MY BRILLIANT CAREER
Investing in the future of millions of South Africans
Investment manager Sandiswa Ziphethe-Makola reveals how she learnt to forgive herself for mistakes she's made
What is an investments transactor?
Someone who is responsible for finding, implementing and managing investments. We are also called dealmakers or investment managers. This includes being a board member in companies in which the Mineworkers Investment Company is an investor.
What do you do each day at work?
I do many things, including identifying, researching and evaluating investment opportunities that comply with the MIC's investment objectives; performing due diligence assessments on target companies in a range of areas, including financial, legal, commercial and tax; and playing an oversight role in some investments.
What do you look for when choosing an investment?
As active financial investors we look to partner with experienced and capable management teams. We also look at the attractiveness of the growth prospects of the company and the industry in which it operates, among other things.
How did you end up doing this?
I started out as a graduate trainee at Merrill Lynch South Africa in the equity research and corporate finance divisions. I later moved to Nedbank, where I gained experience in risk and deal management, alternative private equity investments and acquisition and leveraged finance. I had always had a strong inclination towards private equity due to its more entrepreneurial nature, and when the opportunity to join MIC came up, I grabbed it.
What big work mistake led to an important lesson?
Moving into a role without having done the appropriate due diligence and considering its contribution to my future career goals. I lasted three months.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
An entrepreneur, a business owner. I had been entrepreneurial from a young age, buying and selling and bartering all kinds of goods and services from about the age of nine. This continued through my university years, both from necessity and because I enjoyed it. My current role is close to my childhood aspirations. What makes it even better is that the businesses we acquire are for the benefit of a broader group rather than individual enrichment.
What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
Its varied nature. Each company we invest in is different, and each presents exciting opportunities to contribute to the growth and transformation of the economy. I also enjoy the human interactions with people - building strong connections and discovering people's interests are big parts of what we do. What makes me look forward to going to work is knowing that the proceeds from our investments are for the benefit of more than one million South Africans through the provision of bursaries, training programmes and poverty-alleviation programmes.
What part of your job would you prefer not to do?
Administration and reporting.
What is the best career advice you have ever received, and who gave it to you?
Not to be too harsh on myself when I am unable to achieve some of the ambitious goals I set for myself, and to forgive myself for the mistakes I make while pursuing these goals. I received this advice from Philna Potgieter, a mentor I had.