Grads at work

Click below to read more about what working graduates have to say about their world at work with our featured employers.


Age: 24
Place of Study: University of Pretoria
Qualification: BEng (Industrial Engineering), BSc (Honours) (Financial Engineering)

While I was studying at the University of Pretoria, I attended a career day there and had the chance to meet representatives from a number of consulting firms. This gave me a broad view of the opportunities available in the field and insight into the kind of work that these companies carry out

After graduating, I joined Accenture as an analyst. I specialise in analytics and my role involves building analytical models, which solve business problems, and enable informed decision-making for my clients. My responsibilities are project-specific and I interact with my colleagues and the client on a daily basis.

Last year I spent a week in Lagos and, later this year, I’ll be going to Accenture’s training centre in Chicago for training.

One of the things I really like about Accenture is that we don’t work in silos. We interact with people from different teams and disciplines all the time. I also find the opportunity to train and work in different places around the world very attractive. Last year I spent a week in Lagos and, later this year, I’ll be going to Accenture’s training centre in Chicago for training.

My working hours vary, but a normal working day would be from 08h00 to 17h00. On days when a project demands it, I obviously put in longer hours, but we have the flexibility to work a shorter day when the pressure is off.

I tend to start my day by reviewing the tasks I’ve scheduled in for that day. Only then do I deal with my e-mails and, as I like to read at least two professional articles a day, I devote some time to that if my schedule allows. Once I begin my project work for the day, I close my e-mail so that I can really concentrate on what I’m doing and only check it in intervals of 90 minutes. At the end of the day, I plan for the next day so that I’m already prepared when I get to my desk in the morning.

As far as recent developments in the company are concerned, the formation of a digital division is particularly notable. This demonstrates that Accenture is ahead of the curve when it comes to new technologies and their integration into the marketplace.

I go to gym most days and have an active social life. I particularly enjoy spending time with family, but also need to make time for on-going studies.


Age: 24
Place of Study: University of Pretoria
Qualification:BCom (Statistics)

Working as a digital business integration analyst at Accenture, no two days are the same. My role is to analyse business data and intelligence, as well as to ensure that reporting is accurate. I specialise in end-to-end processes in data warehousing environments, where I need to track data lineage from the front-end right back to its source in order to ensure that all analytical requirements are being met.

I enjoy working in a culture of innovation and find great satisfaction in coming up with more effective and efficient processes. I also enjoy initiating innovation and, for example, introduced the Leading at Accenture platform to the team on one of the projects I was working on recently. This enabled us to understand each member’s strengths better and to find ways of approaching and challenging one another constructively.

When I graduated, I was browsing opportunities in my field and I saw that applications were still open for the Accenture Graduate Programme. I applied and went through the rigorous evaluation process. This involved first doing a psychometric test and then solving a business case. This was followed by a panel interview and I was pleased to be offered a position a few weeks after that.

I begin my day with an exercise routine and start work at 08h00. My first priority is to check my e-mails and to deal with any urgent business. I then review and prioritise the tasks I have planned for the day. Apart from my analytical work, I often attend or facilitate meetings, and regularly update clients on projects in progress. I always strive to deliver the level of excellence I know our clients expect from Accenture.

My colleagues and I also aim to fully understand our clients and their needs, as well as the outcomes they desire for each specific project and for the business as a whole. We’re committed to walking the path of success with them every step of the way.

Accenture is driving a number of cool initiatives, both locally and internationally. One of these is the Accenture Innovation Index, which recognises the most innovative business solutions developed not only by large organisations but also by start-ups and SMEs. This is an important way of inspiring and rewarding entrepreneurship.

I’m also interested in working to find solutions to one of our country’s greatest challenges: youth unemployment.

After work, I go to the gym to unwind and keep fit. In my leisure time, I enjoy making time for reading and for introspection. I’m also interested in working to find solutions to one of our country’s greatest challenges: youth unemployment.

Age: 23
Place of Study: University of Western Cape
Qualification:BCom (Honours) (Information Systems)

As an analyst at Accenture, my role is to analyse the digital systems of clients in various sectors, identify where integration between existing and new technologies is required, develop a digital plan specific to the client’s needs, and oversee the integration process. In order to do this, I need not only expertise in my own field, but an understanding of the client’s strategy and the way in which digital channels can help the business to succeed.

