(Before I let Flax begin, this is the first of many featured blog posts by people who I have found to be doing some really interesting things. I hope you enjoy!)
I studied Business Science specialising in Finance with accounting at the University of Cape Town – generally the precursor for the Chartered Accountancy (CA(SA)) route.
As much as I enjoyed all the parrot learning and the outdated (and extremely unstimulating) course material, I came to the realisation that I needed more: a path that was more stimulating, that developed my entrepreneurial and creative sides, and that future-proofed me in the work place.
After doing some research into what fields are being disrupted in my industry and how they’re being disrupted, it was glaringly obvious what areas I needed to improve my understanding in: Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Computing. I mean it is the information age after all where data reigns king!
I subsequently applied for a handful of Masters programmes in Business and Data analytics (outside of RSA due to the lack of offering within the Republic) and was accepted into an Msc in Business Analytics at the Esade Business School in Barcelona, Spain, starting in September 2019.
It then hit me that I’d be on a “gap year” from November 2018 until September 2019 – essentially a good way for people to f*#k around for a year without challenging themselves or experiencing personal growth. So I decided to take a leaf out of Sash’s book and “just ask”! And what do you know? I scored myself an internship at a cryptocurrency startup called Revix in Woodstock, Cape Town, for 5 months.
The internship was an incredible experience. Some lessons I learned while at Revix:
- It’s okay to feel out of your depth
I was the only person from a non-computer science/engineering/coding background, thus I was really out of my depth. However, I took the initiative and started learning how to code. It meant that I bugged the devs with an endless amount of questions, but they were more than happy to help me (I think).
- A startup isn’t as pretty as pictured in the news…
A new business takes lots of hard work and watching the founders, along with the 10 other employees, graft long hours and toil past every new spanner and setback was eye-opening to watch and be apart of.
- Be prepared to do whatever task is given to you!
I managed the Quality Assurance board of the final product being offered, helped out with front end bug snagging and fixing, compiled and proof-read regulatory and compliance documents, performed market research for the company on competition and the current environment, and learned a ton about cryptocurrencies on top of it all!
The entire experience opened my mind and my eyes to the rapidly-changing world that we live in right now. I felt it was my responsibility to question my career path and to make sure I was happy with the direction I was moving in. Too many people say “I don’t like the CA route, but I’m just doing it for the qualification”. That’s not good enough in my opinion.
Steve Jobs once said: “I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”