Mail & Guardian

From selling burgers to running her own practice

How a postgradua­te diploma changed the game for this CEO

- – Jamaine Krige

After completing her undergradu­ate degree — a BA in psychology and sociology — the only work Lungi Langa was able to find was as a restaurant administra­tor at a Mcdonald’s. Completing a postgradua­te diploma, however, helped Langa redefine her life and her career. Today, Langa is an HR Group Executive and the owner of Thunalo Pty Ltd, an industrial psychology consulting firm.

“I had a small office in the restaurant where I did payroll data sheets and personnel record filing,” she remembers. “I was done with my work by 11am every day, and to keep busy for the rest of the day I would go sell burgers with the rest of the staff.” This continued for five years as Langa continued searching for work in her preferred field. “I decided to register for a postgradua­te diploma in HR Management and the doors finally started opening for me!” After years of applying, she finally secured her first job as a Human Resource (HR) assistant.

“My BA degree was just too general, and I think this was partly why I could not land my desired job in HR, but after I registered for my postgradua­te diploma in that field, everything changed,” she says, adding that this decision curved a clear career path for her. “This postgradua­te diploma changed my life in that it was more specific than my undergradu­ate degree and after many years of trying I was finally able to do the job I wanted, because this was specific to the HR field.”

She says people who want to pursue their postgradua­te qualificat­ions should only do so when they are clear about the career path they wish to follow, and should see further studies as a way to specialise in a specific field.

After eventually being promoted to HR manager, Langa was headhunted for a consulting position at a big insurance firm, and she was quickly promoted, climbing the corporate ladder. While working there, she decided to further her studies again, completing first an honours in industrial psychology, and then qualifying as an industrial psychologi­st after her master’s degree.

She says it is important to decide on a career path and then never give up; work hard and pursue it with passion. “My postgradua­te studies were a game changer that just brought more opportunit­ies, and today I own my own industrial psychology practice and consulting firm; it’s a dream come true!”

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