Accenture is my natural home as I was a beneficiary of the Accenture Scholarship Trust, receiving scholarships for my final undergraduate year and my postgraduate studies. During this time, I served several internships with the firm and my conviction that it was my employer of choice grew. After graduating, I knew where I wanted to be.

The cool thing about Accenture is that it really involves its graduates in every aspect of the business, enabling them to develop their expertise and explore new directions. As every project is different, it’s also a challenging and rewarding environment to work in. As importantly, new recruits are never just dropped in the deep end. At Accenture, we have a philosophy of “ask for help and help when asked”, so there’s a culture of sharing information, both within one’s own team and within the business as a whole. Knowing that I have the committed support of my colleagues is very reassuring.

The cool thing about Accenture is that it really involves its graduates in every aspect of the business, enabling them to develop their expertise and explore new directions.

In general, I work from 08h00 to 17h00, although I do work overtime when required. No day is typical, though, as our schedules and activities are defined by the nature of the projects we work on. I often work on-site at the client’s premises, and then the project schedule determines my day. Even so, decisions taken at any point during the course of a project can completely change the focus and direction in the days that follow.

While our projects require intense focus, Accenture promotes a work/life balance, which enables me to enjoy regular jogging and swimming sessions and to indulge in my passion for cooking. I’m also working on my Diploma in Social Media and Digital Marketing so, needless to say, that takes up quite a bit of my time!

The most important advice I can offer future graduates is: choose to work in an organisation that challenges you. Prepare well for the interview process. It’s important to know about the firm, its clients and some of the key challenges they’re facing, in order to make an impression.

Age: 25
Place of Study: University of the Witwatersrand
University of Cape Town
Qualification: BSc (Electrical Engineering)
MSc (Biomedical Engineering)

I’m fascinated by engineering and, in particular, by developments in the biomedical field, where the equipment used by medical professionals is researched, designed and tested.

In my role as an analyst at Accenture, I use the analytical skills I acquired during my studies to identify and solve digital technology and related business issues for our clients. Each of them, from municipalities to large corporations, face unique challenges, so becoming an analyst has been a huge learning curve for me!

It’s very rewarding to be part of the development of the internet of things, especially when that involves bringing the incredible advancements in wearable technology into the mix.

I wanted to work for Accenture because I admired its market position, its international reach and the career development opportunities it offered. While doing my MSc, I did a two-day internship with the firm, which gave me a taste of what working in the consulting field would be like. At the end of the two days, I had to present a case study, and Accenture later invited me to join its graduate programme. My career adventure had begun.

As my colleagues will tell you, there’s no such thing as a typical working day for us. In general, I check my e-mails first thing in the morning and deal with anything urgent that may have arisen overnight. I then attend my team’s daily project review meeting, after which I prioritise my tasks for the day and get down to work.

One of the most exciting opportunities I’ve had since joining Accenture was the chance to attend a two-week training course in Chicago. This enabled me to form new working relationships and friendships, as well as to tap into Accenture’s global network. Colleagues all over the world are available 24/7 should any of us have a query about something we’re working on – and everyone is incredibly helpful.

At the moment, I believe that some of the most innovative work Accenture is doing is in the field of mobile integration in South Africa. It’s very rewarding to be part of the development of the internet of things, especially when that involves bringing the incredible advancements in wearable technology into the mix.

In my personal time, I enjoy going to the gym every evening. I also enjoy baking, a hobby which usually elicits raised eyebrows when I tell people about it. As I have such an analytical career, baking gives me a creative outlet – and I get to eat what I’ve made!


Age: 23
Place of Study: University of Cape Town
Qualification: BCom Accounting and Post-graduate Diploma in Accounting

I am a second-year Chartered Accountant (CA) audit trainee – known as a “senior” at EY.

I perform the more complex sections of the audit engagement and assist the first-year audit trainees with their allocated tasks. The seniors on the engagement are the first point of contact for the first years. We provide the information to the supervisors (third-year trainees) about the status of the audit.

