BCOM Accounting Students Excel at Student Leadership Summit
Proving their ability to think critically and analyse global commercial trends, five UKZN BCom Accounting students made it into the Top 30 in the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) Student Leadership Summit essay competition.
The students – Mr Ujir Soni, Mr Christian Ishimwe, Mr Ashton Harichand, Mr Pratish Hansjee and Ms Thozama Joyi - had an opportunity to network with the country’s top business leaders and chartered accountants when they were invited to attend a weekend-long summit in Johannesburg.
For the competition, the students used knowledge gathered in the classroom coupled with extensive research for essays they were required to write on one of the following three topics:
* 2014 marks the first year that teenagers who were born in “the new South Africa” have the opportunity to vote yet only 12% of South Africans aged 18-19 are registered voters. Among the age group 20-29, only 65% of those who are eligible to vote are registered. Why do you think they are not taking this opportunity that their parents fought hard to win? And, whose fault is it?
* The late former President Nelson Mandela’s legacy of showing love, peace, unity and forgiveness in the face of a country riddled with hatred and on the brink of war is known the world over. How are ordinary South Africans failing his legacy (if at all) and what can we do better?
* Rabelani Ramaali, the founder of SA Virgin Girls Awards, gives cash prizes to women who retain their virginity and says that this will curb unwanted pregnancies and the spread of HIV and AIDS. Do you think this is realistic? - Why? Why not? - If not, what would work better to curb unwanted pregnancies and HIV and Aids? If yes, how could this be expanded?
Soni, who wrote the essay on Madiba’s legacy along with Harichand, said the summit afforded him an opportunity to engage the country’s top business leaders. ‘I was able to gain a great deal of knowledge by talking to them on a one-on-one basis. They are extremely busy individuals and I appreciated having the chance to speak to them in a calm, relaxed environment.
‘The summit definitely benefited my studies as now I am more driven to achieve the CA (SA) designation. I also know that I have the support of other accounting student from around the country who will gladly help me achieve this goal,’ he said.
For Hansjee, the topic on teenagers not participating in the elections was the one that stood out as the country is celebrating 20 years of democracy and more especially since he was one of the born frees that voted this year.
‘The essay touches on the youth's perceptions of the voting process and the attitudes towards the government that resulted in poor voter turnouts. It is certainly a worrying trend because the youth are the future leaders of South Africa. Through the summit, I have gained a wealth of first-hand knowledge from many business leaders who have been down the CA route that I am currently travelling on.
‘I had the privilege of networking with some of South Africa's corporate big shots which was very insightful and it also improved my interpersonal communication skills,’ said Hansjee.
Ishimwe who also wrote about the youth not voting said the youth need inspirational figurer In this exciting yet challenging degree with a vision that speaks to the younger generation. He described the summit as an opportunity to harness his leadership skills as a future Charted Accountant.
‘Skills such as networking, leadership and presentation are critical in an ever changing profession and so i was motivated in accumulating such skills while still at university. I was also interested in meeting other like-minded accounting students from across South Africa that where achieving incredible things outside their studies. Meeting top CEO's and Directors really inspired me to persevere in this exciting yet challenge degree,’ said Ishimwe.