The notion of forgoing tertiary education with the hope of securing lucrative employment is not one that resonates with Theo Uvanga, the Development Bank of Namibia’s (DBN) Manager: Environmental and Social Development, who advises aspirant young professionals to follow the contemporary career ladder if they wish to emulate his professional growth.
Uvanga, who is responsible for vetting loan applications for environmental and social compliance within the Bank, believes a solid educational background coupled with the sufficient professional experience is the prerequisite for success in the professional arena.
“I had a sound academic background with undergraduate and Master’s degrees in a related field as well as extensive work experience on environmental management, environmental management systems implementation and management, sustainable development, environmental and occupational health and safety auditing as well as socio-economic justice work at a senior level,” Uvanga outlines the career that has led him to becoming the Bank’s pioneer Manager in his department.
“Today’s graduates want to leave University and take up a high flying job with a massive salary without any experience. This is a pipe dream and only a select lucky few manage that in critical fields. You have to start from the bottom and work your way up, gain the experience in the field and work yourself up the ladder while continuously developing yourself. Be committed and set yourself 5-year strategic career goals to which you aspire and work towards to,” he advises.
Subscribing to an adage from Bruce Lee on adaptation along with drawing on the experience of his own career path, Uvanga further advises those aspiring towards professional excellence in the banking sector to be malleable.
“My role is a strategic role in the DBN and I am the pioneer to fill this position since its inception. I subsequently want to grow in it, expand it, share experiences and best practices not only with other Development Finance Institutions around the World but also with commercial banks in Namibia. I strive to improve the environmental social risk management portfolio of the bank and ensure that all DBN clients, big or small, implement good environmental and social compliance and stewardship in their operations in order to maintain their social licenses to operate,” he concludes.