BACKSTORY: African Bank’s Unathi Mtya
We speak to Unathi Mtya, chief information officer at African Bank
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Have the attitude of “It’s a marathon, not a sprint”.
What was your first job?
Junior operations analyst at First National Bank.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
R3,900 for the first month. I used it to pay a rental deposit.
What was the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
That it’s OK to not have all the answers, most experiences are useful in the long term.
If you could fix only one thing in SA, what would it be?
I would ensure all children have access to quality education, and access to the internet from home.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I have successfully run and completed several international marathons.
What’s the worst investment mistake you’ve made?
In my twenties I invested in property and took on far more than I could handle and suffered as a result.
What’s the best investment you’ve ever made? And how much of it was due to luck?
It has to be in property, the hard-earned lessons paid off and there was no luck involved.
What is the hardest life lesson you’ve learnt so far?
Practise gratitude and be grateful for every stage. I have found that the concept of “making it” is always in the future, the important thing is to appreciate how far you’ve come.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress them?
It’s OK, in the fullness of time, things make sense.
Was there ever a point at which you wanted to trade it all in for a different career? And, if so, what would that career be?
Thankfully not. Though my career journey has not been smooth, I instead got many signs that the choice I made is the right one.
If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
I would find a way of supporting black professionals in the different roles both in the private and public sector, especially at the C-suite level. More success in this area would give confidence to those starting out.
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