Brand Marketing Consultant, Thabiso Ntando, is about to complete the programme. He explains why he applied and what he’s learned along the way.
How did you enrol in the Graduate Development Programme (GDP)?
Thabiso: I finished my BCom degree at the University of Johannesburg in 2015 and had enrolled to do my Honours in Strategic Management. While finishing my post-graduate degree in 2016, I started looking around for a business development programme to apply for.
What Capitec offered sounded perfect for me. I really liked the bank’s core values and felt that they represented me as a person. Capitec is dynamic, forward-thinking and in the news for the right reasons. I love the ethos of innovation and of putting the client first.
How did the programme stand out?
Thabiso: Capitec’s management team explained to me that the purpose of the graduate programme is to select individuals who show potential to grow as leaders at the bank. The programme is 18-months long during which you’re exposed to several departments and divisions, so you learn first-hand how they all work and fit together in the greater scheme of operations.
The idea behind the programme is that you will use the insights you gain to be a better, more informed leader that can influence in any position.
Was it difficult to get into the GDP?
Thabiso: The application process was very thorough. First, I submitted my CV and academic record. I was called for a Skype interview at the Johannesburg offices and then did 3 additional interviews. They flew me down for the last interview which was held at Capitec’s head office in Stellenbosch. I also completed a number of internal assessment tests before being accepted to start the programme in February 2017. The bank also helped cover my relocation costs when I moved to the Western Cape.
Tell us more about the GDP. What did the 18 months of training involve?
Thabiso: During the interview process, you express your fields of interest. You are then selected based on your interests, skills and aptitude to become a permanent employee in a specific division. I was selected to become part of the Marketing team.
Like any other employee, I earn a monthly salary and have set working hours. The difference is that during the 18 months of the programme, graduates rotate between business divisions.
In addition, the GDP candidates are mentored by senior managers who are specifically assigned to guide us through the process. We also have a line manager who oversees what we do and checks in with us during our rotation.
We also attend special business and leadership training workshops and coaching sessions led by external consultants of the programme. They help train us and build our leadership skill set.
What did you do during your first rotation?
Thabiso: The GDP candidates started off by training to work as service consultants in branches. I ended up working in branches in Somerset West, Eerste River and Springs – where I’m from.
It was a fascinating experience working with clients, hearing their queries and finding out what their needs are. It taught me a lot that I can apply as a brand and communication consultant today.
After that, I worked in various sales, marketing and communication teams.
Tell us about some of your GDP highlights
Thabiso: I had an opportunity to present a business idea to the top Capitec executives. It was an incredible honour, and my idea was accepted and will be implemented in the coming months. It’s really remarkable to have that kind of access to top-ranking leaders and have them be so open to your ideas.
I know I’ve made the right career choice and I am excited about the future.