Sibusisiwe Dhlodhlo

  • Degree Programme: Masters in Financial Analysis
  • Global Nationality: Zimbabwean
  • Profile Job Pre-programme: Junior Associate at Akribos Wealth Managers, Harare, Zimbabwe

After growing up in Zimbabwe, Sibusisiwe (Busie) Dhlodhlo was keen to study at London Business School in order to better understand how investment works in the developed world. Having achieved a first class degree in Finance from Solusi University, Busie was named as the best student in the Faculty of Business on her graduation, and she went on to work in private equity and funding roles before coming to the School. She is keen to help as many people as possible achieve their dreams of studying abroad, and wants to move forward in a career that will help tackle issues around sustainability and climate change in business and development.

I was born and raised in Zimbabwe, mostly in a small town called Plumtree. My family moved around a lot so I went to eight different primary and high schools, before going to Solusi University where I majored in Finance and took a minor in Accounting. I later graduated with a First and was named as the best student in the Faculty of Business.

During the third year of my degree programme, I worked as an intern at South Zimbabwe Conference. I did a lot of accountancy work there and even though that wasn’t my preferred choice, I enjoyed it and found myself absorbed in the work. The internship was supposed to last a year, but towards the end of the period my family had financial difficulties, as my brother was unwell and needed treatment. The CFO offered me the opportunity to stay and work at the company for another year, so I continued working during the day while attending university classes at night at a nearby campus.

Due to these circumstances I would graduate a year later than originally planned, but that turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it meant I had the opportunity to take part in Zimbabwe’s first ever CFA Equity Research Challenge. This involved university student teams competing against each other in investment research; our team scooped second place ahead of the rest of Zimbabwe’s universities – a big win for us. It was an exciting experience, partly because it was a brand-new concept in Zimbabwe, but also because we performed pretty well.

After graduation, I went into private equity practice at Akribos Wealth Managers where I worked for 18 months before joining Maka Resources, an agricultural engineering company. The company designs, manufactures and distributes agricultural infrastructure and equipment that help to combat the effects of climate change and supports farmers in drought-prone African agro-economies.

Before moving to London I also volunteered at Amakha Learning Centre in both teaching and administrative roles. Amakha is a Christian-based home-school run by one of the Maka Resources Directors. I am a firm believer in education being the key to unlocking a better future, so what better way to support that than help to guide those younger than I me, as a volunteer.

I decided to go for the MFA programme because I love the combination of qualitative and quantitative reasoning in finance. I have a sharp eye for detail which explains why I enjoyed reading and crafting stories for investment analyses. I knew that studying at London Business School would enable me to learn from experts, and hear their experiences. This element of real-world exposure drew me to the School; I knew this would be a platform for me to learn how wide the finance gap is between London and Zimbabwe.

London Business School encouraged me to apply when I was struggling with imposter syndrome and not feeling confident. People here are always so willing to help with anything; it’s like a family. It encourages you to be a more forthcoming person because you feel compelled to be the kind of person you see around you.

When I was offered my place at London Business School I was also awarded the Women’s Merit Scholarship, a partial scholarship. I worked hard to try to raise the deposit for the programme, I even set up a GoFundMe page. Nothing seemed to work but I kept pushing and one day I received a phone call while I was at work. I found out I’d been awarded the Rayner Miller Scholarship, and that the School had raised the Women’s Merit Scholarship to cover the rest of my tuition.

I was overwhelmed by the news; it was such a relief that my body physically responded. I was so exhausted from trying to find ways of raising the funds. The biggest thing that had kept me going was the faith that other people had in me; everyone from the London Business School alumni I’d been speaking to, my friends, work community and family.

There have been so many highlights during my time at the School so far.

The biggest of them all has been representing the Scholar community at a high-profile event with some of the school’s friends and donors where I gave a speech. Not only was it an honour to be a guest, but it was a fulfilling experience to speak to some of the benefactors in person. I’ve also been surprised by how we’re treated as though we are already executives. It’s really lovely.

The Africa Club at LBS is quite active and I have been along to social and networking events there. We have keynote speakers and practising professionals address us and share us advice on our careers or how to navigate the workplace.

Both the Africa Club and the Black in Business club offer so much support and support us in understanding how things work, which helps us feel like we belong. It’s easy to feel a bit lost being in a new place, especially one that’s as fast-paced as London, so the Africa Club, led by students who relate to my background, comes to my rescue. I’m also involved in the Business Club and the TEDx Club, which organises the School’s annual TEDx conference.

Sibusisiwe Dhlodhlo was a recipient of the Rayner Miller Scholarship.

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