Saturday, September 21, 2019

Conversations: an email newsletter with career tips for young Nigerian professionals

Seven years and ~12 kg ago. I can't believe friends from university thought I had put on weight in this picture!

It is now 7+ years since I moved to Lagos to start my first job at P&G. Fresh out of university, I did not know what to expect. I was armed with a few shirts, a fierce determination to succeed, and two gifts from my mum: a pen holder and Richard Templar’s The Rules of Work.

There have been many ups and downs since then. Tough assignments, unexpected promotions, a downsizing, getting married, business school… The list could go on for a while. Through it all, I have learnt a lot about being a successful young professional in (and outside of) Nigeria.

I have always been drawn to sharing what I learn. I spend a lot of time reflecting (I have been told I spend too much time reflecting), reading, and talking to my role-models and mentors about life and career. I enjoy taking all that thinking and advice and condensing it for people who don’t invest as much time or don’t have access to such relationships.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

On Seun Onigbinde; Nigeria's Idealistic Idealism

You have argued for government transparency and judicious spending for years. You believe in these principles so much that you quit your job eight years ago to start a company dedicated to these ideals. You care strongly about your country and have criticized the government for its ineptitude. Then a development agency underwrites a position where you can apply your skills in service of your country. You will not change the entire system – of course, but you believe you might make a small difference.

Would you take the position?

Many Nigerians on Twitter seem to think you shouldn’t. Seun Onigbinde has been criticized strongly for accepting a position as Technical Adviser to the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning. Among other things, he is being criticized because he is critical of the current government and has previously said he would not accept an advisory position if he didn’t believe in the President.

I would make the same choice as Seun if I were in his shoes, so I wanted to spend some time thinking through it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Happy Birthday, Koye

Wishes from my last birthday. Thank you, INSEAD fam
It’s my birthday!

I was just thinking about my birthday last year. I was in the penultimate period of the academic year at business school and I was anxious about recruiting. It turned out I was worrying about the wrong thing. The real trouble in the past year turned out to be the kind that blindsided me on a Wednesday morning deep in the middle of autumn. After I got off the phone, I remember thinking stupidly it was weird that the many dead leaves of autumn looked so beautiful.

The past year has been one heck of a ride. September to December went by in a blur as I interviewed ‘furiously’ and wrapped up the academic year. I’m glad my mum was there as I finished the MBA, and although my dad could not make that one – I’m sure he’ll be beaming in the audience when I earn the next degree (Yes you read that right). I had a three month break after the rollercoaster of the INSEAD year, which was great for reflecting, spending time with friends and family, and falling in love with Lagos again. We then moved to an exciting new city not too far from home (Home-home is Ibadan, home is Lagos).