How I won a CFA Scholarship

You can get yours too using my guide

The Parable of Ewa Agoyin

Business lessons from a meal

My Mckinsey Story

Find out what the world’s number one consulting firm asks in interviews

Why I am writing a blog

Nowadays everybody seems to have a blog. I write mine out of purpose.

Taking your skill to the next level

Find out how you can make One Million Naira with your skill set

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jim Lafferty on Leadership

A few years ago, I attended a seminar where Jim Lafferty then CEO CocaCola West Africa spoke on leadership. Going through my notes, I found some timeless insights I would love to share with you. Items after this paragraph are from Jim.

Characteristics of good leaders
1. People respect them - What you need in the working place is respect not love.
2. People want to work for them.
3. People feel support & protection.
4. People are loyal to great leaders.
5. People admire them & aspire to be like them.

Leadership emotions are built upon actions, behaviours and interactions.
12 leadership’s behaviours

1. Humble & human – not afraid to admit mistakes, great leaders admit their humanity.
2. Live by the principle “in third”
3. Brutal, 100% honesty, in all shapes and forms.
4. Demand truth and honesty in return and reward it.
5. Do what is right no matter the price.
• A principle is not a principle until it costs you something.
• Leaders must be above reproach.
6. Eliminate the following 3 words: Politics, Positioning,Bureaucracy.
7. Great leaders dream BIG.
8. Have the guts to take risks – calculated risks.
9. When you do something, do it with passion, or don’t do it at all.
10. Believe anything is possible – never say “can’t”.
11. Stay calm when the gun is against your head.
12. Seek to be different.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

ARM Young Talent Programme 2014

ARM is one of the most respected financial services brands in Nigeria. ARM is a diversified and integrated, non-bank financial services institution with 18 years investment management expertise. ARM pioneered the execution of infrastructure projects in Nigeria, based on the Public Private Partnership framework. ARM manages total assets of over $2 billion.

The ARM Young Talent Programme (AYTP) is designed to provide exemplary university students with the opportunity to develop an early career at ARM through an exposure to meaningful assignments that offer opportunities to gain real-world experience. The programme runs for a minimum of six (6) weeks each year. It is our chosen way to influence the development of talents in our environment.

I was part of the 2012 AYTP programme and I must tell you it was a wonderful experience. We worked on developing a customer acquisition strategy and brand awareness strategy for the ARM Group.

If you are conversant with 3rd Mainland Bridge, you would notice a huge ARM billboard. That was one of the recommendations we made on ARM’s brand awareness strategy. Also, ARM had a career day in UNILAG recently which was also one of our recommendations.

See my comments on the programme which was published in the ARM 2012 Annual Reports & Financial Statements:

“AYTP was fun, innovative and provided me with learning opportunities. It was great to see young professionals and students entrusted with such a huge responsibility of developing strategies for a company like ARM. The work environment was awesome with interns having unhindered access to mentorship from all staff. It also felt good seeing some of our recommendations implemented after the program. I learnt, made friends and generally had a great time”. – David Apaflo on AYTP 2012

Members of the AYTP 2012 Set @ Lakowe Lakes – An ARM Real Estate Project

I was recently contacted by the firm to notify me of the opening of applications for the 2014 programme. Please click here to find out more.

Brush up your resume and polish yourself for the interview because it is going to be very competitive.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

10 things every new entrant to the Job Market must know about managing a salary

So you fasted and prayed combining the knowledge on online forums like nairaland and and finally got a job. Hurray!!! I congratulate you.

This news lands in the ears of your friends and the next thing they tell you is “We go wash am oh”. You also tell your pastor and you are aptly informed of a first fruit offering or maybe you have even decided to give your first salary to your parents as a sign of gratitude.

Before the salary is earned, it is already spent.

The following tips should help every new entrant in the job market concerning managing finances. Some regrettably, I wish I knew earlier.

1. You really do not have to “wash” your new job. While it is okay to be grateful and want to celebrate, going over the top is never a wise decision.

