In preparation for this year's graduation, the UK-based Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) requested Busani Ngwenya for permission to include his examination script in their end-of-year examiner's report.
Ngwenya, a Zimbabwe national and current executive director of Alexander Forbes Financial Services (U) Ltd, reluctantly agreed - not knowing that such a privilege only goes to the best students.
"I never thought I was the best. Even when they sent me the invitation for graduation, I decided to ignore it since I had work on my hands," he says.
Ngwenya later learnt that he was the only student who had passed level 7 Unit 2 of marketing - the highest professional level in marketing - in all institutions affiliated to CIM across the world.
"I felt so bad that I had missed a graduation where I was the only graduand in my category. I was the only certified chartered marketer this year," he proudly says.
Enrolling for a chartered marketing certificate
Despite having worked in the field of marketing for more than a decade, Ngwenya did not have a marketing qualification. He realized this need when he was appointed the chief marketing officer for Alexander Forbes in 2008.
"I needed this qualification and I wanted it from CIM. Lucky enough, it was offered at Uganda Management Institute, which is accredited to CIM," he says.
Though there are seven levels of marketing, Ngwenya, a father of two girls, opted for level 7 - because of his rich experience (12 years) in marketing. Of the 14 people that enrolled for this level in 2011, it was only Ngwenya that passed the exams to become a chartered marketer.
On being the best
Ngwenya, a staunch Christian, attributes his good performance to God. He also acknowledges the conducive study environment at UMI including availability of the relevant marketing books, electronic resource centre, cool and green environment in addition to the experienced tutors/consultants.
The UMI is one of the top performing accredited study centres in Africa with an average pass rate of over 67%. Ngwenya, who is also the chairman of the Association of Zimbabweans in Uganda, says the main reason some people fail to accomplish such courses is poor time management.
"I made sure that I properly divided my time for work, school and family. But most importantly, one just needs to know why they're doing something and the how becomes easy," he says.
Management at Alexander Forbes Uganda
In June this year, Ngwenya was appointed Executive Director at Alexander Forbes, where he had earlier served as Head of Financial Services and Chief marketing officer.
His biggest challenge in working in Uganda has been the pace at which people do their work. "For people here, it's normal to be late, when to me, time is money," he says.
Facilitation is another challenge. "I wonder why I should pay journalists to cover an event. I thought they are doing their job by giving me coverage. This is another petty corruption that people are ignoring as they concentrate on the big monies stolen," he says.
Now at the top of management at Alexander Forbes, Ngwenya's top priority is to be a top private provider of pension products in the market as the law to liberalise the market is in the offing.
"We are the best financial administrators in Africa in terms of expertise, systems and experience. We run a professional body that tolerates no corruption. We want Ugandan pensioners' money to be in safe hands," he says.
Ngwenya says that marketing as a discipline now requires highly trained personnel, which is lacking in Uganda. In his view, Uganda lacks chartered marketers (currently less than ten in total), and urges people to enroll for these qualifications because they can make it.
Ngwenya, who came to Uganda under the UN programme of capacity building, believes he has played his part in empowering young talent. "In a few years, I expect to move to other countries that need more capacity building," he says.
Ngwenya holds a degree in Commerce, Insurance and Risk Management with a bias in marketing. Over the last 12 years, he has worked in the marketing departments of various organizations in Zimbabwe and Uganda.
For nine years, Ngwenya, a certified chartered insurance broker, was a teaching assistant at the National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe.