Studying with ZOU helped me rise through the ranks from being a Health Education Officer and Regional Malaria Coordinator for World Vision International and Population Service International respectively to a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in one of the organizations under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. I still feel resonated by a desire to do more with ZOU as my university of choice that gave me the foundation of my career.
I hold voluntary and board positions in different organizations including being the National Treasurer ZOUAA, the member and later Chairperson of Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic Advisory Council, Treasurer-Constituency Development Fund (CDF-Gwanda North), ex officio Trustee Gwanda Community Share Ownership Trust (GCSOT), General Manager Finance in the Matabeleland South Provincial Sports Development Committee among others.
My name is Coster Nkala. This text gives a reflection on my personal history, professional accomplishments, and future aspirations.
I grew up in deep rural areas of an African village. I attended rural schools that were characterized by a lack of career guidance. To me, education was purposeless. We went to school because parents sent us to go to school. I was from a poor family; hence payment of school fees was always a challenge. The environment was characterized by that stigma of being a student coming to school barefooted and at the same time with never ending levies arrears. Escaping from the jaws of living in a poor rural environment, was followed by moving into town during the period when my country, Zimbabwe, was experiencing serious economic challenges that were never witnessed anywhere on the planet earth.
All these challenges pushed me to have a desire to succeed even under serious challenges. Through part-time earnings, I embarked on an advanced level course through distance education. My passion to be a professional in the accounting field was not discouraged by being a Registered and practicing health practitioner.
Accounting is an integral part of the business world. I felt propelled and obliged to pursue my goal of earning a degree in the field of Accounting in order for me to effectively contribute to the profession. I envisaged a situation whereby I will effectively contribute to my country development and advancement by becoming a conversant specialist in the industry and in an institution of Higher learning like a university. I believed nothing could substitute the effectiveness of attaining an academic qualification. I decided that pursuing my accounting degree studies was something I really wanted to accomplish.
Let’s face it, a full-time career, attending school full-time, working, and maintaining some semblance of family life can make a person feel very fragmented. Fortunately, there was Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) that offered flexible programmes. I enrolled for a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting degree.
Earning a degree is a high academic distinction, and the decision to move forward with my education and professional career required hard work and dedication. At times I experienced detours and bumps in my path. But determination and perseverance helped me make it to the end. As with any new endeavour, the road in front of me seemed uncertain. But there was at my disposal a variety of tools and provisions that helped me reach the end of my journey successfully. There were lecturers and other staff that were there to help me stay on track and provided with the support needed to be successful in my program.
Networking, building relationships and making the right connections were key pieces to building positive relationships that enabled me to achieve my goals. Connecting with learners who were focused on the same thing with me allowed me to stay focused. In this community, I was supported, challenged, and celebrated, and built relationships that stayed with me long past graduation.
I established realistic goals with limited time. In order to achieve my goals, I needed to attain balance with all of the competing priorities by properly appropriating my time, energy, and resources between university school, work, and family life. I made sure that my time management plan prioritized the activities that positively contributed to my selected goals.
The passion to become an expert in the business world drove me to enrol for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST). I graduated with a University Book Prize for being the best student graduating with a distinction in the dissertation. I got a part-time teaching post at Zimbabwe Open University’s Faculty of Commerce and Law, where I help Bachelors and Masters students. Faced with challenges that came with teaching students who already know what they were doing, I enrolled and later graduated with a Master of Commerce in Applied Accounting (MCom App Acc) degree at the Great Zimbabwe University attaining 6 distinctions out of 10 courses. I am currently a Walden University Ph.D. independent scholar specializing in Accounting.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in one of the organizations under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce