Olwethu Dlangamandla

Hometown and province:  Mthatha, Eastern Cape
Current Job/Occupation/Degree:  Masters of Science in Statistics

  • MSc in Mathematical Statistics (currently),
  • BScH in Mathematical Statistics,
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education,
  • BSc in Mathematical Statistics and Pure & Applied Mathematics

Previous job(s): Tutoring, Theory of finance ADP Tutor, Theory of finance tutor coordinator

What motivated you to study further?
Data are being collected everywhere and all the time, mostly in the form of surveys. Knowledge in statistical analysis of complex surveys provides one with the necessary tools and conceptual foundations in quantitative reasoning. I completed a BSc honours in Mathematical Statistics in 2017 with a research project entitled “A simulation study for missing data in surveys”. Through this research I have learnt that survey analysis is an essential technique that enables researchers to draw meaningful inference from data since statistics, as a discipline, is concerned with the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, as well as the type of reasoning necessary for making important advances and decisions in various fields. As a build-up from my honours research project, I have decided to pursue a master’s degree with a research entitled “Analysis of complex survey data”. During my research I aim to acquire more skills and focus specifically in the analysis of complex survey data by understanding complex sampling designs, complexity that comes with survey data, and appropriate analysis methods available for statistical inference using different models.

What is your area of specialisation?
Sampling and analysis of survey data

What course do you find was the most useful in your undergraduate/Honours?
Generalised Linear Model, Multivariate Analysis, Linear Algebra, and Advanced Calculus.

In what way does your qualification relate to your work, whether directly or indirectly?
In my research I will be utilising Generalised Linear Models as methods of analysis. For this I will be relying a lot on the knowledge I acquired from the GLM honours course as well as the General Linear Models course in 3rd year. The data I will be using will be simulated. For this I will be revising some of the content of the bootstrap course in honours as it involved numerous simulations and a 2nd year project involving Monte Carlo simulations. To understand the theory behind the methods I will be using, I will be revising the content of the Multivariate Analysis honours course.

What are your day-to-day activities?
Reading, reading and lots of reading (books and journal articles) and writing. Preparation and tutoring in between. Meetings with supervisor.

What are the best and most challenging parts of your job/degree?
Firstly, the fact that you do not have lectures, instead seminars ????, which means more flexibility, but the trick is to be independent, disciplined and hardworking. Also, the transition from learning theory in undergrad and honours to applying the theory that you have acquired in your research.

How did your extra-curricular involvement while at Rhodes add value (transferable skills) to what you offer the world of work/your degree?
Extra-curricular activities like joining a society community service, helped me sharpen my interpersonal skills which enabled me to better relate to the students during ADP sessions and fellow postgraduate students.  

Advice to current students:
Get involved! Remember this is the time to figure yourself out. Grab opportunities like tutoring with both hands because you will get an experience of a life time. For instance, in my case the position of being a Theory of Finance ADP tutor and tutor coordination has helped me gain attributes like patience, hard-work, confidence, presentation skills and time management.

In retrospect, what advice can you give to students about how to approach their own career development journeys?
Do research on what you interested in so that you can decide on your second major that will go well will Statistics.
Seek advice from the lecturers and seniors and stay connected with them because you will need their guidance on what to expect and how to navigate the field, make use of the fact that we are a small department.
Do you have any advice for a new graduate entering the world of work/thinking about post graduate studies?
Research on various fields you find interesting and start talking to a potential supervisor from an early stage. Construct a research proposal using your findings that will challenge and interest you. Be involved in your department and contribute to positive criticism and change.

Last Modified: Mon, 15 Apr 2019 12:14:47 SAST