Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences (EMS) student Sonya Lakhani has an enviable academic record, having obtained both her bachelor and honours degrees in Investment Management with distinction.
“Some of my personal highlights include being the recipient of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal’s medal for my undergraduate performance. This was truly one of my best achievements,” she says. It was this feat that made her eligible for the prestigious Anton and Huberte Rupert Bursary to fund her master’s studies in Financial Management during 2019. This bursary is awarded by the Rupert Foundation to exceptional academic achievers who were recipients of the Vice-Chancellor’s medal and are registered for postgraduate research studies at the University of Pretoria.
Many students would undoubtedly want to get the secrets to her academic success ahead of the exams, but her advice is quite simple: “I don’t think achieving academic success is a secret. It’s simply just consistency and maintaining a good work ethic. In saying that, I think making sure you are well rested helps to maintain this work ethic. I believe that in order to work well, you should rest well too.”
Originally from Durban, she says moving to Gauteng for a potential career in finance was her main drive for studying her undergraduate degree at the University of Pretoria. “My experience as a student at the Faculty of EMS can be described as one of continuous support from my lecturers and supervisors. Everyone at the Faculty is friendly and willing to help,” she explains.
She says that what initially drew her to the finance field, in particular the investment management field, was wanting to understand and manage finances. “During my studies, however, I developed an interest in research and I chose to remain at UP to complete my postgraduate degree. I was blessed enough to have an excellent learning experience in my undergraduate years and the support of the staff and supervisors. I wouldn’t have wanted to complete my postgraduate degree at any other university!”
Her master’s research focuses on dividend-yield investment strategies for income-oriented investors. “I am testing whether traditional dividend-yield strategies are appropriate for investors seeking a regular stream of income from investment portfolios, such as investors in retirement, where the volatility of the income stream is of more importance than the volatility of the principal component of their investment portfolio,” she says.
Commending Sonya on behalf of the Faculty, Dean Prof Elsabé Loots said: “I would like to congratulate you on receiving this prestigious scholarship. I trust this support will motivate you to reach even further heights in your academic career.”
Sonya, who is part of a set of triplets, says she doesn’t like planning too far in advance, but looks set to expand on her experience as a tutor and part-time lecturer by obtaining a PhD and remaining in academia.
Sonya Lakhani is flanked by Prof Elsabé Loots (left) and Prof Johan Oberholster