|1986 Budget Speech Competition winner
Profile for Anél Bosman, 1987 Budget Speech Competition winner
In 1987, during my honours year at the University of Johannesburg, I participated in the Old Mutual/Nedbank Budget Speech Competition, and was the university’s representative at the finals where I became the first woman to win the award. At the time, the winner received a bursary to University of Cambridge.
It was my first trip overseas and I had to apply for a passport- something I had never done before. Everything about this opportunity was a new experience and let’s not forget that English was my second language and a major challenge for me as a student from Afrikaans learning institutions. It took some time for me to overcome the language barrier and I often studied with a dictionary next to me.
But despite these challenges, the experience was worth it, the exposure, the debates, the quality of the education, the friends, the different ways of seeing the world. The long hours and the sheer volume of work were worth it, the entire experience was an incredible growth opportunity and forced me to embrace the new and unexpected. It was at the height of the drive to free Nelson Mandela and looking at South Africa from the outside and through the eyes of fellow students, deepened my awareness of the inequalities and social injustices in our country.
Any studies we take on, are about a new way of thinking, enquiring, and applying knowledge to a problem. It taught me to be curious, to ask questions, to explore a different type of thinking and see the world from a different perspective and to jump! Jumping into the unknown and realising that it can be done gave me the confidence to stretch myself and that often lead to amazing opportunities.
I came back to South Africa during a difficult economic cycle, and after a rather long search found a job as a desk economist at one of the discount houses. Soon one of the traders left, and I volunteered to take over an equity options book. I had to study the specific maths very quickly, but the trader in me was born. My willingness to put my hand up and take up opportunities were something I learned and realised that risk of the unknown is often rewarded by new experiences and new knowledge.
Over the past 20 years at Nedbank, I was fortunate enough to have many different roles, CRO, COO Managing Executive for Markets, to name a few. In 2020, just as lockdown started, I stepped intothe role of Group Managing Executive for Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking. Looking back at my journey at the bank, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have made many lateral moves, the exposure to a variety of disciplines and the stretch that new roles brought. What a career journey!
|In which year did you enter the Budget Speech Competition?||1972|
|Why you did to enter the competition?||Informed and motivated by our lecturers|
|What was your ranking in the competition? (e.g. winner, finalist, etc)||Joint winner|
|Please share a few highlights from your experience.||To reason in Economics beyond merely my studies. Participating in the competition and meeting fellow competitors and parliamentarians at the function (in the then Parliamentary restaurant/tearoom).|
|How has participating in the competition influenced your life/career?||It enabled my ability to analyse economic magnitudes, and more specifically budgets in various walks of life, and write about it – e.g., budget motivations and analyses.|
|Any parting shots for the current round of finalists or for students wanting to enter the competition in future?||This competition has advanced from its modest beginnings to a prestigious one – and with lucrative prices enhancing further studies added in. Just participating is already a wonderful opportunity.|
|Tell us a bit more about yourself||
|Why did you enter the Budget Speech Competition?||
|What has participating in the Budget Speech Competition helped you to achieve?||
|What has participating in the Budget Speech Competition helped you to achieve?||
|Pease share a few highlights from your experience on the competition?||
|How has this experience helped you in your current job? Add a few points on your journey from finalist student to your current role.||
|In which year you entered the Budget Speech Competition?||2020|
|Why you did to enter the competition||I was inspired to enter the competition as a young individual who is inspired by progress and wanted to change lives. I wanted to use the competition as a platform to address leaders on the various changes that are much needed in the South African economy.
Among the top 40 JSE listed companies, there are only 4 female CEOs and I decided to enter the competition as a young woman calling for transformation.
I wrote to give a voice to communities such as Dutshwa, Tshamahansi, Komga, Mandela and Hammanskraal, that even 28 years into our democracy, still do not have access to clean and safe drinking, sanitation, and proper housing.
I wrote as a young individual calling for reformation to boost economic growth. Our youth needs employments and financial freedom.
|What was your ranking in the competition? (e.g. winner, finalist, etc)||Winner|
|Please share a few highlights from your experience?||The interview was my highlight of the competition. That’s where I was given a platform to speak about pressing socio-economic issues and what needs to be done to improve the livelihoods of South Africans and the economy of South Africa.
It was my highlight because I chose to use the competition as a platform to express my views on the policy, fiscal and reform changes that are needed to move South Africa forward. It remains important for young voices to be heard because they are the future of this country.
|How has participating in the competition influenced your life/career?||Participating in the competition helped me secure a permanent role in the company that I work for.
Before to winning the competition, I had just been employed as a contractor. Winning the competition helped showcase my capabilities and potential to be an asset in the organisation.
|Any parting shots for the current round of finalists or for students wanting to enter the competition in future?||Your passion for solving economic issues of South Africa comes across throughout the competition.
· The essay gets you in the competition – but your knowledge and views on pressing economic issues is what sets you apart from other contestants.
Formulate your own views on various socio-economic and political issues well. To elaborate, have your own views:
· how the South African economy can be improved (what needs to change?)
