College of Agriculture, Engineering
and Science (CAES)

MSc Research into Statistical Model for Crude Oil Market

Crude oil, the price of which is currently at an all-time low, was the focus of research by Ms Nompilo Mabaso for her Master’s degree in Statistics.

Mabaso’s investigations were rewarded when she received her degree summa cum laude during UKZN’s 2020 virtual Graduation ceremony.

The aim of her research was to obtain a precise and reliable statistical model that could assess the risk associated with this market. She says her investigations made her realise statistical knowledge was in high demand in the field of finance as financial risk has a huge impact on lives.

While still a young girl at Siphakeme High School in Ngomeni, Greytown, Mabaso set her heart on studying at UKZN… and with five distinctions in matric she was on her way!

Mabaso sailed through her undergraduate BSc degree, majoring in Applied Mathematics and Statistics, before progressing to a BSc Honours degree in Statistics, which she completed in 2018.

‘My MSc research gives insight for investors, particularly in the crude oil market, on evaluating risks of potential loss that could impact their decision making. This loss can also help portfolio managers be prepared for any potential loss their companies may face,’ she said.

Mabaso says she thoroughly enjoyed her master’s degree study.  ‘It made me think out the box. The fact that I could study for a deeper understanding of a topic and come up with a solution that could be applied in the real world, was an eye opener.’

Her masters study was supervised by Dr Knowledge Chinhamu and Dr Retius Chifurira.

‘Nompilo demonstrated a deep understanding of the research problem, rigorous statistical analytical skills, and exceptional report writing skills,’ said Chinhamu.  ‘She is hardworking and brings in innovative ideas.’

Chifurira added: ‘We used to give Nompilo tasks to do in a specified time frame and she would always complete them as suggested and on time. She really made our task of supervising easy.’

Mabaso, who has already summarised her MSc dissertation for submission to an applied statistics journal, said her future career interests lay in academia. She is currently lecturing at North West University and has plans to pursue a PhD.

Mabaso said that she owed her success to God.  ‘Above all, God is the main driver of my career path. This achievement is the response of His faithful words.’

Outside of academics, Mabaso enjoys singing and reading.

Words: Samantha Ngcongo

Photograph:  Supplied