Alumna profile: Dr Roshelle Ramfol

Posted on July 13, 2020

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. Below she shares her thoughts about the value of a PhD, the rewarding aspects of her job and her personal and career goals on the road ahead.
 
Q: What was the topic of your PhD thesis and why did you specifically select
 
A: Natural resources present an opportunity for economic transformation. My quest to establish whether South Africa’s extractive industry fiscal regime captures a fair share of returns, culminated in my thesis titled, “Taxation of the extractive industry in the context of contemporary international fiscal regimes: Lessons for South Africa”.
 
Q: In your opinion, to what extent does a PhD ensure/boost business/career
 
A: A PhD enhances your career by providing you with specialist insight. You develop the confidence to solve and interrogate complex multidisciplinary challenges. Your professional network expands through your research publications and offers possibilities for future collaborations.
 
Q: Are you happy with the way your career has evolved?
 
A: Key ingredients for career happiness come from connecting your sense of purpose with passion.  In this respect, I am particularly excited by the prospect of contributing to my field and the ability to make a difference.
 
Q: What are the most compelling/rewarding aspects of your current job?
 
A: As an academic, my job promotes cross-disciplinary thinking and research. One of the highlights of my job is to contribute to issues that are meaningful to society. Additionally, mentoring students along their own research journey and supporting their success is a deeply rewarding experience.
 
Q: To what extent did your studies at UP benefit you in your career and contribute to your success?
 
A: University of Pretoria offers fantastic opportunities for collaboration and networking and in that way extends your reach.
 
Q: What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learnt from your studies/lecturers at the University of Pretoria?
 
A: A PhD candidature is about the journey. It is about optimising your opportunities to present, collaborate and grow your impact skills. I have benefited from many important lessons that have enriched my journey that I hope to pass on to my own students.
 
Q: What is your “golden guideline” in life, in other words what keeps you on
 
A: The statement “be your own brand; invest in yourself” guided me to register for a PhD. While fine-tuning the skill of “finding opportunity in adversity”, has taught me 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.
 
Q: Going forward, what are your career and personal goals?
 
A: Writing a PhD helped me to focus and connect with my personal and career goals. By constructing a blueprint, I can live my life with a heightened state of purpose allowing me to channel my energies to furthering meaning not only in my own career, but to help others thrive.
 
Q: How is the SA economy, and business in general, likely to be reshaped post
 
A: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore and exacerbated many underlying systemic challenges the country faces. Constructing a post-COVID economy is further constrained by a diminishing tax base, spiralling public debt and an increase in public expenditure from extending access to healthcare facilities. The way forward involves a rethink around the opportunity set to reignite economic growth, while the execution of this strategy requires a co-ordinated effort on the part of both business and government in the reconstruction of a stakeholder-centric economy.

 

- Author Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences
Published by Liesl Oosthuizen

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