2. Look at your offer letter well and find out how much you are actually taking home. Nowadays, Nigerian employees state salaries at “cost to employer” this means that they lump all benefits you are to receive to form your total emolument. So that 3.5m you see on your offer letter might not really amount to 290,000 monthly. This is because of the following reasons:

Taxes: The government gets a share of your earnings through what is known as PAYE (Pay As You Earn). The average tax rate for earnings between 1.5 -4m is about 6-11%
Pension: You are required to contribute 7.5% of your Basic, Housing and Transport allowance as pension. Now your employer is also to contribute 7.5% but as earlier stated, most Nigerian companies have already included this contribution in the total emolument stated on the offer letter.
Health Insurance: If your employer provides health insurance, there is a high probability that that money goes out from your total emolument stated in your offer letter.
NHF: NHF means National Housing Fund even though few companies in Nigeria comply, you are to contribute to this fund.
Training: Some employers also add this to the total emolument stated in your offer letter.
One-off payments: Some items like leave allowance, passage allowance and maybe 13th month are paid at specific times and so take note.

3. The cost of working: In order to earn your pay, you would have to spend on transportation, feeding etc.

4. Overtime allowances are taxable: This one has had a lot of people disappointed. Yes, even if you toil all night working overtime, your allowances are not tax free!

5. Keep your expenses low: you are finally in Victoria Island with that dream job but if your expenses jump with your income, after a while the job would become annoying because its proceeds would just go into bill payments. Avoid taxis as much as possible (usually 4 times more expensive than regular bus rides), regular eating at fast food restaurants like KFC etc, Friday night outs can gulp half of your monthly pay if you are not careful. A bottle of Hennessey anywhere in VI doesn’t go for less than 25k. You also really do not need to buy all the items hawked in traffic. Fund raising in churches and mosques can also leave you broke if you do not apply wisdom.

6. Join a staff cooperative: If your company has a staff cooperative, join it. It will help you become disciplined with savings and you might be able to take loans at considerate interest rates when you need it.

7. Have an emergency fund: Have at least 3 months of your monthly expenses saved in an account just in case you happen to be out of work at any time.

8. Avoid loans early in your career: Try as much as possible to avoid taking loans very early into your career unless it is really really necessary. This can really take out the joy of earning money for the period the loan repayment lasts. Avoid buying things like mobile phones on credit, save money and buy it.

9. Plan your free cash: Free cash is what you have after you have deducted all the taxes, pension, etc. This is what you can use to achieve those great ambitions you have. Money would not fall from the sky for you to have that wedding you dream of neither would your Range Rover Sport fall from the sky. If you do not manage your free cash, you CANNOT have those things! Knowing how sentimental Nigerians can be, this isn’t a curse it is simple reasoning.

10. Track your daily expenses: This may sound absurd but write down every naira you spend. This helps you know where your money is going.

Now that you have a job, the onus is on you to manage your finances in a way that you can achieve your goals.

If you get an offer and would like expert advice on all the aforementioned, feel free to enlist my services at a fee obviously *wink*.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Stanford GSB Information Session - Lagos

With the world's focus on Africa, its no surprise that everyone wants a piece in the African pie.

Representatives of Stanford's Graduate School of Business were in Lagos recently for an information session on gaining admission into the prestigious school.

For those that do not know, Stanford GSB is ranked in the top 3 Business Schools in the world alongside Harvard and Wharton.

The venue for the information session was Radisson Blu Hotel and the Admissions officer Sabah Khan (pretty lady I must say) was on hand to handle the session.

The also gathered a team of Stanford Alumni resident in Nigeria to enable prospective applicants get a feel of he school from the perspective of people who have passed through the system.

Sabah took the audience through a short presentation of Stanford GSB and what they look for particularly stating that they help people achieve careers if meaning and impact. She also talked about the Design School also known as the D-School which got me really interested. She also explained the school's global immersion program in which you will be required to live and work in a country you have never lived in before for a period of about 12 weeks.

The alumni present also enlightened the audience on the environment at Stanford GSB and its very close links to Silicon Valley. They also talked about preparation for the admission process and other related matters.

Shortly after, a question and answer session allowed the audience ask pertinent questions and a few of the questions were:

Q: Who do I get a reference letter from if I run my own business?
A: You can ask a member of your Board of Directors or Clients to write your recommendation.

Q: What in your opinion would you say is the major challenge for applicants from Africa based on your experience?
: The GMAT, late applications.

My Key takeaways from the event

1. If you want to apply to Stanford, ensure you apply before the third round because you have much better chances and also as a non-resident, the admissions committee would be concerned about whether they can easily make arrangements for accommodation for you within that short time frame.

2. Practice for GMAT like yur life depends on it.

3. Get strong recommendations to support your application.

4. Stanford actually has a full schorlarship program for African Students!!!!

For more information, see here

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 coming to an end

Wow!!! 2013 has come to an end so fast.

