Old Mutual Personal Finance managing director, Karabo Morule, 36, has made it to this year’s distinguished list of World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders. Image: Supplied.
JOHANNESBURG - Breaking proverbial glass ceilings is second nature to Johannesburg business executive Karabo Morule.

She is second black woman to qualify as an actuary in South Africa and has now become one of only two South Africans to be invited this year to join the sought-after World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders programme (YGL).

And not only that, she is among 10 promising leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa to be admitted to the distinguished list, comprising 100 of the world’s most dynamic artists, business leaders, public servants, social entrepreneurs and technologists under the age of 40.

Morule, 36, is managing director of Old Mutual Personal Finance, described as one of the London Stock Exchange-listed group’s largest business segments, servicing almost 2 million customers.

She says she is very excited about the future: “The five-year programme run by the Forum of YGL will provide me with an opportunity to attend top universities such as Harvard, Stanford and Oxford, and take part in key summits. My current paradigms will be challenged and I look forward to growing my impact as a leader.” 

Morule matriculated from the prominent all-girls' boarding and day school, Roedean School, in Johannesburg in 1999 with five distinctions.

She went on to obtain her Business Science degree in Actuarial Science with First Class Honours from the University of Cape Town (UCT). 

She is a Fellow of the Actuarial Society of South Africa and was recognised by the Mail & Guardian in 2014 as one of 200 Young South African leaders shaping the country’s future.

In an interview with Business Report, Morule says making the list of the Forum of YGL means a lot to her as it’s a great platform for a global conversation on matters affecting the world. She says it’s a platform upon which to make the world a better place.

After graduating from UCT, she joined multinational financial services company J.P. Morgan as an analyst in 2005.

In 2006, she moved to the company’s London office where she worked for three-and-a-half years.

“I’ve always loved travelling. It was such an exciting opportunity to work for one of the global banks,” says Morule, who joined the company as part of a graduate programme.

She was trained in New York for two months and was given a choice to stay. Spoilt for choice, Morule chose the London office because of flight distance and the reasonable time difference between the world’s largest financial centre and South Africa, compared to New York.

She returned to South Africa and joined Old Mutual in 2010 because of her bigger vision of what Africa could be and the great opportunities that exist in South Africa and the continent.

“I feel I could contribute to South Africa’s and Africa’s growth potential. I want to use this platform (YGL) to grow and help other people,” says Morule.

On breaking glass ceilings, she says she didn’t realise she was the second black woman to qualify as an actuary in the country until the end of 2017.

“It was a highlight for me because of the big social impact the profession has, and it was great to achieve that as such a young age.” She says people should focus on what they could do to improve the world.

Morule says she likes watching movies and seeing new places. She would be travelling to Nigeria this week and wants to tick Uganda, Ethiopia and Zambia off her bucket list this year.