Razia is a Senior Business Analyst for Sasol Mining and among the 2017 recipients of the Rising Star Awards. In this article she shares her career story and gives advice for others who would like to follow in her footsteps.
Razia currently works
as a Senior Business Analyst for an international chemicals and energy company
based in Johannesburg. Recently, she was recognised as a rising star in the
mining and minerals category at the 6th Annual Standard Bank Rising
Star Awards. Razia gave us a sneak peek into her day-to-day life so we could
learn more about her career in the engineering industry.
After completing her matric, Razia joined the University of the Free State to pursue a degree in Medicine. “I spent the first semester of my first year at university doing a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry so that I could prepare myself to join medical school the following year.” Razia soon realised that she was not passionate about her choice of studies.
“After my physics exams in June 2003, I walked past a building with a display of rocks, and because it was my first time walking past this building, I stopped and started reading the history and uses of the rocks.” A professor from the geology department spotted Razia and questioned her about her interest and studies. “When I told Professor Willem van der Westhuizen that I was not a geology student, he spent an hour telling me more about mining; what geology is, what geologists do and where geologists work. I knew from that moment that I wanted to study a degree in geology.
Following the professor’s recommendation, Razia underwent a few psychometric tests to assess her willingness and potential to become a scientist. “The results proved that I am a scientist and I would do excellently in geology.”
After her career in mining took off, Razia says that she was eager to learn more. “I worked for 3 different mining houses, 3 different commodities and with different mining methods. I am ambitious and believe that such exposure is necessary.” Knowing that her strengths and interest were in understanding business improvements and performance, Razia also studied towards and obtained her Master’s degree in Mineral Resource Management. “The course gave me insight into understanding the mining business value chain and using mineral resource throughput management principles to resolve constraints within the business performance. With the knowledge and past experience under her belt, Razia now works at Sasol Mining’s strategy department as their Business Analyst.
“I love that my job allows me to work with different business units and I get to understand our business value chain.” Razia says that while in the past she worked in the mining value chain, she was never involved in decisions that allowed her to put on her business and financial acumen hat. “Now I get to understand how one business unit decision can either positively or negatively impact the whole business.”
We asked Razia to share her advice for people who would like to become a business analyst. “The most important thing is to do your research about the career and make sure you’re passionate about it.
“Set a few goals for yourself and add a timeline to them. Then find yourself a mentor who inspires you and make sure that your mentor is aligned with your goals and is pushing you towards achieving them.”
She adds: “Career planning your life in the workplace and having a mentor and coach to assist you in executing your career plan is very important. Have a detailed, written out career plan with timelines and visit your plan every time you engage with your mentor.”
“Knowledge is power,” says Razia. “Make sure you study, be well informed and know your story then work towards making an impact in your workplace and make sure you stand out from your peers.”
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