04 Jun 2019

Excellence should be mandatory

Caroline Edey van Wyk

Digital content specialists, Investec

Mmane Boikanyo on resilience in the face of difficulties and how excelling at Maths led to a life-changing Investec bursary.

Current position

Marketing Manager, TuksSport (University of Pretoria)

Qualifications

  • BCom Communication Management (University of Pretoria)
  • Advanced Certificate in Emerging Markets and Risk Analysis (Fordham University)
  • Programme in Management Development (Gordon Institute of Business Science) – currently completing

First job

Corporate Manageress Intern at P Management

Your top tip to young women graduates looking to enter the working world?

Focus on mastering the tactics of your job and never stop upskilling. Be crystal clear on your career vision, so that you know exactly what skills you need to secure that dream role.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received about your career?

Excellence should be mandatory, always. Don’t get distracted by things like gender inequality, ageism or racism, because what you deliver will be the true judge of your competence and potential. 

What book are you reading? Taming Tigers by Jim Lawless

What podcast are you listening to? Super Soul Sunday on Spotify

Do you have any CV tips? Make sure you do a lot of research about your respective industry and make sure your CV is designed to fit your targeted job requirements.

Mmane grew up in Hillbrow with her mom and sister, before moving to Soweto when she was 11 to live with her stepdad and her two brothers. Having never finished high school herself, her mother was always extremely pro-education and together, her parents instilled in her a strong work ethic. Mmane went through the Investec Promaths programme in high school and was awarded an Investec bursary for her tertiary education. She's now the Marketing Manager at TuksSport.

How did your parents lead by example?  


Even when circumstances were difficult, my parents showed me how things should be done. Simply by arriving at events on time, cooking for others or leading the proceedings at family events – these small actions made a big impact on me.


When you were in primary school your stepfather was retrenched, putting your family under severe financial strain. What did you do to help?


This was an extremely difficult time because my mum had to financially support four children, including one already in varsity. I began selling sweets, crisps (mazimba) and lipgloss to make some money so that I could afford my school uniform, hair and bags in high school. 


What makes people respond the way you did in difficult circumstances?


I think I was resilient and resourceful because I could always look beyond our current circumstances and envision a better future. That period taught me to work hard, to be persistent and to have patience. Most importantly, it taught me humility and to respect everyone I came across, because they may be dealing with challenges too. 


How did you become a part of Investec’s Promaths programme, and how did it impact your future?


It was thanks to my Mathematics teacher in Grade 10, Mr Phatlane, who sent the top Maths students in the grade (including myself) to Makhorane for extra lessons. Promaths is a partnership between Investec and the Kutlwanong Centre for Maths, Science and Technology which provides extra tuition in Maths and Science to learners in Grades 10 to 12.

 

Being part of the programme helped me get a distinction in Maths, which led to a R10 000 contribution to my tuition. It taught me discipline and made me realise that there are many gifted people in the world, so I needed to work extra hard to stand out from the rest. 

Mmane Boikanyo
Mmane Boikanyo, Marketing Manager, TuksSport (University of Pretoria)

What you deliver will be the true judge of your competence and potential.

After matric, you went to the University of Pretoria on an Investec bursary. How stiff was the competition to be accepted for the bursary, and how did you prepare for the interviews?


There was a lot of competition to get that bursary, especially considering that I was competing against 30 amazing students from all over South Africa – all of whom had outstanding grades and extraordinary potential. 


I prayed and reflected a lot about my life: I knew I needed that bursary to be able to go to university, and I knew that education was my only escape from poverty. I found a few questions online regarding what to expect from an interview, and I practiced my answers repeatedly in order to deliver a clear message to the panel as authentically as I could. Luckily for me, I was granted that bursary and my life changed.


Tell us about your years at university and what drew you to marketing. 


My first year at university was challenging as I had to adjust to the change of environment, but by the second year, I’d settled in. I was drawn to marketing because of my passion for interacting with people: I love the rush of understanding an organisation’s objectives and then crafting a strategy that will appeal to their target audience. 


In your current role as TuksSport Marketing Manager you lead a team of seven. What do you think defines a good leader? 


A good leader leads others by tapping into their strengths and potential. You should also be open to vulnerability and feedback, because you’re working with people after all, not robots. Most importantly, a good leader should empower their team rather than micro-manage them. 


What are your career ambitions?


I’d like to get a Masters within the next three years. One day, I’d like to become a Director or Executive who specialises in Marketing and Communications, or Corporate Strategy.


Do you think ongoing learning is important? How do you manage studying and work responsibilities?


Ongoing learning is crucial if you want to stay relevant and competitive. What you know now might become irrelevant in five years’ time, so you should always be open to acquiring new skills. 


In terms of balancing studying and work responsibilities, you need to be pedantic about your schedule and routine - that is the only way to find a balance. When you have a set routine, you’re able to stay disciplined, especially on the difficult days. 


Keen to learn more about getting involved in the Promaths programme? Find out more.

Women on the rise

Read more inspirational stories from Investec women in education.

About the author

Caroline Edey-van Wyk

Caroline Edey-van Wyk

Brand Editor

Colloquially known as Investec’s “storyteller,” Caroline curates and produces all the content that underpins Investec's Out of the Ordinary brand promise. She works across the business but specialises in the areas of Sustainability, CSI, Sponsorships and HR. Caroline holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree in Political Science and Broadcasting - cum laude. Before she joined Investec she was a broadcast journalist at Sky News and eNCA.

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