For Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting graduates Mr Mason Gounden, Mr Thabiso Nzuza and Mr Mikailen Naidoo receiving their degrees summa cum laude is proof that hard work and dedication are synonymous with success.
‘My three years of study were filled with stress, hard work, fun and excitement, not forgetting the early mornings and late nights. Now I have made myself and my family proud,’ said Gounden.
His fondest memories of his undergraduate experience include attending classes on the Westville campus, running to catch the last bus home and enjoying cafeteria food with new and old friends.
‘Online learning was new and strange at first, but I personally prefer learning from home. It does have its own challenges though. That’s why my advice to students is to not let anything hold them back from their goals,’ he said.
With hopes of pursuing a career as a chartered accountant, Gounden is looking forward to what the future holds.
‘My high school Accounting teacher signed up a group of students for a workshop at one of the big four accounting firms and I was one of them. Speaking with and observing the trainees and auditors at work, I knew that is what I wanted to do,’ he said.
‘The BCom Accounting degree allows me to work for any company, as every firm requires accounting personnel, regardless of the industry. I also want to work overseas, which is possible with this qualification.’
Nzuza who was awarded UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor Scholarship for excellent first-year results and named the Top African Student at UKZN’s South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) Awards for his second-year performance defines graduating summa cum laude without his great-grandmother as a bittersweet moment.
‘Losing my great-grandmother during my second year of study was a life changing moment. She contributed a lot to the young man I am as she always emphasised the importance of education and I know that she would have been very proud of my achievement,’ he said.
The top achiever is currently pursuing a Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting. ‘I have always aspired to be a chartered accountant, ever since I heard about the qualification from my Grade 7 teacher,’ said Nzuza.
He added that pursuing this degree was a rollercoaster ride but overall an enriching experience. ‘I am looking forward to completing my postgraduate diploma and serving articles as a trainee accountant which is important in achieving the ultimate goal of pursuing a career in Chartered Accountancy.’
For Naidoo, his academic excellence was not only rewarded with a UKZN Vice-Chancellor’s scholarship during his second year but also secured him funding for his studies.
‘I’m grateful for the awards I received for being a top student throughout my undergraduate studies as well as the funding I received over the years. These were truly strong motivating factors that convinced me to stay on track even when things seemed bleak,’ he said.
While he aspires to be a chartered accountant, Naidoo is also exploring his interest in Information Technology.
‘I have recently completed a course in HTML and am currently undergoing courses in Java and C# on an online programming learning platform. This qualification is the first step towards becoming a chartered accountant by 2025,’ he said.
‘I hope to use my competencies and technical skills attained during my studies to potentially pursue other professional qualifications in the accounting and finance fields.’
Words: Thandiwe Jumo
Photographs: Abhi Indarajan