Tsitsi Hatendi-Matika (pictured right) was one of the lucky few. In 2013, she landed a dream role as the head of fixed income and fixed income portfolio manager at Afena Capital in Cape Town. She’d worked hard to get there, even completing a Master’s in Finance in London, but she felt limited by her specialized role.
“I was getting frustrated when I had questions around strategy and where the business was going, and in general about our sector,” she says. “The thing that excited me was strategic thinking.”
She knew she would need generalist training to break out of this box, so in 2016, she turned to the MBA at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. But even Tsitsi didn’t anticipate how much the MBA would help her blaze a trail for other South African women of color in finance.
“The MBA created a golden thread through my career”
Once she enrolled in the UCT MBA, Tsitsi was surprised by how rapidly she was able to expand her skill set.
The MBA at UCT offers core courses on numerous topics within three key subject areas, all of which target the high-level strategy that excited Tsitsi:
- Business and leadership in global contexts
- Managing complex environments
- Strategic decision-making in changing environments
Alongside this training, feedback from students and professors helped her sharpen her thinking and act decisively, making quick decisions that were backed by evidence.
“The MBA really connected the dots and created a golden thread through my career,” she says. “It allowed me to see the pathways I could take to utilize my strengths and be more generalist in my thinking.”
These are effects that she still feels today.
“I started thinking of life in case studies,” she laughs. “In those two years, I was constantly being fed information – it was like being a supercharged individual who’s constantly a thinking machine.”
“On the MBA, I didn’t feel like a minority”
In addition to broadening her skillset, Tsitsi hoped the MBA would help her build a network in her region. The inclusive nature of the program meant this happened fast.
“Being in financial services and having been in very technical roles, I was used to being the only female or female of color in the room,” she says. “Inclusion was lacking in my circle of interaction at the time.
“But on the MBA, I didn’t feel like a minority. It’s nice to walk into a room where that’s not an issue – it gives you the ability to focus on what matters.”
This inclusive atmosphere fostered authentic connections not only with her classmates but with students in other programs and peer groups besides her own. She even amassed an international network, thanks to the global crop of students at the business school.
“It’s made me an inclusion warrior”
The impact of expanding her strategic thinking in an inclusive learning environment had a profound effect on Tsitsi’s career.
First, it enabled her to explore opportunities outside her specialized niche. Tsitsi took on roles as a portfolio manager at Old Mutual Investment Group, head retail investment specialist at Barclays Africa, and head of marketing and investment communications at Absa Group before arriving in her current position as client director at Ninety One.
As well as giving her the power to see the bigger picture within her organization, it also inspired her to apply her strategic mindset and big-picture thinking outside her current role.
“It’s made me an inclusion warrior,” she says. “I’m constantly aware that there are young people coming into the industry and I don’t want them to feel how I felt. I’m always looking for opportunities to make the environment more inclusive.”
“I wanted to be part of something greater”
Tsitsi’s efforts to increase inclusion in her sector are multiple.
She is an active member of Ninety One’s “Inspire” program, supporting affinity groups within the organization. These groups promote community between underrepresented employees, for instance, by facilitating conversations about fertility in the workplace.
Outside her organization, Tsitsi focuses her inclusion efforts on young entrants to the industry, as she feels this is where she can make the most impact.
“Representation matters,” Tsitsi says. “If someone can see someone who looks like them [succeeding], that helps them to feel like it can be done.”
She works with students at UCT, delivering confidence workshops and trying to inspire young students, especially female students, to pursue financial services careers.
She has also given talks to the Actuaries in the Making program, which brings together actuarial students from multiple universities and has participated in the CFA Society’s Pink Book initiative, showcasing the careers of women in financial services.
This ability to think strategically about solving the problems of her industry, and not just her clients or workplace, comes from the MBA.
“I wanted to be part of something that could be greater than just the company I work for,” she says.
“Before the MBA, my thinking would be more siloed – I would think of what I could do [with my current employer]. Now, I think much bigger.”
University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (UCT)
New experiences and new connections
The university is a vibrant environment with a blend of cultures and languages from around the world. The lecturers are world-renowned and give their all in ensuring that the lectures are understandable and engaging. I would definitely recommend a prospective student to enjoy the UCT experience
You can find people of every race and culture at UCT. This is especially beneficial for students from towns and rural areas. This diversity promotes self-development, foreign language study, courage, and a strong sense of moral principles. There is always academic support available, and students are given the assistance they need to succeed academically. Health care facilities are conveniently located on campus and are all easily accessible at UCT.
The programme covers all the principles necessary to understand in order excel in your career and workplace. As a computer science graduate, the programme has better prepared me for real life. Not only with programming skills but with an in-depth understanding of the field I am in. The campus is really beautiful, with a huge aspect of GREEN. There is literally plants everywhere which makes the place looks beautiful and shows the university cares for the environment. All the students are super nice too!
It was great fun and learning experience at the University of Cape Town. I believe it is ranked the top university of Africa because of its extra and exceptional way of learning which start from scratch.
The greatest thing about UCT is the amount of diversity - there are people from all over Africa and usually there are exchange students and just foreigners. The fact that it is also the top university in Africa is telling.
Best Short Courses
I recently complete the UCT marketing short online course in partnership with Getsmarter. I had a fantastic experience. I would recommend this to anyone. It take Up to 3 month to complete the course. There is a variety to chose from. It is great to help you advance in your career but it will not take years to complete. Great way to equip yourself in different areas and definitely worth the money you spent. Great tutors as well
This is the best university ever. The students' wellbeing are their top priority. During the fire that occurred at the campus, resulting in facilities such as res and libraries badly burned. The university took it upon themselves to sent us to private accommodation where they paid for our stay. I will never forget that experience and will always be grateful for what UCT has done!
I started my journey at the university of Cape Town in 2019, as a foreign students I can say it was accommodating and not even a day did I feel discriminated. It has good facilities and ranked one of the best university in South Africa. The fees are expensive though especially for foreign students
Brilliant for FM career
The courses were interactive and the lecturer and support staff were supportive. There was a wealth of knowledge in the casework and the outcomes were realistic and relevant to the industry. The assessments were clear and unambiguous.
UCT is a prestigious institution known for its high academic standards, research excellence, and contributions to the global academic community. The university has a diverse and experienced faculty, many of whom are renowned experts. UCT's campus is located on the slopes of Table Mountain, offering stunning views and a picturesque environment for students to study and socialize. The school is also a hub for research and innovation. contrary to that, UCT's tuition and living costs can be a barrier for some students, and financial aid options may be limited for international students. While the campus is generally safe, certain areas around the university may have safety concerns, requiring students to be mindful of their surroundings. Some undergraduate courses at UCT may have large class sizes, which could impact individualized attention and student-faculty interaction.
My overall experience has been exceptional, One of the highlights of studying at UCT is the university's renowned academic reputation. The stimulating and challenging courses provided by passionate and knowledgeable professors have allowed me to expand my knowledge and explore various fields. UCT boasts a plethora of student clubs, societies, and sports teams that cater to diverse interests. This has enabled me to pursue my passion for music by joining the university's orchestra and collaborating with fellow musicians. The campus facilities are well-maintained and modern, offering state-of-the-art libraries, laboratories, and recreational spaces. The university's commitment to sustainable practices is also commendable, with initiatives such as recycling programs and eco-friendly buildings. In terms of support services, UCT has an extensive range of resources available to students. Finally, UCT's location in the vibrant city of Cape Town adds another dimension to the student experience.