Alumni Spotlight

Shaping My Destiny: Thulani on thriving as a Business Intelligence Specialist

Earning a university degree empowers future leaders of South Africa to achieve their goal of graduating and transitioning into meaningful employment. This has certainly been the case for BSc Actuarial and Financial Mathematics graduate and Dell Young Leader alum, Thulani Ngonyama. After graduating in 2018, he transitioned to work as a Financial Data Analyst at one of South Africa’s leading retail chains and is currently a Business Intelligence Specialist at one of the largest banks in South Africa.

Below he unpacks pivotal moments he is most proud of in his career and life, how he got there, and his aspirations within the Data Science industry.

Q: What is it that you currently do?

I am a Business Intelligence Specialist in Cash Investment with a main focus in Tax, at one of South Africa’s largest banks.

Q: What are you the proudest of in your career, and life?

The fact that I achieved my goal of building a house for my family – seeing it being built from the bottom up – was like a dream come true. Also, putting my younger sister through school and supporting her while she studies electrical engineering. I am particularly proud that I was able to achieve all these goals to create a better life for my family, while at the same time progressing in my career and growing as a professional. Producing important financial statements and seeing my work appear in the public domain are also proud moments for me.

Q: What are some of the key steps you took to get to where you are in your career?

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Actuarial and Financial Mathematics in 2018, and with the placement assistance of the Dell Young Leaders programme, I started an internship in Data Science and was fortunate enough to work as a Financial Data Analyst at one of South Africa’s biggest retail chains in their Corporate Finance team within the Analytics Department. I was involved in so many projects and realized that the skills I developed in my qualification opened up a diverse range of opportunities for me.

This experience cemented my passion for data, and after this internship I started a position as a Business Intelligence Analyst, which led me to where I am now.

Q: What are your future aspirations in the workplace?

Currently I am in a good space professionally  and learning a lot in my role.  To complement that, I would like to do a postgraduate in Data Science and continue with Level 2 of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) journey.

Q: Do you have any tips for current students as they aim towards meaningful employment?

Be open to possibilities and try not to limit yourself – your qualification does not determine your career; in fact, your qualification opens up many diverse options for you. Keep following your interests, don’t be fearful, and embrace the ample opportunities available to you.

Q: One word that describes the Dell Young Leaders Community?


With the Shaping My Destiny Series, Dell Young Leaders alumni share what they have managed to achieve to date, and how they have created their own paths and goals for the future. They also share a few highlights of how the Dell Young Leaders programme helped them create successful futures for themselves.