Written by Milpark Communications 

If at First You Don’t Succeed – Try, Try, Try Again: Khomotso Chuma’s Story 

Khomotso Masingita Chuma has been determined to become a chartered accountant (CA) since her early years of high school in Polokwane. Despite many challenges, including three failed attempts and becoming a new mom halfway through her course, she successfully completed her Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting (PGDA) with Milpark in 2023.

Khomotso is currently doing her SAICA articles with PwC, one of the world’s leading audit and assurance firms. She shared her remarkable story of resilience with us – encouraging anyone who doesn’t succeed the first time around to keep persevering.

Try, try, try and try again

“I started doing accounting in Grade 8 and loved it. After making it into the top five during Matric, I was selected to visit PwC; I knew then I wanted to become a chartered accountant. I heard people say it took them 10 years to qualify. At the time I thought that wouldn’t be me! But here I am eight years later, with my goal now within reach.”

After graduating with a BCom from a residential university in “record time,” Khomotso attempted the PGDA at an online university and failed, twice. The first time she continued writing after an online exam ended, not realising her paper would be automatically disqualified. The second time, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Khomotso was struggling with her mental health. “I eventually went on medication, but it was too late, I had missed too much work.”

She felt shattered by these two experiences and believed it may be better to study in person than online. She managed to get re-accepted at the residential university but found herself disoriented and struggling once again.

An unwavering belief 

Despite these disappointments, Khomotso maintained an unwavering belief that she would eventually succeed. Her family and her devoted partner continued to give emotional and financial backing. “My mother told me she didn’t mind if I failed again, she would only be disappointed if I didn’t try.

“There were many things my mom put on hold to give us an education. I wanted to succeed for her. That kept me going.”

Khomotso eventually decided to study with Milpark. “They offered in-person examinations at various venues; this was very important after my disastrous online exam experience.”

A culture of support 

The encouragement and the practical help Khomotso received from staff and students has been critical to her eventual success. “Milpark offers all kinds of backup, from dedicated one-to-one counselling – online and in-person – to weekly drop-in sessions, WhatsApp and study groups.

“I formed good relationships with other students, especially with the 3 AM Club, a group of early risers who encourage one another to study when most people are still sleeping. This accountability helps you remain disciplined.”

“There is a culture of helping one another, among the students and staff. People genuinely care. While I was writing exams, two of my family members died. I was devasted. One of the counsellors made time to see me immediately, helping me stay on track.”

After a complicated birth in the middle of her course, Khomotso again felt she couldn’t cope. Student support officer Terri-Leigh Ryklief stepped in. “She helped me keep going when I thought I couldn’t. She deserves half my honours and is a big part of why I passed.”

Growing confidence 

Studying at Milpark gave Khomotso the knowledge she needed and transformed her outlook on life. The structured approach and much-needed support gave her confidence during a challenging period, reaffirming her belief in her abilities.

Khomotso also noticed a significant shift in her prospects when she started applying for jobs towards the end of the year. “Saying I was at Milpark seemed to open doors. I was offered contracts by four firms, I opted for PwC.

Life happens 

As a young professional and new mom, Khomotso believes that life will always happen, and preparing for the unexpected is vital.

She also says it’s important to forgive yourself if you fail. “Take the lesson but don’t be hard or unkind to yourself. If I did anything differently this time around, it was starting on a fresh page and focusing on the positives – even when it felt like the negatives were winning.”

Having passed her PGDA and secured a position at one of the world’s leading accounting firms, Khomotso is a great example of the adage ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” Her resilience and her determination to succeed are inspiring! The future looks bright for her and her young family. We wish her every success.

Words of wisdom

Her most important piece of advice for other students is to seek help if you’re struggling. “If you need help, just speak up and reach out. You don’t have to figure it out by yourself. Trust the Milpark process, they know what they are doing.”

To connect with the Student Support team email [email protected].

Find out more about our Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting here.