Sinenhlanhla Ntuli tackled her Quantity Surveying degree at NMMU after successfully graduating with a BSc in Construction Economics. Check out what this award winning student has to share about her experiences.
I went to Kingsway High School in Durban, where I matriculated with the high school subjects Maths, Physics, Business Studies and Engineering Graphics & Design. My subjects helped me prepare for my future studies. From Grade 11 onwards, I had the inkling to study something within Business Science, which is exactly what I went on to do.
I skipped the gap year option and went right into studying at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. I decided to enrol for the BSc in Construction Economics, and later for the BSc Honours in Quantity Surveying – both within NMMU’s Engineering faculty. What prompted my decision to study within these fields was my interest and passion for them, as well as their multifaceted nature.
Quantity surveyors control the money for their clients in construction and property development projects. Some of the responsibilities include:
- financial consulting for building contracts
- advising on property development schemes
- estimating the costs of projects
- advising on the feasibility of projects
- preparing tender documents
- negotiating with building contractors
- evaluating work in progress on building sites
- determining the final costs of projects
For the studies in Honours, we did assignments involving
- measuring of construction building
- preparing elemental estimate on the cost of the buildings
- preparing presentations on factors within our industry (such as the electricity crisis: How has it affected the construction process?)
Not Easy as Pie
My Honours degree in Quantity Surveying was quite challenging. Although I enjoy challenges, I really had to give 100% of my undivided attention to my studies. There is a heavy workload, which was probably the most challenging part, in particular because I was juggling studies with a student job (even though it’s not advised). I worked at Wakaberry, the frozen yogurt bar. Sadly I didn’t get an opportunity to work in my field during my studies, because of rejections or no responses to my applications – most of the time this was due to my lack of experience in the field.
Because of the time constraints I actually did fail some subjects during university. I ended up extending my degree by one year, which was quite a personal setback for me. I had to do summer school and get re-examined.
It’s really important to manage your time well, to always attend lectures, and to always remember that your studies are the main priority. The party life needs to take a backseat. Underestimating a subject and thinking it’s too easy is also dangerous, because those are actually the ones you tend to fail.
Moving away from home to go study wasn’t easy. I stayed in res, and though I missed home, it was a very rewarding experience, because I discovered my independence.
All in all, the best part about my studies has been the incredible people I’ve met. I’ve made friendships that will continue for a long time. I’ve also had some awesome, caring lecturers who have been the most helpful with regards to my academic performance.
Another great experience from university was winning 4 out of 6 awards at the 8th Annual SACQSP Conference in Bloemfontein (2015) where I was privileged to represent my department as well as university as a whole. My awards included The LimCo Youth Woman Presentation Paper Award and the Innovation Paper Award.
Pieces of Advice
- Choose your course wisely.
- Have a responsible support system.
- Form close relationships with people that empower you.
- Make friends with likeminded people who are goal driven and who keep their eyes on the prize.
Admission requirements at NMMU
For the BSc in Construction Economics:
- APS: 36
- English/Afrikaans/isiXhosa (HL or FAL) Level 3 (40 – 49%)
- Mathematics Level 4 (50-59%)
For the BSc Honours in Quantity Surveying:
- BSc in Construction Economics (or a qualification deemed equivalent and approved by Senate)
- A weighted average of at least 60% for major modules at third year level
Engineering studies require lots of hard work – which is why it has a reputation for being a tough study path. Luckily for you, former Engineering students have written about their study experiences to give you a glimpse into the Engineering students’ lives. Check out 5 Tips on how to make it through 1st year Engineering, or what to expect from Mechanical or Civil Engineering.