Meet our interns – Thabo Monagotla

Thabo is not new to internships at NFS! He first started as an intern on the 27th of January 2020 and this contract lasted for a year. He then started a further internship from the 1st of February 2021 until the end of December 2021.

Sometimes, life does not work out the way one thinks it would and that is not necessarily a bad thing as it may open doors and bring different parts of what you want together. This has been the case for Thabo.

He grew up in Gauteng and, though his father was a headmaster, he says that, unlike the stereotype of headmaster’s children, he was not the naughtiest child. ‘I was somewhere in the middle.’

Family and relationships are important to Thabo. Initially, he wanted to become a doctor – his mother and sister were nurses and he likes helping people. At school, he loved accounting, natural science and math – in that order. Today he values the fact that he gets to know the people behind the money – a part of the Financial Services Industry that he did not know existed.

He obtained a Diploma in Accounting at the University of Johannesburg after 3 years. After graduating in 2019, he followed in his brother’s footsteps and attended the Vaal University of Technology where he completed his B.Tech degree in Cost and Management Accounting.

Thabo says that, upon graduating, he was not equipped with the knowledge to know what to do next. Whilst he was applying for internships in and around Johannesburg, he saw the advertisement for NFS. This was the only one he applied for in Cape Town. Two weeks later, he found himself, with his mother in tow, on a flight to Cape Town.

And then the pandemic hit!

He not only had to acclimatise to a new job in a new city but had to assist the staff with changing the NFS operational model from a brick-and-mortar office to a business that operated from 6 different remote locations. All of this in the span of 10 days. Despite this, he found his reception warm and he soon made friends with some staff members and another intern.

When asked what the biggest mind-shift is that he had to make, he answered that he had learnt about corporate finance. At NFS, he learnt to work with the people behind the positions in businesses as well as clients who came to NFS for personal finance advice. This brought together his interest in helping people with his training in accounting.

After researching how other companies in the Financial Service Industry operate, he realised how different the NFS approach is. Most companies offer off-the-shelf products. He soon realised that he would not have survived for very long in such a setting.

So what are his interests? He spends his free time investigating technology, start-up businesses and the economy. He loves hearing the stories of how people started their businesses as a ‘side hustle’ and then grew these into a sustainable business that employs others. Thabo finds it inspiring to talk to these NFS clients – both locally and internationally. ‘People imagine that entrepreneurs must be special individuals, but they are ordinary people with vision, determination and drive’.

He would like to build his own business ‘on the side’ whilst still working for an established company as well. Travel is something that interests him, especially to places where people have different cultures and ways of living.

When asked if he would like to be a digital nomad, he said that this would be great – for a while – but that he still prefers to meet with people in person, at least some of the time. Again, he says, relationships are what is important to him.

His long-term plans? He wants to go back to university and specialise in tax. He says he is good at it! He likes the legislation and how this is applied. Thabo says he thinks that people will only see the importance of taxes and be more willing to pay these if they actually saw for themselves the good that it can (and should) do, even if it is only progress in improving infrastructure. He believes this should be a red flag to the Powers that Be.

Where does Thabo find himself now and what would his message be to young people who are considering their career options and doing an internship? He says that he is happy to report that he is finding his equilibrium in terms of both the Financial Planning and Tax exposure he is getting at the Tax Shop. He has noticed how much faster he arrives at answers and how he grasps new concepts much quicker.

He feels it is important to gather not only knowledge, as you do when you are studying, but also the practical application of it before you can really figure out the direction you want to take. He feels it is important to ask many questions and not to be too quick in thinking that you know everything. You need to say inquisitive and research widely.

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