Tips from the Top
A man obsessed
It turns out, Badibanga is a really, really busy man and travels a lot. In the five months leading up to his exam he travelled overseas more than 20 times. In fact, he was in Uganda the week before his exam. He admits it was tough. Especially with work. "I'm forever in meetings," he says, "but I knew I wanted to pass first time."
When I asked him how he did it (I’m always keen to share how successful students did it), Badibanga speaks like a man obsessed. He explains, "I had two travel bags. One for work and one for my books. I made sure I studied where ever I found myself. I was reading my books day-and-night. I had the discipline to read every hour I had available. I was consumed."
Badibanga's story reminds us that being really busy could be helpful in getting you to pass first time, because a busy person gets things done. The theory is, of course, that people with hectic schedules have, by necessity, become really good at estimating how long things take. Busy people say 'yes' when they realistically feel they can do it and then they're unlikely to back out. For Badibanga, it was a matter of priority. He knew he wanted to pass his Strategic Case Study first time. He rightly states: "To me it's all about commitment".
It's not just one thing
But it's seldom just one thing that brings success. So I asked Badibanga what are all the elements in his winning formula? For him it was fundamentally two things: being humble and having someone believe in you.
Being humble piqued our interest, because it was a new take on a source for success. For Badibanga it was about being humble enough to go to class. To admit what you don't know and what you're struggling with and sharing that with your lecturer. If you don't declare, your lecturer can't assist you properly. It’s important to do a reality check. With enough humility, you may recognise that although you know how to write a report, you may not know how to write the answer to a CIMA exam question. “Decide if you want to be helped, and be ready to be helped,” he says.
Someone to believe in you
Badibanga laughs when he recalls how much his tuition partner (IBTC) wanted him to pass. "They really cared about me succeeding, and I didn't want to let them down," he said. Badibanga reminds us of the importance of someone believing in you more than you do, until you do. "My lecturer and the college support staff kept phoning me," he recalls fondly, "and although I couldn't always take their call, it was encouraging that someone was reaching out me."
I attribute a large amount of Badibanga's exam success to his own preparation, but Badibanga says he couldn't have done it without Kuda, his lecturer at IBTC. Badi still recalls the 'magical formula' his lecturer wrote on the board. "He gave me that. I thought it was magical. It shaped my thinking."
When specifically asked about the value of attending classes, Badibanga responded: "When I met my lecturer face to face, it demystified a lot of things for me. I realised it was one thing to know the concept, but it was another thing to sit with the lecturer to clarify how to approach the exam. That's where the penny dropped for me – at IBTC in Sandton. There I learnt how to answer the question. If I didn't go to class, I wouldn't have passed my exam."
Dare to participate
“The truth is that I wanted to set an example for a lot of other people,” says Badibanga. He says there is no better time to get CIMA qualified and get the CGMA designation. The future is going to demand a drastic increase in strategic thinking capacity to deal with the complexity we’re facing. We need to ensure we remain relevant. That’s why participation in the upcoming VUCA conference is so important. It’s the meeting place for everybody who is concerned about our country and our continent. A place where we can put our minds together and make a difference. When things are failing, the people must get up to do something about it. It reminds me of the powerful quote that compels us all to take action: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed people can change the world. Do you know why? Because it's the only thing that ever has."
Dare to be assessed
This is not just a story about prioritising and committing to something. It's a story about showing up. And it's a story about being brave. I have found in Badibanga not just a humble man who is leading the profession of chartered accountants, but also a man who takes action to make a difference and a man who has set the example by being brave enough to be assessed.