Theron
Studying at UP contributed to his successful career as a tax law specialist “to the fullest extent imaginable”, stresses alumnus Nico Theron. “If it were not for my studies at the University of Pretoria, I would not have had access to the fantastic lecturers who imparted not only their knowledge to me, but more importantly, their passion for the subjects they taught. It is a passion for tax law that has driven me over the full extent of my career to achieve more. This continues to drive me every day.” Read more about his career, goals and interests.
Dr Philip McLachlan
“For me, life is all about learning. You can never learn enough - there is always something new to discover, to explore and to understand. Learning is all about being involved, asking the difficult but crucial questions and being open to being taught by people and experiences, as well as through failures!” says Dr Philip McLachlan, strategy analyst at  TasNetworks in Hobart, Australia. Read more about his career, goals and the most rewarding aspects of his current position.
Dr Roshelle Ramfol
Fine-tuning the skill of “finding opportunity in adversity”, has taught Dr Roshelle Ramfol that you have the power to change your paradigm. “Every setback holds a lesson and by focusing on the opportunity, you can pivot towards a new outcome that can potentially surpass what you originally conceived.” A Senior Lecturer in Taxation at the University of South Africa, Dr Ramfol specialises in designing fiscal policy for extractive industries and the transition to renewable energy. Read more about her thoughts on the value of a PhD, the rewarding aspects of her job and her personal and career goals on the road ahead.
Dr Ron Josias
“A first degree gives you a foot in the door, a master’s degree commands the attention of others when you speak, a PhD is far more personal. It addresses self- actualisation. It forces you to address the question: ‘What is my contribution to the world, to my community and to my profession?’,” says Dr Ron Josias. Along with 15 other candidates, he was awarded his PhD on 15 April 2020 during the virtual UP graduation ceremony. Read more about his thoughts on the economy post-COVID, his long and fruitful career at The South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) and his future plans. 
Dr Johan Michael Smith
“The coronavirus has brought everything, including the economy, to an abrupt halt, and it will take time to recover from such a shock…Most small businesses will battle to stay afloat, and their owners should now urgently look at how they can re-imagine their business models,” stresses Dr Johan Michael Smith, whose doctoral thesis addressed the very issue of entrepreneurial behaviour. Read more about his studies, his ‘golden guideline’ and thoughts on entrepreneurship.
Dr Danita van Heerden
Throughout her PhD journey, Dr Danita van Heerden has learnt that it can be dangerous to overthink things. “When you overthink, it is difficult to take action. Without action, you cannot move forward. Sometimes, taking action also means that you will make mistakes, but what matters is that you learn from your mistakes and move on,” she stresses. Read more about her topical PhD thesis, the most rewarding aspects of her current job, and her career and personal goals.
Dr Sipho Makgopa
If ever somebody has proven that nothing is impossible, it is Dr Sipho Makgopa. Growing up in a dusty town in rural Limpopo and starting his career as a mini-bus driver transporting kids to day care, he went on to become a lecturer, then senior lecturer, and Curriculum and Learning Development Specialist only a few years later. On 15 April 2020, he was awarded a PhD during a virtual graduation ceremony at UP. Read more about the most rewarding aspects of his current job, his future plans and thoughts on the economy post-COVID-19.
Dr Sonnette Smith
The current COVID-19 lockdown is not only doom and gloom. Since Dr Sonnette Smith recently moved to Cape Town to fill a position as a contract accounting lecturer, she has thoroughly enjoyed being able to help her new colleagues during lockdown with implementing effective online teaching and learning on BlackBoard. “My experiences at the Department of Accounting at UP in this regard have greatly assisted me,” she stresses. Along with 15 other candidates, she was awarded a PhD at the virtual UP graduation ceremony on 15 April 2020. Read more about her career, aspirations and thoughts on linguistic barriers in accounting.
Dr Abdallah Ali-Nakyea
To have a PhD is the ‘icing on the cake’ for Dr Abdallah Ali-Nakyea who, along with 15 other candidates, achieved this academic milestone at the virtual graduation ceremony in April. “With all the qualifications (both academic and professional), expertise and experience I have gained over 28 years in various disciplines of finance, accounting, economics, taxation and law, a PhD has enabled me to document an aspect of my multidisciplinary make-up to contribute to knowledge,” he points out. Read more about his studies, career and experience at UP below.
Dr Adél Bosch
“The PhD process gives you the confidence to take on any task, no matter how big and to persevere and get it done. It teaches you how to break largescale problems into smaller pieces. This in turn assists in making better decisions at work and provides more provoking thoughts on topics,” reckons Dr Adél Bosch, one of 16 candidates who recently received PhDs from UP at the virtual graduation ceremony on 15 April 2020. Read more
Dr Likeleli Letsie
The importance of time, and managing it, was one of the most important lessons Dr Likeleli Letsie learnt during her studies at the University of Pretoria. Along with 15 other candidates, she was awarded her doctorate (in Informatics) during the virtual graduation ceremony in April 2020. “UP strives for the best and this is visible in the way academics are treated. The incorporation of industry talks and lectures in classes helps to bring the outside world into the classroom,” she argues. Read more about her career, aspirations and thoughts on the economy post-COVID-19.
