01 September, 2021
#4 Portrait of a woman in finance: Mathy Muteba
As an ambitious child, I have always worked towards a specific goal. Whether it was becoming the class leader or becoming the captain of the first aid team, if I wanted something, I would always get it.
I believe that this is something that is still installed within me to this day. What has always kept that ambition alive is the courage to do things that I was always afraid of doing. Possibly the most courageous thing I have ever done is leaving everything behind in Johannesburg, South Africa to move to Belgium to study for my University degree. On top of that, studying a course that 17-year-old me never saw myself doing. Entering high school, I had a wide variety of interests. I was always first to jump onto the opportunity to learn something new. I gained a keen interest in finance, particularly my accounting class. Working with the books and numbers really intrigued me, and I had the utmost support from my parents to continue this path.
Although I had the support from those around me, particularly my father rooting for me to become a CFO one day, at 17 years old I had lost that love that I had for accounting. I wasn't as interested in the world of finance as I was before, and I felt a bit lost and derailed. University application deadlines were rapidly approaching, and I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. It wasn't until my mother had showed me the pamphlet for KU Leuven University to study Business Administration. At first, I was a bit hesitant. I read through the source material of what my course entailed, and I saw the dreaded Accounting class. I was convinced that I was not going to pass it and that I was going to drop out, so I didn't even bother applying. It wasn't until a couple months before my graduation that I decided to give it a shot. I decided that this was the time for me to be courageous and to do something that was out of my comfort zone. I jumped straight into the deep end.
That sudden boost of confidence is the reason why I'm in the position that I am today. I remember taking my first Accounting class in University and absolutely loving it. I dipped my toes into finance, economics and the broad world of business, and I realized that this is where I belong. This continuous world of courage and confidence is what led me to working with Women in Finance. When I was applying for this job, I felt like I was transported back to 17-year-old me, hesitating to try something new. If it wasn't for the support of my parents, other family members and my friends, I wouldn't have the fearlessness to apply. I landed the student job and yet again it's probably the best thing that I've ever done for myself. And I sincerely hope that Mathy of the future will continue to be courageous. I hope that future me will always remember that I'm in a certain position in my life because I belong there. I want future Mathy to know that the values of honesty and certainty are values that I want to uphold for as long as I live.
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