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Stand Out Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Talk at UWC

Author: Institutional Advancement: (021) 959 2625

The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation held an information session for first-year students at the University of the Western Cape in July, explaining how economics could help them achieve their dreams.

Stand Out Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Talk at UWC

“At Allan Gray, one of our themes is Legacy of Greatness. If you are in this for yourself, then you are in the wrong place. If you’re in this to make a difference in a country, then that matters.”

That was one of the points raised by Carl Herman, programme director at the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, at an information session for first-year students at the University of the Western Cape on Saturday, 26 July 2014.

The Foundation identifies, selects, and invests in individuals that show potential greatness over the long-term, through its Scholarship and Fellowship opportunities. Mentoring and training high-impact responsible entrepreneurs will dramatically contribute to a positive economic, social and political change.

Carl Herman started at Allan Gray as a programme officer (mentor), and mentored about 30 students over the years, and he thought they were all amazing and unique. He studied at UWC together with Dr Mabitela, and was fortunate enough to meet his wife here too.

“I know I’m in the right place when I see folks coming here on a cold Saturday morning - I know I’m talking to the right individuals,” he stated, going on to explain the application process to become an Allan Gray Orbison Foundation Candidate Fellow.

To get in, individuals are required to fill in an application form of 18 pages, checked by two trained individuals. The Foundation looks for those who have a record of achievement (academically and beyond), and who have the personal initiative and drive to better themselves, and the spirit to follow up on that. If short-listed, one is called for a two-person interview and a 75-minute simulation exercise. And the lucky few get to go to a camp where they learn about economics and each other, and are then accepted for mentorship.

But it’s definitely worth it, as Candidate Fellow and UWC student, Luthando Mzilikazi, explained. She briefly spoke about the monthly stipend fellows receive, the tutoring fee available from the fund, the help received from mentors, and the exercises to help develop an entrepreneurial mindset. “Think different – that’s what companies are looking for. And that’s what the Foundation can help you learn to do. You just need to remember why you are worthy of becoming a fellow - to believe you are a change agent and have something to offer.”

The talk was hosted by the UWC Economics Department, as part of their Stand Out Campaign​, a programme designed to promote an understanding and appreciation of economics in the university community and the wider world. The crowd was welcomed by Carmen Christian, a lecturer in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at UWC.

Dr Derek Yu, Senior Lecturer in Economics, provided a quick walk-through of the modules UWC economics students are expected to complete for undergrad, as well as the research and other modules available in postgraduate studies, highlighting the fact that the University expects students to work hard.

As Dr Yu explained, UWC is the first university in South Africa to offer econometrics at 2nd-year level (most others begin studying the subject in 3rd-year). That way, when the students graduate with a BCom, they would have done more Maths and Stats than other university students, and are better prepared to understand a variety of economic indicators. And it’s not in vain.

“The rewards are there,” he said, “in terms of job opportunities as an economist, in the academic sector and journalism, and more besides. Studying economics can open many doors.”

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