The sky is the limit for Vumile Msweli. We chat to her about achieving success at a young age

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Originally from Durban, Vumile Msweli is currently working as the Executive Head: Client Services Partner for Africa at Vodacom at the tender age of 29.

We find out how she did it and learn from her…  

1. What and where did you study after matric? Why did you study that?

I initially studied accounting however I discovered that it wasn’t for me so I studied a Bachelor of Commerce: Financial Planning Honours at the University of Johannesburg. This really equipped me to meet my financial objectives and help others do the same. I then studied a Masters specialising in Business Administration (MBA) at the University of London because I knew I wanted to be an executive and this would give me a good foundation because of its holistic overview.

I am now currently studying my Doctorate in Switzerland’s University of Graduate Studies in Management.  Being an international institution I was captivated by the diverse exposure it would give me, the opportunity to contribute to global academia and the prospect of achieving a childhood dream of obtaining my Doctorate is a temptation I could not resist.

2. Where did you first work? How much did you get paid?

My first permanent role was at Investec in their Treasury Department. I started at their contact centre and I remember being so thrilled at the thought of having my own medical aid and earning a R150 000 per annum income which meant I had finally gained my independence and could afford to pay my own rent.

3. What do you do now?

I am currently the Executive Head: Client Services Partner for Africa at Vodacom. My job is to make sure that corporate client services and experience are aligned across the globe for key strategic clients. So I have to pre-empt client needs and ensure we supersede those in our services. My job entails being innovative, a lot of travel especially across the African continent and constant learning.

4. How did you get this job?

I was approached by Vodacom to participate in the Leaders in Waiting programme which they do in collaboration with Gordon Institute of Business’(GIBBS). At the time I was still working in the Financial sector and I was intrigued with the telecommunications sector. So when I was head hunted from the GIBBs programme to my current role I gleefully accepted the appointment. 

5. What kind of personality does one need to survive in your industry?

I think in this particular industry being able to build relationships is critical both internally with colleagues as well as externally with clients. Being unafraid of change and looking at problems through new lenses will aid you in being successful in this business.

6. Roughly, how much would one expect to make per month from this industry?

That is difficult to say as the industry consists of a lot of moving parts ranging from sales; service; marketing; operations; technical teams and strategy. So these skills demand various salaries as such the earning potential is a vast.

7. If anyone who would like to do what you do, what advice would you give them?

I would say have a vision for where you want to be. Research individuals who have accomplished what you wish to accomplish, learn from them and how you can charter your path from where you are to where you want to be. Once you have this vision and plan, make sure you get mentors and coaches in the form of individuals as well as books to help you achieve your goal. I believe one of the biggest liberators to help you to achieve your goals is education.