· how various government decisions and policies are likely to impact the economy and the kind of budget the Minister of Finance should draw up etc.
I would encourage finalists or students wanting to enter the competition to follow current affairs and engage in dialogues pertaining to the economic issues of South Africa.
|In which year did you enter the Budget Speech Competition?||1993|
|Why you did to enter the competition||My lecturers encouraged me to participate, and the question (on the equity considerations of VAT) was very interesting to me.|
|What was your ranking in the competition? (e.g., winner, finalist, etc)||Third (tie with Lawrence Edwards from Rhodes).|
|Please share a few highlights from your experience?||I met wonderful students from other universities, several of whom went on to become academics too such as Andrea Saayman now at North West University, Stan du Plessis (Stellenbosch University, and Lawrence Edwards (University of Cape Town.
Attending parliament for the Budget Speech was a highlight.
|How has participating in the competition influenced your life or career?||The competition was very important in determining the course of my career. During the the competition I met two top academics from UCT who offered that I do my master’s degree there. I will always be grateful to my UNISA lecturers who were so supportive of my academic journey and encouraged me to take up the offer to study further at UCT. Without that intervention, I would not have embarked on an academic career.
In 2018 the Minister of Finance appointed me to chair the panel tasked with evaluating whether VAT could be made more equitable – a topic that beautifully aligned with what I wrote about in the competition 25 years earlier!
|Any parting shots for the current round of finalists or for students wanting to enter the competition in future?||Anel Bosman, the first female winner of the competition, gave me a wonderful piece of advice which I want to pass on to you. Your career is a jungle gym, not a ladder.
Be open to evaluating opportunities that come your way; don’t think that your career will progress in a linear fashion. Enjoy the climb!
You might not know now how this competition fits into your future pans, but don’t miss the opportunity.
|In which year you entered the Budget Speech Competition?||2008|
|Why you did to enter the competition?||The research topic looked interesting, and I wanted to test my research skills.|
|What was your ranking in the competition? (e.g. winner, finalist, etc)||Third.|
|Please share a few highlights from your experience.||The experience was only a glimpse of what was waiting for me as an economist. The conceptualisation of the research process, and the analysis and writing are all components of what a practising economist do. It was a good litmus test for whether I would enjoy a career as an economist.|
|How has participating in the competition process influenced your life or career?||It affirmed my decision to practise as an economist, knowing so well that research is a lonely process at times, but very fulfilling when one’s ideas contribute to influence policy and people’s lives.|
|For those that are yet to enter, they say playing the lottery doesn’t guarantee that will win it, but you can’t win the lottery unless you play. Enter the competition and give it your best shot.
For those that are already in the competition, winning is great; so be there to win the competition. Whatever the outcome, remember: you are a winner, – from the experience of doing research, it’s a life skill.
|In which year did you enter the Budget Speech Competition?||2012|
|Why did you to enter the competition?||The question in my competition year was about the design of fiscal policy. This was three years after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and I was a young aspirant economist. The competition gave me an opportunity to address a persistent pressing issue in the decade after 2010. I wanted to use the Old Mutual and Nedbank platform to give an informed perspective on the potential direction of public policy for the country.
|What was your ranking in the competition? (e.g. winner, finalist, etc)||First runner up|
|Please share a few highlights from your experience.||A main highlight is from the network of economists I have built over the years, and to be part of this community. A bond was created among those who took part in the competition. I am also looking forward to advising the next generation of university students and competition participants.|
|How has participating in the competition influenced your life/career?||Apart from spending a large part of my (still young) career working on some of the issues I touched on in my essay, I am grateful for the confidence the competition gave me about putting my ideas out there. More practically, I am grateful for the opportunity that the competition gave me to study further|
|Any parting shots for the current round of finalists or students wanting to enter the competition in future?||· Read widely
· Complete a draft early and get lots of feedback.
· Enjoy the experience and invest time in making friends and getting mentors.
|Where did you study?||University of the Witwatersrand, University of Johannesburg, and University of Stellenbosch Business School|
|In which year did you enter the Budget Speech Competition?||Undergraduate in 2010, postgraduate in 2014 and 2017.|
|Why you did you to enter the competition?||The first time I entered, my self-esteem was at an all-time low. I entered the competition to see if I was still astute academically, and to see if my ideas were strong enough to be challenged by experienced professionals.|
|What was your ranking in the competition? (e.g. winner, finalist, etc)||First runner up, second runner up and first runner up|
|Please share a few highlights from your experience.||Definitely meeting and sharing the experience with fellow finalists, some of whom have become friends. I also felt empowered and determined.|
|How has participating in the competition influenced your life/career?||It gave me the confidence to “go forth and conquer”. I was able to trust how I think about South African economics, and offer solutions based on that. I have been able to accept and excel at independent consultant roles that required economic and policy analysis, and in some cases I have had the opportunity to influence national economic policy. More tangibly, the prize money was helpful to pay my fees for further education.|
|Any parting shots for the current round of finalists or students wanting to enter the competition in future?||For those who are thinking of entering – just do it. Young people have a lot to offer to take this country forward. We just need to trust ourselves and implement our ideas.