Dr Victor Ngobeni
Being involved in public policy and the shaping of the everyday lives of poor people, is the most rewarding aspect of his current position as Director: Water and Sanitation and COGTA (Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs), says Dr Victor Ngobeni. Along with 15 other PhD students, he was awarded his doctorate in Tax Policy at the virtual graduation ceremony in April 2020.  Read more about his career, the lessons he learnt at UP and his future plans...
Dr Francois Stofberg
During the virtual graduation ceremony at UP on 15 April 2020, 16 doctorates were conferred by the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences (EMS). In the coming weeks, these exceptional achievers will be profiled in a Q&A series. This week the spotlight is on Dr Francois Stofberg, Senior Economist for Efficient Group (EFG) and Head of Sales at Efficient Private Clients (EFPC). Read more
Regine le Roux
Firmly anchored in a robust, non-negotiable set of core values that drives decisions and actions, Reputation Matters consistently strives to be Africa’s go to reputation specialists, building resilient businesses that people want to do business with, says founder and MD Regine le Roux. Read more about her successful career, achievements and goals going forward.
Natasha Ashley
Despite achieving remarkable success in her career thus far, alumna Natasha Ashley has set her sights even higher, “never losing sight of who I am and what I believe in”. Read more about her achievements, passions and interests below.
UP Accounting graduates excel in SAICA CA qualifying exam
André van Staden (2), Adrian Rathbone (3), André Meyer (6), Christine Butters (7), Janalee Moyle (8), Sumaiya Jeewa and Suzanne Bell (joint 9) were among the top ten achievers in the January 2020 Initial Test of Competence (ITC) of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA). Read more about their illustrious academic achievements and mentors as well as about the inspiring people who played an important role in shaping their lives and careers. 
Pierre Viljoen
Having the right people around you in any business venture, helps in no small measure to secure a firm foundation for success, believes alumnus Pierre Viljoen. This has proven all too true in each one of his three enterprises…and to this day he cherishes the camaraderie and friendship of his former business partners, school and university friends. Read more about his studies, career and successes below.
Roelof Lategan
Where will the earth and technology be in 100 years? How will we change conditions on this planet? How will we make sure it survives the relentless destruction of natural resources? How will we sustain life, food, water in the face of an ever-growing population? These are some of the questions alumnus Roelof Lategan would like to discuss with Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk. Read more about his thoughts of, and quest in life.
Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi
In an ever-changing world, people need to prepare themselves to embark on different careers as they grow older. This absolutely necessitates continuous study and upskilling, believes the former Minister of Public Service and Administration, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, who considers herself a living example of lifelong learning. Read more
Tatjana Schoenmaker
Passion. Discipline. Timing. These qualities largely contribute to a firm foundation for a successful career reckons world swimming champion and Tuks Sportswoman of the Year, Tatjana Schoenmaker, who is all set to make her mark at the Olympic Games. Read more about her achievements and ambitions below.
Waseem Carrim
Passionate about the opportunities South Africa’s youth hold for this country, Waseem Carrim would love to see Government and the Presidency achieve its National Development Plan 2030 goals. Read more about his career, achievements and crucial role as CEO of the National Youth Development Agency.
Francis Wilkinson
The foundation of any successful business is the right people. “Once you have attracted the right ones, you need to invest heavily in their development,” stresses alumnus Francis ‘Frank’ Wilkinson, currently operational consultant in the UK whose ultimate dream is to build a consultancy of his own that specialises in cultural and behavioural change. Francis holds a BCom (Human Resources Management) degree from UP. Read more
Emma Mashilo
With the right mindset and the right amount of determination, you can achieve any goal you set yourself, reckons alumna and trainee planner, Emma Mashilo. She believes her studies at the University of Pretoria laid a firm foundation for her future plans and ventures. She believes her studies for a BCom in Supply Chain Management and an honours degree in Business Management at the University of Pretoria laid a firm foundation for her future plans and ventures. Read more 
Henk Deist
Atterbury Europe CEO, Henk Deist, firmly believes his studies at the University of  Pretoria (UP) were the starting point of a successful career. “Nothing would have been possible without that. I still believe CA(SA) is an excellent qualification to have in any business type of career, and UP remains a good producer of candidates for this qualification.” Read more
Phumzile Langeni
Bringing about a more just and equitable society in South Africa is one of the goals alumna Phumzile Langeni has set herself. Read more here about her career, highlights and ‘golden guidelines’. 

Noelani King Conradie 

A passion for excellence has consistently been a major driving force in the life of King Conradie. This not only inspired her to achieve top marks at the University of Pretoria, with distinctions for both her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees; it has set her company, NKC African Economics, apart as a leader in the global arena. Read more

Please visit www.up.ac.za/ems-alumni for details on how EMS alumni can stay in touch with the Faculty.


Published by Liesl Oosthuizen

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