UKZN student Ms Nolwazi Mdunge (third from right)
with her team.

Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting student Ms Nolwazi Mdunge’s business acumen and leadership abilities led to her representing UKZN at the Unilever Future Leaders League Challenge.

Mdunge was part of a group of 21 students from a variety of South Africa’s universities selected to represent their province on a three-day experience which involved them working with the company’s brand team on a business challenge and meeting top Unilever executives and building relationships with other finalists at Unilever’s Head Office in La Lucia, Durban.

To enter the competition, participants were required to come up with an innovative idea of how they would make a Unilever product or process more water-friendly – Mdunge’s unique drydishwash product was one such concept.

‘Drydishwash is basically a product designed to enable the cleansing of dishes without water. It can be classified as a dishwashing sanitiser which currently does not exist in the market,’ said Mdunge.

‘After submitting my idea, I was shortlisted and tasked to present my idea to the managers. 
The following day after my presentation, I was informed that I was one of four finalists from KwaZulu-Natal. I was excited about this opportunity, especially since I was up almost the whole night and sacrificed one of my Taxation tutorials to come up with this idea which thankfully paid off.’

The competition’s final round involved the participants working in a group to collaborate on a case study using Unilever products.

To prepare for this challenge, Mdunge had to apply the concepts she had learnt from her Managerial Accounting and Finance (MAFM 300) module thus translating theory learned in class into practice.

‘Although I could not prepare in advance because the case study was handed to us at the competition, I however did seek help from Supply Chain Management Lecturer Mr Hans Salisbury and Academic Development Officer Mr Kenneth Ngwenya who taught me the fundamentals on approaching a case study.

‘Although my team didn’t win, I feel like a winner just by participating in this challenge. This was the best thing that has happened to me this year and I will be using the experience as motivation to complete my degree at the end of this year,’ she said.

Salisbury said Mdunge’s achievement indicated that she was able to impress the judges with her ability to apply her subject knowledge to address a realistic business problem.

‘We are delighted to hear that Nolwazi did so well in the challenge and it is a big deal to us as she is not a student in our Discipline and was referred to me as I run a case study coaching clinic. We are finding that case studies are used increasingly to select students for internships and in job interviews. It is equally important that she can also co-operate with and understand people from other disciplines in order to provide a more complex and holistic solution,’ he said.