“An executive PA position is a highly sought after role, and it’s extremely demanding – but I’m an integral part of a team that recognises my input and appreciates the hard work that I put in.”

The Oxbridge Academy team recently chatted to Bongi Ncube, an Executive PA at a big investment company in Cape Town. Here’s a sneak peek into a typical day in Bongi’s life:

07:30 – It’s Monday morning and I’ve arrived a little earlier than usual, as we have a very busy day ahead of us. Our quarterly board meeting will be taking place this week – so it’s all hands on deck! Besides arranging board packs and helping the Managing Director put together presentations, I’ve also had to arrange flights, transfers, and hotel accommodation for other board members flying in. Usually I start the day by enjoying a cup of coffee while I check my e-mails, but today this will have to wait.

08:00 – The MD calls me into his office, as we have to make changes to some of the presentation slides.

10:15 – I’m back at my desk after the meeting, and will have to make some more changes to the presentation. I’m dying for a cup of coffee and decide to make a cup before I start with the rest of my day. Part of my responsibilities include keeping on top of the MD’s appointments, booking travel arrangements, preparing presentations, and co-ordinating meetings. And it isn’t only the Executive’s work life that I manage; I regularly organise personal arrangements, such as making dinner reservations and buying gifts. I really love my job, and don’t mind making personal arrangements – after all, it’s what I signed up for.

12:00 – Lunch time! I’m starving! Luckily I remembered to pack some lunch, and I decide to take a quick break to catch up with some of my colleagues.

12:30 – Back at my desk after a quick lunch. Two of the other board members asked me to help them with small changes on their presentations – so I start with this first. In my job, it’s important that I’m very organised and able to juggle tasks where necessary. Some of the less important things will have to wait. I also make dinner reservations at a new restaurant around the corner for the Executive team.

14:00 – Annual Executive Conference kick-off meeting. As Executive PA, I am responsible for organising the Annual Executive Conference. It’s an important event in our company, and I have to make sure that each year is bigger and better than the previous year. I’ve arranged a meeting with our team to get their input. It involves a lot of organising – from researching the destination, booking accommodation, arranging flights and transfers (if necessary), and applying for visas, to choosing menus for the dinners and arranging activities for the team during the day. This year, I will also be going to the conference to ensure that everything runs smoothly. I’m extremely excited, as it will take place in Zambia, and we’ll be staying very close to the Victoria Falls. Maybe I can go bungee jumping while I’m there!

15:30 – While I’m daydreaming about the trip, the phone rings – it’s my MD, who wants me to meet with him to go over the presentation changes I made. He makes more changes and adds some information. He needs the final presentation before I leave the office. I’m meant to meet up with some friends after work, but might have to cancel.

17:00 – I e-mail the MD with the final presentation, check some urgent e-mails that have landed in my inbox, and return important calls. It’s been a productive day and I leave the office at 17:30 – just in time to meet up with my friends.

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