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UKZN Graduate making her mark in the Finance World

2016/12/02 11:40:30 AM

A Chartered Accountant (CA) qualification continues to open doors for career growth for UKZN Accounting graduate Ms Risha Rajkumar.

Ms Risha Rajkumar.

Winning the annual Ellie Newman Moot Court competition, beating 320 participants by showcasing outstanding legal skills, is a sure sign that fourth-year Law student Mr Elisha Kunene is equipped for success in the legal profession.

Kunene competed in the Moot final - hosted by the School of Law in Durban - alongside finalists Ms Jolene Thompson, Mr Andile Mabaso and Mr Connor Alexander.

The finalists displayed their legal prowess in front of judges, Law School academics Professor Karthy Govender, Ms Lindiwe Maqutu, Professor Tanya Woker and Mr Vishal Surbun as well as family and friends.

A highlight at the final was third-year Law student Mr Andile Mcineka being awarded the Yunus Mohammed Public Interest Law Award by Madam Justice Dhaya Pillay for his article: “Winnie Getting the Short End of the Stick”, which was published in The Sunday Tribune.

The award recognises Mcineka’s valuable contribution to knowledge in the field of public law.

‘There was depth in his argument; he drew on judgments in a coherent manner; it was a pleasure interacting with him…’ these were some of the comments made by the judges on Kunene’s performance before his announcement as the winner which was greeted with resounding applause and a standing ovation from the audience.

‘Winning the Ellie Newman award means the world to me. It’s literally a dream come true. My time in ‘varsity has been quite difficult in a number of ways but I was determined to finish strongly and I sort of viewed this year as a rebuilding period,’ says Kunene.

‘Earlier in the year a good friend of mine and I won the Southern African National Debating Championships and I ranked first in the country. So I really feel like God is with me on this winning streak.’

The great debater who used his skills to coach school debating teams to generate funds for his university tuition got academic merit scholarships from UKZN for his first and second year. However, monetary challenges nearly saw Kunene being financially excluded in his second year.

‘In a remarkable turn of events I was able to stay and complete my studies thanks to a generous intervention by Norton Rose Fulbright. The firm and I parted ways this year but I will always be grateful to them and to everyone else who have contributed to keeping me going,’ he said.

Looking to the future, Kunene said: ‘I have been granted the great privilege of being accepted to clerk for Justice Raymond Zondo at the Constitutional Court next year.’  His long-term plans include becoming an advocate.

Thandiwe Jumo
A Chartered Accountant (CA) qualification continues to open doors for career growth for UKZN Accounting graduate Ms Risha Rajkumar.

She has come a long way from her days as a UKZN BCom Accounting student who benefited from a bursary from the Shoprite Group to finance her undergraduate studies.

Rajkumar is currently the Designate Salary Accounts Manager at Shoprite’s Cape Town headquarters.

‘The Chartered Accountancy profession opens the door to a wide variety of exciting career opportunities because you gain an in-depth and holistic understanding of the business environment,’ said Rajkumar. ‘During training you are rated on both technical and professional skills. The development of my professional skills - such as managing and leading, delegating, and being an effective communicator - have been essential to my career growth.

‘My job is the ideal combination of accounting, problem solving and interacting with people – so it is never dull or mundane, each day is completely different. I spend the majority of my time problem solving, providing guidance, leading people and ensuring that risks are identified and actively managed.

‘I am currently being groomed to take over from someone who has fulfilled the role for more than 20 years,’ she said.

Rajkumar intends to continue growing her career within the Shoprite Group while lecturing part time.

‘Aside from working at Shoprite I have a passion for lecturing and for the past two years I have been lecturing part time at a private institution to students who are completing various auditing modules at undergraduate and postgraduate (CTA) level. My career goal has always been to work with, lead and inspire large groups of people and to strive for excellence on a professional and personal level. I hope to do this on a much larger scale over the next few years,’ she added.

Thandiwe Jumo

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