For current finalists: Firstly, well done for making it this far. I know the competition is tough! Use this as a reaffirmation that you’re a thought leader in your own right. In the hope that you do get to attend the events physically. Create valuable and authentic networks. It is a small world and you’d be surprised how much you will learn on the people you have met during the competition, and vice versa.
|Where did you study?||University of Cape Town|
|Which year you enter the Budget Speech Competition?||2007|
|Why you did to enter the competition?||I enjoy writing, and thought that the competition was a great opportunity to think more deeply about how the economic concepts and theories that I was learning about could apply to solving a real-life problem or challenge.
|What was your ranking in the competition? (e.g. winner, finalist, etc)||Third place.|
|Please share a few highlights from your experience?||It was fun and relevant researching and writing about small enterprises and what can be done to help them thrive. It was also a memorable and unique experience meeting fellow finalists and judges.|
|How has participating in the competition influenced your life/career?||The ability to synthesise and structure ideas, and critically evaluate different points of view are skills I found useful in the competition. I still use then in my career as a data analyst. I also learnt the importance of being able to write down ideas and to communicate and present them clearly and confidently.|
|Any parting shots for the current round of finalists or students wanting to enter the competition in future?||You don’t need grand gestures to save the world. Every small step and every contribution no matter how small is you playing your part. This competition could be one of those steps. Don’t get overwhelmed by how big or complex a question seems. Think critically, be clear in your thoughts and values, be yourself and do your best.|
|Q&A with Rachel Theron, 2016 postgrad first Runner Up||Name: Rachel Theron
Age: 27 years old (turning 28 on 16 February.)
From: Stellenbosch University
Studied BCom Law, Honours and Master’s in Economics at the University of Stellenbosch,
semester exchange at the University of Zurich
Year: 2016 Budget Speech Competition Postgraduate 1st Runner Up
|A few highlights from my experience on the competition||
in South Africa.
|Why I entered the Budget Speech Competition||I knew about the prestigious competition (and the big winnings on offer), and decided I had to enter! In that particular year, the essay topic (the feasibility or viability of National Health Insurance) was something I was interested in and it fitted into the developmental and policy topics that my postgraduate economics studies focused on.|
|What has participating in the Budget Speech Competition helped you to achieve?||The competition made me excited about the possibilities in the real world. The other finalists
motivated me to keep on pushing myself and to channel my drive to keep on bettering and
challenging myself. It was with this in mind that I embarked on an exchange semester at the
University of Zurich, where I grabbed every opportunity and networking possibility. I was
even able to attend some events at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The competition gave me the confidence to ‘back myself’ and to put myself out there in a foreign and
competitive environment such as Switzerland.
|How has the experience helped you in your current job/studies?||The competition enabled me to complete a two-week internship at the Macro Solutions division
of Old Mutual. Along with knowledge and experience of applying economics in practice, I got
exposure to the investment process in Old Mutual and the driving factors involved. This
cultivated an interest in banking and investment, which formed part of my considerations of going on exchange in Zurich, a banking capital.
I currently work at an economic and strategy consultancy, Nova Economics, in Stellenbosch, where we grapple with similar questions that the competition asked. The process of presenting the findings from our essays is also similar to how I have to present our findings to clients, the media and at conferences.
|Where did you study?||University of Johannesburg|
|In which year did you enter the competition?||2009|
|Why you did to enter the competition?||During my postgraduate year, I noticed an interesting-looking poster in the Economics department at UJ. This was the first time I came to learn of the competition. Being someone with a strong interest in writing as well as economics, I was drawn immediately. I felt it was something I should definitely apply my mind to. I was also highly intrigued by the prizes. I set to work on my essay and put in a great deal of effort and one day received an email from Karen Ward telling me I was headed to Cape Town to attend the udget Speech in Parliament and the banquet thereafter. I will never forget how I jumped for joy on receiving that email.|
|What was your ranking in the competition? (e.g, winner, finalist, etc)||First runner up.|
|Please share a few highlights from your experience||The unbridled feeling of joy and euphoria I felt the moment my name was called as a winner and there were Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and Tom Boardman waiting on the stage to greet me! I also recall being grilled by Phakamani Hadebe (who was then chairman of the Land Bank and Agricultural Development Bank) at the final interview (all in good spirits, of course)|
|How has participating in the competition influenced your life/career?||I used the R60 000 winnings to invest in my first home, as I felt that would be the worthiest and most economically sensible use for the money.
After 2009, I have remained closely involved with the competition. Each year I look forward to being a part of the filter panel, reading through all the submitted essays and ranking them to get the essays that makes it to the top 10.
|I believe that this a superb initiative offered by the generous sponsors Nedbank and Old Mutual. It gives young economic minds a fabulous opportunity to showcase their talent. The competition has produced numerous winners who have gone on to achieve great things in both the public and private sector.|