February 07, 2018
From South Africa to Saudi Arabia – Former Damelin Student Soars to Great Heights
By Ashmika Chottu
Growing up in Phake, a small rural area just a few kilometres outside of Hammanskraal, Damelin alumnus and top accounting graduate, Theo Balyoi never thought that his dreams would one day take him overseas. The twenty-seven-year-old graduated from Damelin Randburg in 2011 with a BCom Accounting degree and secured his first job with his current company, leading multinational accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
In his role as Senior Associate stationed in the Middle East, Theo has been with PricewaterhouseCoopers for the last five years and mostly engages with clients between Dubai and Saudi Arabia. “I started with PricewaterhouseCoopers as an Associate, it was a huge learning step for me however I managed to use all the knowledge I gained at Damelin to settle in and become a key roleplayer in this global firm,” said Theo.
Theo was extremely excited to share his educational and professional journey with current and prospective Damelin students.
He said, “Growing up we were always told that the accounting and finance field were the most difficult careers to pursue. However, I really enjoyed accounting in school and I have always loved numbers, so I decided to challenge myself and get outside my comfort zone.”
Theo said that he chose Damelin as his preferred college because of its diverse options both inside and outside the classroom. “We were a very ambitious and diverse group of students with different cultural backgrounds. I studied with many students from the SADC region (Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Botswana). This was a very exciting experience for me as I got to learn about other cultures.”
Theo enjoyed studying Financial and Management Accounting the most, as it excited him and helped him grow and understand the nature of the industry. However, the classes he regards as the ‘most fun’ were Business Management and Business Communication because it was never technical and there was always an opportunity to engage with his lecturers.
For Theo studying at Damelin offered him many memorable moments where he got to engage on a social level with students. However, when it came to exam pressure, it was all hands-on deck with managing the pressure. “I always believed in doing my best and working hard. I always avoided last minute preparation and made time for my schoolwork during the year. This helped me a lot during my exams, I was always prepared.”
When asked about how the tools acquired at Damelin equipped him for the industry he is in Theo said, “The knowledge and skills I learnt at Damelin have helped me to be on par with my peers all around the globe. The Damelin degree is equipped with globally recognised accounting standards, primarily the Financial Accounting course as I used it to apply many principles from IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards), which really helped me to do well in my industry.
Theo’s message to Damelin is that the brand should continue providing excellence in education and benchmarking the institution with the best. He has had a great journey and will forever be grateful for all the opportunities he has received at the college.
His advice for students currently studying at Damelin is, “Believe in yourself, make time for your studies and the world is yours. Always seek advice from seniors and always try applying your knowledge to solve complex problems.
Theo’s ultimate goal is to venture further into business and become a high impact entrepreneur. He said, “I believe that my experience working in a corporate company coupled with the education I received at Damelin will play a crucial role in accomplishing my vision.”
Theo will now proudly join the ‘I am Damelin’ society as one of our accomplished alumnus. Well done Theo. The sky is the limit.
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