In what has been an amazing year for me, I want to specially thank you for taking the time to read my articles. When we reached 1,000 views, I set a target of 10,000 views by December 31, 2013. We aren't there yet. However, we are just a few figures off the 6,000 views mark.

Beyond the views, I hope you have learnt something from me no matter how small.

Shout out to Blast Magazine, EntreQuo Magazine,, Under35CEO and my Shelze Consulting team. You guys have been fabulous.

For 2014, we would have more guest writers. Watch out for the interview with the Man who moved from a 2.0 CGPA to a 5.00 CGPA simply by changing direction and much more.

Looking forward to a very successful 2014.

Happy New Year.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Even Beggars think they need improvement, how much more YOU?

Yes!!! now has guest writers!!!! Below is a brilliant piece from Tobi Adeseri.Tobi is a Business Strategist and a Brand Consultant.

Recently, on my way to work, I came across 3 beggars plying their trade as is usual with most places in Lagos. As I walked past them, one called out to me saying "Oga Good Morning, where my own". This statement made no sense to me and I just kept on moving. Walking past them I began to wonder what he meant by that statement and then I heard the other two making jest of him asking "wetin be where my own" then it dawned on me the former guy wasn't as skillful as his other colleagues.

This really took me back to life and made me remember the story a friend told me of a popular beggar that had started building and developing his house and this made me realize that even begging is a skill and the best of them (the guys on the road you give money to out of pity) think they have to perfect their skill to invoke your sympathy.

Drawing inspiration and lessons from every little experience, I made up my mind to take that decision of paying for a book that seemed so expensive yet so valuable because the experience made me realize that the more you improve, the more your chances of getting something from life and the closer you are to achieving whichever goal you have set for yourself.

As I type this, I'm still inspired by my experience because now I say to myself " If beggars see the need to grow and learn, there is no excuse for me to remain stagnant". No doubt, with the lessons learnt, I'd grow the amount in my pocket so I can give when I'm begged in a more professional way maybe. :).

Tobi tweets from the twitter handle @adeseri

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Google 2013 Trends - Behind the statistics (Nigeria)

What would you do if you knew tomorrow? A whole lot right? Today’s behavior is one of the very good determinants of how tomorrow would be. Looking at Google’s 2013 trends list, I put together my own thoughts on these trends. What it could mean for business and also in general.

5 of the top searched people are sportsmen. This shows that Nigerians are sport crazy. You cannot go wrong with a business that leverages on this fanatic love for sports especially football.

With Wizkid, Olamide and Davido all in the top 3, we can tell the under 25s are rocking the entertainment scene. This might not be unrelated to the demographic characteristics of the Nigerian population with a very high percentage of the people below the age of 25. Does Nigeria need a “One Direction” kinda boy band? I think so.

Mercy Johnson & Tonto Dikeh controversy seems to increase the popularity of these celebs. With Mercy Johnson’s earlier reported ban and Tonto Dike’s social media induced marijuana trouble these two are at the top of the search lists. I am a bit surprised Yvonne nelson is not on this list. Lol

Victor Moses, John Obi Mikel, Stephen Keshi, Sunday Mba, Kanu Nwankwo, Obafemi Martins, Ahmed Musa, Emmanuel Emenike etc. Nigerians are really passionate about the National team. And YES, they care about what is happening to Obafemi Martins’ Career. lol

Chelsea, Arsenal, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United. All I have to say is finally we are seeing a category in which Arsenal is ahead of Barcelona & real Madrid. Lol. If Arsenal wins the Premier League title come May 2014, we might be in for a national holiday.

ASUU Strike, JAMB 2013. Issues relating to education trended!!!! No 1 & 2. We still need to focus a lot more on providing e-learning opportunities. If the lecturers go on strike, videos would not go on strike.

Tecno is here to stay with three of their phone models in the top 10. Persistence pays!

Toyota Camry is the most searched car. Jeez. I thought I was the only one looking to buy a Camry now I have to change my mind because everybody wants it. hehehe

What is Love showed up at number one? Which company will claim this unfilled spot for a dating website in Nigeria? With Computer, Biology, Government, Education, Economics, Chemistry making the top 10, we can tell that a lot of secondary school students are looking to alternative methods of learning online.

How to Kiss , Love. Fill this space with a dating website. How to Sing, how to Rap… recording studios would not be going out of fashion anytime soon. How to Study – any online learning solutions from Nigeria can profit from this. How to Blog – Linda Ikeji’s rise seems to be leading people into blogosphere. Africa’s online content is certainly on the rise.