Alumnus profile: Dr Mpinda Mvita

Posted on November 09, 2020

“Being a student can be a complex, frustrating and time-consuming exercise. However, with the right preparation, some sound advice, and a thorough understanding of the task at hand, your years as a UP student can be some of the most rewarding of your life. You must learn to embrace challenges rather than avoid them. You must choose to see challenges as fun opportunities to learn and grow. Occasional failure is part of the process and no reason to quit.” Having heeded his own advice during his years as a student at UP, Dr Mpinda Mvita not only obtained two master’s degrees, he was recently also awarded his PhD in Financial Management Sciences. While this may be considered the pinnacle of success, going forward, he has several more goals. Read more about his career, his favourite reading matter and the person he most admires…
Q: Briefly summarise your career since graduating from UP, with special mention of specific highlights/milestones.
A: I graduated from the University of Pretoria three times: with a Master’s degree in Financial Management Sciences in 2012, a Master’s degree in Economics in 2017 and a PhD in Financial Management Sciences in 2020. Over the last 13 years I have also been part of the Education Sector (Public Sector).
Q: To what extent did your studies at UP benefit you in your career and contribute to your success?
A: Working towards a master’s degree can be daunting, but it’s also an extremely rewarding goal, one that many professionals should strive for. With a master’s degree, your career path will take a completely different trajectory than without one; a trajectory that leads you towards being as successful and respected as possible on your career path.
By obtaining one, so many opportunities will open up to you, both professionally and personally. For me particularly, one of those opportunities led me to do research into niche topics and allowed me to strengthen my finance and economics background, which gave me the courage to embark on a PhD programme.
Getting a PhD is an introduction to the world of independent research – a kind of intellectual masterpiece created by a student in close collaboration with a supervisor and co-supervisor. In my case, the PhD programme gave me an opportunity to be supervised by Prof Leon Brümmer and Prof Hendrik Wolmarans from the Department of Financial Management Sciences, who are the best experts in the area of financing decisions as well as distribution policies.
Q: Given your academic experience at UP, what advice can you pass on to current students?
A: Being a student can be a complex, frustrating and time-consuming exercise. However, with the right preparation, some sound advice, and a thorough understanding of the task at hand, your years as a UP student can be some of the most rewarding of your life. Students must learn to embrace challenges rather than avoid them. They must see challenges as fun opportunities to learn and grow. As far I am concerned, I had moments of happiness and sadness. When things did not go my way, I embraced them and moved forward believing that one day I will pull through and it happened.
Failure is a normal part of the learning process and without failure there is usually also no success. Failure brings a shock to your system; it is a reminder that you must dig deeper and come up with better answers. As a result, there is no need to give up.
Q: What, in your opinion, is the foundation of a successful business/company/consultancy/organisation?
A: Having a successful business is the dream of every entrepreneur. From a theoretical perspective, it is expected that one must have an idea, start a business, get customers, and then scale quickly and start making money. However, from a practical point of view it rarely happens that easily as it requires a meticulously conceived and well-executed plan to set you on your path to success.
Having a vision is a point of reference. The key is to think things through and lay a foundation that will not be shaken when uncertainty or adversity knocks at the door and threatens to destroy what you have built. In addition, the following must be considered:
  • Find out about the product you are going to sell, who you are going to sell it to, and how you are going to sell it;
  • Come up with the best marketing strategy; and
  • Look for the appropriate team that you need to build your business and get your product into the market.
Q: Which business/trade-related publications (magazines/newspapers/blogs, etc) do you enjoy reading?
A: I watch Bloomberg Financial News live, read the African Business magazine, and read articles in the area of finance and economics from journals such as the Journal of Finance and the Review of Financial Studies, to name but two.
Q: What really inspires and motivates you personally?
A: I am inspired by the risk to start something I have no idea how to complete. I am inspired by seeing people go for something new – anything that has the possibility for failure gets my heart pumping and creative juices flowing. The satisfaction of overcoming an obstacle after enduring the pressure and the narrative that what I am doing brings change or social mobility in the lives of people, are my greatest motivations.
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: Former President Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki for his leadership skills, for what he has given to the African people and continues to give to this day. If I were to meet him, the first discussion will be on how to strengthen leadership in Africa across all sectors in general. The second discussion will be on the role of scholars and leadership in rebuilding the African continent.
Q: Going forward, what are your professional/business/personal goals?
A: Going forward, I would like to publish more often to contribute to the body of knowledge, learn more from other researchers,  get a professional qualification in the area of Finance and Management Accounting and ultimately become a professor.
Q: Lastly, COVID-19 has turned the world upside down. In your opinion, to what extent is the pandemic likely to impact globalisation/international trade?
A: Globalisation will look hugely different after the COVID-19 pandemic. In essence, the virus is accelerating the transformation of globalisation. The closure of borders and travel bans paralysed production in certain sectors, reduced supply chains, and import and export restrictions have led to the slowing of the economy worldwide and people have been forced to work from home.
There is no doubt in my mind that the worldwide interconnectedness of goods, services, capital, people, data and ideas has produced undeniable benefits. However, during this pandemic, the risk of dependency has been highlighted, especially for certain African countries where the economy cannot be operated to full capacity.
This is not the end of globalisation, but countries are likely to see a different, more limited version of international trade than the one we have known over recent decades.
- Author Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences
Published by Nonkululeko Kubeka Moyo

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