…it’s in your best interests to get involved and just experience how different companies operate and, more importantly, how they interact with their employees.

I am one of the fortunate ones who joined the firm through its university bursary programme. I met a few EY representatives at a career fair in my first year at UCT. They invited me to apply for the bursary programme, which I did. During the interview process I enjoyed the general atmosphere in the EY offices in Cape Town; people looked and sounded happy, which cemented my resolve to join the organisation.

A typical working day is 08h00 to 17h00. In peak audit periods, such as January, we work overtime because there is a large amount of audit work to be done and limited time between the client’s financial year end and the deadline for the audited financial statements.

My day starts with a cup of coffee or tea and a read of an article or two on MoneyWeb, followed by the work allocation to see what needs to be done for the day. The work performed can always be reshuffled among the team, based on the deadlines set internally or externally by the client. We take a team midday lunch break, which gives us time to interact in a social setting. The job involves working with clients throughout the day, so consultations may be required to discuss audit engagement topics with client representatives.

The coolest thing EY is doing at the moment has to be its Ethical Ambassador Project, which the company is pursuing in partnership with the University of Johannesburg. The project encourages students to be responsible citizens in pursuit of building a successful ethical society. EY participates in a blog where students can engage with trainee accountants on topical issues relating to ethics.

My priorities outside work include family, sports, travelling and reading. I play social sports – I love soccer and I play for my local church team as well as for the EY social club. I spend a decent amount of time going to the gym and reading autobiographies and any financial literature.

My advice to graduates is to get as much exposure as possible during your time at university. Although vacation work or internships may not give you the absolute sense of what it is to work for a company, it’s in your best interests to get involved and just experience how different companies operate and, more importantly, how they interact with their employees. With that, you will be best positioned to pick the company for which you want to work.


Age: 26
Place of Study: University of the Witwatersrand
University of Johannesburg
Qualification:Bachelor of Accounting Science
CTA Honours in Accounting

I am a second-year Chartered Accountant (CA) audit trainee – known as a “senior” at EY.

I’m a third-year trainee audit supervisor at EY, one level below management level, which means I help to plan and run audits.

I am also responsible for coaching and on-the-job training for the junior members of the engagement team. I work closely with our clients, notifying them if there are any issues with their audits and giving them status updates. I liaise with other departments in EY if they need to assist on the audit.

As a supervisor, I ensure there is team participation – and keep the stress as low as possible. I try to be there for my team; if they are having any issues, they should feel free to come to me or another supervisor for help and support.

Lastly, I am responsible for the review of a client’s annual financial statements.

I became interested in EY when I spoke to some of the trainees at a careers day at university. They were all super friendly and really enthusiastic about their workplace so I applied for a trainee accountant position.

I normally work a full eight-hour day on any regular client, but the start time and end time is dependent on the particular client and management. If there is a tight audit deadline and the team’s work needs to be completed by a specific date I do work overtime.

On a typical day, I arrive at the client before the rest of the team so I can prepare myself for the day, which includes assisting the junior staff. I also have to do my work. It is important to find the balance between helping your team and completing your own work.

At the end of the day, we do a team status update to determine if we are on track in terms of our timeline.

The best part of my job is interacting with people in my peer group. On each audit, you work with different teams and you are constantly meeting new people and making new friends. It is also fascinating to work with different clients and learn the ins and outs of different types of organisations.

The coolest thing the company is doing is helping some of its clients with their listing process. This gives you the opportunity to learn what is required for a company to list on an exchange.

The best part of my job is interacting with people in my peer group. On each audit, you work with different teams and you are constantly meeting new people and making new friends.

I really enjoy being active when I am not working – I run, work out at the gym and go to boot camp. I also enjoy spending lots of time with friends and family doing fun new things.

Doing things outside work is a great way to destress and relax. It is important to find that balance between work and pleasure.

My advice for interviews is: keep calm and be yourself. Also remember to be punctual for the interview and dress smartly. It is always important to make a great first impression.


Age: 24
Place of Study: University of the Witwatersrand
Qualification: Bachelor of Economic Science

I am a trainee quantitative analyst in my second year of the Nedbank Quantitative Analyst Training Programme. I work in the Group Credit Portfolio Management team under the Group Risk cluster.

