Honoree arms graduates with wise words to prepare them for work

Sindi Mabaso-Koyana
Sindi Mabaso-Koyana

Speaking at the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) graduation on Friday, 12 April 2019, Sindi Mabaso-Koyana reminded graduates that receiving a qualification was only the first part of the journey and that they needed more to succeed.

“You have not yet arrived. Now brace yourselves for the next leg of the journey,” said Mabaso-Koyana. “The work life will require the same perseverance, endurance, resilience and hard work you now know you have.”

Mabaso-Koyana explained to graduates that there were other qualities that they needed to learn for the world of employment and that it would have been easier if these qualities were taught at home. These qualities are advocacy, attitude, being an economic and social activist, emotional intelligence, entrepreneurship, integrity and ethical conduct, investing in yourself and value of abundance, not fear.

Mabaso-Koyana said that although the qualifications would open doors, graduates would need positive and strong attitude to succeed in the workplace. “An attitude that is open to learning, respect, always going an extra mile and showing up at your best and on time,” said Mabaso-Koyana. “Be deliverables focused than a time keeper. Always appreciate the role that your small contribution does to the greater vision of the organisation.”

Mabaso-Koyana, a Chartered Accountant, also reminded graduates to be “advocates of financial discipline without waiting for it to be an instruction from the top”. She explained: “It may be too late by the time people at the top realise the company is battling whereas you had an opportunity to stop it when you could.  That is what will set you apart from the rest.”

As the job opportunities continue to be scarce, Mabaso-Koyana told graduates to become economic and social activists who take full advantage of opportunities around them. “South Africa has a number of youth development programmes. I encourage you to seek these platforms, not just as beneficiaries but also to offer your skills in also paying it forward,” she said. “You are the innovators, creators, builders and leaders of tomorrow.”

Some of the most important qualities that the graduates have to embrace, as Mabaso-Koyana explained, are integrity and ethical conduct. “I would like you to remember that whilst corruption gets pinned at government, we need to always remember that the other party to the corrupt transaction is usually business, and the private sector.” she said. “Therefore as you join the business world, whether as an employee or an entrepreneur, remember that integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking, always! Your personal worth is more than your material worth.”

As major changes continue to happen I the job market, with technology being the driving force, Mabaso-Koyana told graduates to continuously invest in themselves, not just as a professional exercise but also for self-development which will help improve self-belief and self-worth. Investing in themselves will help graduates seek new opportunities and even become entrepreneurs. “I am pleased to see BEE being reshaped,” said Mabaso-Koyana. “In the early stages of BEE, we focused on ownership, we moved to tenderpreneurship, we are slowly moving into being operators. But this is growing at a very slow pace; you are our hope as the generation that makes things and grow the economy instead of us just playing musical chairs.”

Mabaso-Koyana closed her addressed with a stern reminder that there is an abundance of business opportunities that graduates should take advantage of. “Go out there knowing that amidst the challenges of this world, this world is your oyster and presents a number of opportunities.

“Approach the world and your daily life with an attitude that says: “There are so many life challenges to be solved.  Which ones do I want to take on? Roll up your sleeves and shake off the sense of entitlement. Let’s not scramble in trying to slice the pie into many pieces, but go out there and make many pies,” said Mabaso-Koyana.