Want a career in South Africa's top five banks? Read this!

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The best way to start off your career in banking is through obtaining the right qualification (Shutterstock.com)

Working for one of South Africa’s top banking companies is all about making money. From assisting clients to raise loans to providing them with tips to make wise investments, money in banking talks.

Before your bank account can also do the talking, you need to ensure you have the right qualification.

Why a qualification in commerce?

While most banking companies will welcome candidates from all academic disciplines, from a knowledge and learning perspective, your commerce degree will place you in a better position. Plus, research conducted by an executive placement agency revealed that a third of South Africa’s CEO's in the top 100 listed companies hold a Bachelor of Commerce degree.

Undergraduate qualifications

Banks are on the lookout for exceptional candidates with a good academic record. However, obtaining your degree from one of South Africa’s recognised institutions will also place you in a better chance of being spotted by the best in the business. Top universities on the country’s Big Banking Five include but are not limited to the following:

  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Witwatersrand
  • University of Pretoria
  • University of Stellenbosch
  • Rhodes University
  • University of Johannesburg
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • These banks also prefer the following majors:

  • Finance/Investment management
  • Accounting/Financial Management
  • Economics/Econometrics
  • Statistics
  • Actuarial Science
  • Financial/Applied Mathematics
  • Engineering (All specialisations)
  • Law
  • Postgraduate studies

    To be the perfect banker doesn’t mean having a CV full of academic qualifications at the expense of no work experience and interpersonal skills. However, it sure does count towards gaining skills you may be lacking, as well as more money in the bank.

    Take a look  at the qualifications held by South Africa’s top banking CEO’s as well as their salaries:

    CEO of FirstRand: Sizwe Nxasana

    Undergraduate degree: Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Fort Hare

    Postgraduate studies: Bachelor of Accounting Science Honours degree and chartered accountancy degrees

    Total compensation:  R29 488 000

    CEO of FNB: Jacques Celliers

    Undergraduate degree: Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) from the University of Stellenbosch

    Postgraduate studies: Master of Business Administration from the University of Cape Town

    Total compensation: R13 513 000

    Co-CEO of Standard Bank Group: Barend Kruger

    Undergraduate degree: Bachelor of Commerce  (Honours) degree from the University of Pretoria

    Postgraduate studies: CA(SA) and an Advanced Management Programme from Harvard, United States

    Total compensation: R19 010 000

    Co-CEO of Standard Bank Group: Simpiwe Tshabalala

    Undergraduate degree: Bachelor of Law from Rhodes University

    Postgraduate studies: Master of Law (LLM) from the University of Notre Dame, United States, HDip Tax from Wits and an Advanced Management Program from Harvard, United States

    Total compensation: R24 278 000

    CEO of Barclays Africa Group: Maria Ramos

    Undergraduate degree: Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Witwatersrand and a bankers Diploma (CAIB) from the Institute of Bankers in South Africa

    Postgraduate studies: Master of Science degree from the University of London

    Total compensation: R28 571 000

    CEO of Nedbank Group: Michael Brown

    Undergraduate degree: Bachelor of Commerce and Diploma in Accounting from the University of KwaZulu-Natal

    Postgraduate studies: CA(SA) and Advanced Management Programme from Harvard Business School

    Total compensation: R35 050 000

    A qualification in commerce may not be the only way to reach your banking career aspirations, but it's a sure way to give you a head start into the country's big five banks. Find the latest banking positions with Careers24.