My job involves preparing and analysing monthly credit risk monitoring reports as well as recalibrating the credit risk monitoring dashboards. My working hours are quite fixed – I work from 08h00 to 16h00, but every now and then I have to work a few extra hours.

I got this job after I applied and I was accepted to join the Quantitative Analyst Training Programme. The programme allows me to rotate within various clusters, teams and roles.

On a typical day I start my morning by checking and responding to any emails I may have received. I then have a quick meeting with my manager, over a glass of water, to discuss any new deliverables that are required for the day.

The best part of my job is conducting deep-dive analysis. I get to explore and interpret data and reports to extract meaningful insights. I particularly enjoy this aspect of my job as it affords me the opportunity to showcase my problem-solving capabilities while improving business performance, empowering decision-making and providing actionable recommendations.

Be well prepared and showcase those unique attributes that distinguish you from everyone else.

When I am not at work, you can find me having a good laugh with friends and family. I also enjoy reading so whenever I get the chance I lose myself between the pages of a book.

The coolest corporate social responsibility project Nedbank is involved in at the moment is Project Naledi, for which I volunteered. It is aimed at adequately addressing the issue of South Africa’s dwindling interest in mathematics and science subjects by renovating the science lab at Thomas Mofolo Secondary School in Soweto. By renovating the science lab we seek to respond to the education crisis by creating an environment that is conducive to learning and teaching – a learning environment that motivates and equips learners to excel in mathematics and science subjects.

I am not working on any major projects at the moment, other than that of self-improvement and being a meaningful contributor to my church community.

My advice to graduates preparing for an interview is: remember that when preparation meets opportunity, success is inevitable. Be well prepared and showcase those unique attributes that distinguish you from everyone else.


Age: 24
Place of Study: University of Cape Town
Qualification: Bachelor of Business Science in Actuarial Science

I am an analyst in the Strategy and Analytics team at Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking (NCIB).

My specific focus is on strategy, which means it is my responsibility to produce strategic documents, assist with strategic planning and manage interactions with key stakeholders in strategic projects. I usually work from 08h00 to 17h30, but during busy periods these hours are extended.

When you get asked the dreaded problem-solving questions, a prospective employer wants to know how you think. Therefore, the process of breaking down the question and explaining your reasoning is more important than the answer you give.

Before I got my job, I attended a career day at my university. From there I applied for Nedbank’s Investment Banking Graduate Programme. After I made it through a stringent interview process, I became a Nedbank graduate and at the end of the programme, I received an offer to join my current team permanently.

My day depends on what project I am working on, but a typical day generally involves meetings with project stakeholders, conducting market analysis or research, and conveying the findings through presentations. Because I’m at my desk for most of the day, I try to get away for lunch at one of the numerous offerings on our campus or a Friday team lunch. It is important for me to stay up to date with current events because part of my job involves identifying key trends and insights in the industry. I therefore always have my eye on news headlines or various report releases.

The best part of my job is engaging with the people with whom I work. My team is knowledgeable, friendly and supportive, and I look forward to coming to work. As a member of the strategy team, I am exposed to all areas of the bank. I get a holistic view of how corporate and investment banking really works and insight into how big decisions are made.

When I am not working I am a very active person. I am a member of the Nedbank Running Club, I play club hockey, and I belong to a social touch rugby league. I am a mix of both an extrovert and an introvert, so while I love going out with my friends, I also love curling up with a good book.

NCIB is the result of a huge restructuring during which the investment banking and corporate businesses were merged. Being involved in a restructuring of this scale at the start of my career has been a huge learning curve for me, and it has been one of the most interesting things that Nedbank has done during my time here.

I am currently working on a special project for the executive committee – one of my team’s main clients is NCIB’s Exco. I can’t share anything further about the project.

My advice to graduates is: when you get asked the dreaded problem-solving questions, a prospective employer wants to know how you think. Therefore, the process of breaking down the question and explaining your reasoning is more important than the answer you give.


