Training and studying paid off

Sandile Mchunu

BEING passionate about people and sales is how Standard Bank provincial manager of small enterprises Mzi Baleni got started in his career.

“I started as a trainee manager at Pick n Pay here in Port Elizabeth. I spent three good years with the company before moving to Coca-Cola as a sales representative,” Baleni, 42, says.

Born and bred in Port Elizabeth, Baleni matriculated at Douglas Mbopa Senior Secondary School in Motherwell. He graduated with a BCom degree from the Mthatha campus of Walter Sisulu University and also has project management and business management diplomas from Varsity College.

“Education opens doors for you, but you need more than education to succeed in the corporate world. You are the one who is going to determine how far you progress in your career – the hard work and discipline you put in go a long way to sustain you,” says Baleni, who was elected to the board of the Nelson Mandela Bay Chamber of Commerce earlier this month.

Baleni has been married to Nelisa for nine years and they have a daughter Mihle, 9, and a son, Hloma, 6.

“When I started my career I came across as someone who was very arrogant. I am a confident person and my jobs have changed my character and personality a bit because I was a very introverted young man when growing up,” he says.

Having been in banking for the past eight years, Baleni enjoys nothing more than developing small enterprises in different communities. “I took over this position in November last year and I enjoy what I am doing.”

Baleni was provincial manager of business acquisitions for two years at Standard Bank before assuming the current role.

Five tips to make it in the corporate world

  • Integrity: Your word counts for everything and people must know you are a person of your word;

  • Ambition: You must know what you want and how to get it;

  • Resilience: You must have energy and the ability to last the distance;

  • Surround yourself with relevant people; and

  • Acknowledge your achievements: It does not matter how small they are, they keep you motivated.

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