A Year of Realised Dreams for PhD Graduate

Dr Masibulele Phesa.
Dr Masibulele Phesa.

Two months after a fulfilling trip to Harvard Business School, Chartered Accountant (CA), registered auditor and senior lecturer in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Dr Masibulele Phesa has graduated with a Doctor of Accountancy.

‘It has always been my dream to go to Harvard and to be called Doctor. Those who know me will tell you that I used to say I will not die as Mr Phesa, but as Dr Phesa and with God’s grace both those dreams were realised this year,’ he said.

Phesa visited Harvard Business School as part of an academic exchange programme that aims to facilitate collaboration and knowledge exchange among academic professionals globally, fostering a diverse and enriching academic environment. He was exposed to a wealth of knowledge from scholars around the globe and explored research opportunities and received publishing advice from host Professor Anywhere Sikochi.

Phesa’s PhD study aimed to develop an auditing framework for the chairperson’s statement to curb the use of impression management by JSE-listed companies. The framework was developed based on auditors’ perceptions. Given that non-financial information has become twice as important as financial information, the findings will benefit standard setters, auditing firms, and the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors in promoting and providing guidelines to audit non-financial information.

‘As an emerging scholar, this qualification is the starting point to become a seasoned academic. I am grateful for being part of the research programme at the University and for building a platform to supervise more masters and PhD students. I graduated alongside my second master’s student, Mr Sithandiwe Mgoyana,’ he said.

Phesa dreamt of becoming a CA from an early age and when he achieved this goal in 2018, he decided to explore the field of accountancy further through academic research. He graduated with a Master of Accountancy cum laude in 2022.

He is grateful to the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance for funding his Harvard experience and his supervisors, Professor Mabutho Sibanda and Ms Zamanguni Gumede for their guidance.

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga

Photograph: Sethu Dlamini

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