Age: 24
Place of Study: University of the Witwatersrand
Qualification: BCom Honours Corporate Finance and Investment

I am an Old Mutual Graduate in Training in the Interface Office, where I am a client liaison officer. We are responsible for client reporting, and manage all things to do with cash flow: daily control procedures, investigation and management of cash, scrip reconciliation issues to resolution, liaison with investment operations, client managers, portfolio managers, performance and attribution. I take care of investment administration, monitoring and processing cash flow for specific clients. I develop their instructions regarding their investments, which I then hand over to the portfolio managers for approval.

I heard about Old Mutual’s Graduate Accelerated Programme through the career guide when I started university and it sounded really interesting. I researched the programme further online and found it was a dynamic and stimulating financial services environment. I decided to apply, and here we are!

I work about eight hours a day, from 08h15 until 16h30, but it’s an interesting and varied eight hours.

My typical day starts with preparing any outstanding cash flow from the previous day. Then I collect all the cash flow information from my clients to produce a cash forecast for our traders. Thereafter I process the withdrawal or deposit instructions I have received from my clients. I also deal with various other queries from clients regarding their investments.

The best part of my job is helping clients and the satisfaction of knowing that I have made someone’s day easier – by answering their queries, helping with an instruction, that sort of thing. I provide services internally to our portfolio managers and externally to our clients.

My favourite thing to do is contribute to the production of quarterly reports – although it is probably also the most draining because a lot of work needs to go into it. My team and the other professional partners work together to produce these reports. They cover a three-month period and comprise a full overview of how a client has progressed in terms of return and asset allocation. It is a lot of fun to work together, but it also allows us to learn from one another. We get to pull together as a team, which fits in with the values of the company.

I love art and when I am not working, I paint. I’m also learning to play the guitar, so music takes up a lot of my free time. And I love sports so if I can get to a football game on the weekend, my day is made!

Know that you are coming into this job to work hard; you need to give it your all and offer your ideas.

My advice to graduates is: be yourself and know who you are. Know that you are coming into this job to work hard; you need to give it your all and offer your ideas. Prepare well for interviews; know about the company, about the department for which you are applying, and what it is that you want to do with your life.


Age: 24
Place of Study: University of Western Cape
Qualification: BSc Computer Science

I am a junior analyst programmer at Old Mutual.

I support the production side of the business, which means I keep the nuts and bolts going on the websites that our clients use to access their portfolios, namely My Service, My Portfolio and My Client. If there is a problem on these sites, we are there to fix it. We take care of any announcements that need to be made and services that need to be added to the sites. Other than that, there is some database administration and maintenance.

I always knew that one day I would love to work for Old Mutual. I attended a career fair at Old Mutual where I learned about the graduate programme. I was drawn to Old Mutual as it was such a large company with a growing international footprint. There are a lot of opportunities because of its size, which means there are options for growth and I am not restricted to one role in IT.

My hours are quite flexible; as long as I work 7.75 hours a day. Officially from 08h30 to 16h45, and to be available during the “call hours”, which are 08h30 to 15h45. The nice thing about IT is that you are not stuck to a desk and can work from home. I don’t live too far from the office either – about a 30-minute drive.

I was drawn to Old Mutual as it was such a large company with a growing international footprint.

I don’t have typical days – if help is needed on a website you drop everything and fix it. Usually the first thing I do is check my e-mails. After this we do a “stand-up” – a meeting – where we discuss what everyone is working on. We split up to focus on specific projects, but we also do production support for other colleagues’ problems. This way we work as a team on what needs to be done to solve any problems. It also is an opportunity to learn from one another. We also have knowledge-sharing meetings to get all the information we require for the project to go smoothly. I normally leave work around 17h00.

The best part of my job is finishing a project and seeing the final product online. I enjoy problem solving and I love that no two days are the same.

For me, the coolest thing at the moment is quite a big project on which I am working. We are building a new website. I am working with another developer, but this is a make-or-break project for me.

I work some Saturdays; we have deployments every second or third Saturday, but on Friday night I normally go out with my friends. I also game quite a lot. On Sundays I get together with a group of guys to go hiking.

My advice to graduates is: apply to as many places as you possibly can. Make sure you have options when the time comes at the end of your degree.


