We started Songhai Advisory in 2010 and have from the outset looked for ways to provide mentoring to our community. Major channels are the company's internship programmes, drawing on excellent higher education institutions on the continent, and then in the relationship between team members, not to mention programmes or projects maintained by individual employees in their own time. As an example of the latter, Nana Adu Ampofo, one of the managing partners at the firm was interviewed by the UK's National Diverse Student Network about career development.
Some of the key points from the discussion are summarised below but please see here for the full interview.
1. What are the profession's values?
Communication skills, relationships in the markets that we cover and your skill set, meaning your research and analytical background. As an example, coming from a political economy background, how well do I apply economic analysis or political risk analysis, and can I present them to the client in an actionable format? Relationships are a key part of the research process. Not just your existing relationships, but your ability to form relationships. Beyond this base, as a company, we value intentionality, accountability, consistency and love for our countries, the work and our stakeholders.
2. Career words of wisdom
I didn't have a career plan. I don't know many people that have had a clear career plan. Even that I find the most inspiring. I'm often shocked by the extent to which there isn't a plan to move from A to B. They are considered (and conscientious), and you don't need a crystal ball for that.
Act as if no one is coming to save you, be aware, be deliberate, and take care of yourself. This could mean asking for help when you need it. The worse that can happen is that they'll say no. And then, you'll do whatever needs doing, because no one is coming.
Is like building a plane and trying to take off at the same time when you don't know how to build a plane, in fact you don't know if planes are actually a thing that works. It's extraordinary sweat but it's actually quite thrilling a the same time. My role as a managing partner and co-founder means that I do whatever the company requires of me. My vocation, which is the subject matter, and all the other things. From sales, to accounts, to human resource management, general firefighting and more.
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