“We go back to Norway every year to visit family and friends. Norway is stunning in the summer – which only lasts for three weeks – the rest of the year is pretty grey. South Africa is always exciting and the weather is always fantastic throughout the year,” says Tellefsen.
Although trained as a physical therapist with an undergraduate degree from Ohio University, when her family relocated to South Africa, Tellefsen started her own business in the hospitality and tourism industry. Her love for people motivated her to open up Rosendal Winery and Wellness Retreat in 2005 – a guest house, spa and wine tasting experience in Robertson, Western Cape.
Running a business made her realise that she would benefit from some extra business skills, and thus she embarked on an MBA at UCT GSB in 2013. One thing led to another, and when Linda Fasham retired as head of alumni last year – a position she had held for 27 years – the school asked Tellefsen if she would be interested in the role.
“I jumped at the chance,” she says. “My time at the UCT GSB as a student had undoubtedly convinced me that this is a top institution and I was eager to get involved in any way that I could.”
As the new Alumni Relations Manager, Tellefsen meets, communicates and helps alumni with any queries or requests they may have – from connecting old classmates to recruiting from current classes. Her goal is to build and manage the best alumni network in Africa, which she believes will make the UCT GSB an even better institution.
Tellefsen aims to bring a fresh approach to the job by exploring new ways of engaging and communicating with the alumni and maintaining an open, two-way line of communication at all times. She admits that this could be challenging, as she will be dealing with five decades of alumni!
“The alumni make it all worthwhile. They are so amazingly engaged and willing to help and give back to the school, and they are always so interesting and inspiring to work with.”
An experienced academic and researcher, Mukuddem-Petersen has won several research awards and published approximately 100 internationally peer-reviewed books, book chapters, journal articles, conference proceedings papers and policy research. In the last decade, she has served as a practitioner and co-worker on major consultancy projects for the financial services industry and is a regular referee and reviewer for several prominent internationally peerreviewed journals and reviewing agencies. In 2010, her research in economics was acknowledged with a National Research Foundation (NRF) rating.
Mukuddem-Petersen is also passionate about enabling others to succeed. In 2005, she and her husband, a business mathematics and informatics professor, co-founded the Economic Modelling and Econometric Research Group (EMERG) that contributes to debates in relevant research and provides guidance with academic advice and practical support to students completing research degrees. This programme later evolved into a registered company, Greme Global that collects and analyses sensitive data on banking regulation.
Mukuddem–Petersen’s own research interests are related to the nexus between capital, leverage, risk, credit crunches, banking crises and procyclicality in small, medium and large financial institutions. In particular, bank regulation and the capitalisation of globally systemically important banks. In 2014, her research article on subprime mortgage funding appeared in the leading international journal, Quantitative Finance. Also, her books on subprime mortgage models and Basel liquidity regulation were launched by New York-based publishers in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
With so much on her plate, it is hard to image that she has much time left over, but Mukuddem-Petersen is also a committed wife and mother. She has two daughters, Daena (13) and Jenna (8) in grades 9 and 3, who keep her busy.
Prior to her appointment at the UCT GSB, Mukuddem-Petersen was a postdoctoral fellow at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and a professor at North-West University. Through teaching, research and supervision, she says that she plans to continue to contribute to and develop trends in economic research, specifically in the area of global banking regulation.
“It is important for the future stability of the world financial system that we thoroughly understand the relationship between bank capital and liquidity and put in place measures to prevent a repeat of the 2008-9 financial crisis,” she says.