Age: 23
Place of Study: University of the Witwatersrand
Qualification: BSc (Eng) Metallurgy and Materials Science

I am a metallurgical engineer in training at Sasol.

My job is to learn as much as I can from the various engineering departments as well as to participate in the different activities.

I get rotated to various environments within Sasol in order to build my skillset. For example, sometimes I will be involved in the design of a pressure vessel or a review of a project – It all depends on my rotation at that time.

Most of my time is spent learning and understanding what it is that engineers do. I am following in the footprints of senior engineers. It may sound a bit dull because I am not doing my own thing – but it is important so that I know what do to when I become an engineer.

I applied for my job in my final year at university because Sasol has one of the best graduate development programmes for metallurgical engineers. After I applied, I got called in for an interview and I got placed.

I do not work overtime because I manage my time well. With the guidance of my supervisor I am able to complete all my tasks within my regular hours.

A typical day for me begins with a cup of coffee! I check my e-mail, plan my day and after that I usually meet my supervisor for feedback on the things on which I’ve worked. If there is anything that I don’t understand, this is my opportunity to raise it. After meeting with my supervisor, I get back to work. Having a plan for the day is helpful to make sure you have a productive day. Keeping my supervisor informed helps. Although we don’t meet every day, my supervisor is always available and gives me good guidance.

You must know the company is there to help you develop yourself, but your development is also your personal responsibility.

The best part of the job is practising actual engineering work, for example failure investigation. It feels good that I am adding value to the company and helping to solve a problem. As an engineer in training it is a good feeling to come up with the best solution. It is very exciting to be given a task and to apply my mind. It’s great to make a difference.

The coolest thing I am involved in at the moment is a project that entails replacing a vessel. We need to review all the recommendations and the quality assurance. This project brings many departments together in ensuring a successful result. The integration of these departments is very helpful in understanding the company, and it builds teamwork.

When I am not working I enjoy going to the gym. I also spend time with friends and I go to tutoring once a month. I also volunteer at a community outreach programme.

My advice to graduates is: research the company’s graduate programme before your interview. You must know the company is here to help you develop yourself, but your development is also your personal responsibility.


Age: 25
Place of Study: University of the Witwatersrand
Qualification: Bachelor of Science in Metallurgical engineering and Material Science

I am a metallurgical engineer in training at Sasol, where I work in the plant support division at Sasol Synfuels, which operates the world’s only commercial coal-based synthetic fuels manufacturing facility.

Metallurgical engineering is the study of metals. We combine theory and practice in the mining, extraction, design and processing of metals, as well as how metals react to environmental changes or stress.

Sasol has designed a rotational programme that allows its graduates in training to develop as well-rounded engineers. My role is to provide metallurgical support to the plants for which my team is responsible. This ranges from conducting metallurgical failure investigations, to providing remediation recommendations after equipment failures and providing the plant with metallurgical solutions from a materials points of view.

The company takes care of its people and provides you with opportunities to grow. There are also plenty of challenges that force you out of your comfort zone.

I found out about the company in matric, and my interest grew when I was in university because Sasol is one of the country’s largest investors in capital projects, skills development and technological research and development. I was drawn to apply for a bursary because of this focus on innovation. My application was successful and I started working at the company the year after I finished university.

I work from 07h30 until 16h30 on a normal basis on weekdays. During shutdown I sometimes have to work longer because of the volume of work. I also sometimes have to come in on weekends during shutdown.

On a typical day when I arrive at work I check what my meeting schedule looks like, prepare for any meetings I might have, conduct failure investigations, write memos if required and engage with colleagues on metallurgical issues.

The best part of my job is that the people are very welcoming and treat you with respect and behave in a professional manner, which naturally forces you to behave the same. The company takes care of its people and provides you with opportunities to grow. There are also plenty of challenges that force you out of your comfort zone. You are given many learning opportunities which are worthwhile and help you to build on your technical skills.

When I am not working I take time to relax and do social things, like have lunch with friends.

My advice to future graduates is: build good professional relationships and get mentors who can help you project your career in the right direction. You need to put yourself out there and make yourself visible. Be eager to learn from experienced people in your field because universities don’t teach you all you need to know.