Case Study – Michelle Okoyomo

What is your nationality?Michelle O

Nigerian

What/when did you study at Durham?

2010-2011, MSc. Finance and Investment, Ustinov College.

Dissertation: Managerial Over-confidence and Cross-border Mergers and Acquisitions: An analysis of bidder’s performance in cross-border acquisitions managed by overconfident and non-confident managers. Distinction Earned in Dissertation

What are you doing now?

Investment Banking (“IB”) Analyst at Afrinvest (West Africa) Limited, a leading boutique Investment Bank headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria

What does your job involve?

My role as an IB Analyst involves advising and assisting clients in various industries to achieve their business growth objectives whether it’s their need to undertake/explore strategic options such as mergers & acquisitions, or seeking capital for business expansion.

This requires carrying out an in-depth analysis of the client’s business and industry to understand the growth drivers as well as analysing the company’s financial performance to identify an optimal strategic alternative/source of capital (equity or debt) to raise depending on the operating dynamics of the business.

How did your time at Durham help you to succeed?

My studies at Durham equipped me with the skill sets required for a successful career in Investment Banking.

My course work and experience developing my dissertation enabled me develop strong research, analytical and project management skills.

Planning, researching and presenting my dissertation enhanced my ability to understand and analyse complex data to identify trends and make informed decisions. In addition, this experience helped me learn how to effectively manage a project and present ideas and findings.

With Durham having a diverse body of students from all over the world, I enjoyed working in seminar projects with people from different backgrounds which helped me develop good people skills.

What advice would you give to current students?

Identify what goals you seek to achieve from an education in Durham, develop a goal schedule, plan your time and never procrastinate.

Time goes by before you know it. Make the best out of the short time you have.

Engage yourself in all the many social and professional activities. Try meeting up with any of the companies of interest that come for a career talk because there are a whole bunch of them that visit the school.

Take time to enjoy Durham in the summer, the scenery is beautiful.

Any other information you want to provide?

Excelling in Durham requires a lot of hardwork but what is most important is working smart and efficiently. Like I said, time management is key.

Case Study – Damilola Fakiyesi

What is your nationality? NigerianDamilola Fakiyesi 2

What/when did you study at Durham? MSc Economics & Finance, October 2009 to January 2011.

What are you doing now? I work with Access Bank Plc in Lagos, Nigeria. I am a Transactor, Project & Structured Finance Group.

What does your job involve? My job involves the arranging and structuring of project finance loans to include limited and non recourse financing.

It also involves the analysis of company and industry fundamentals, financial modeling, forecasts and the provision of structuring and advisory support to core market facing units.

How did your time at Durham help you to succeed?

My time at Durham University has been fundamental to my career growth. I can say Durham made possible my transition from Retail Banking to Investment Banking. While I remember the process being tough, the knowledge has stayed with me ever since. Constant practice before and during the seminar sessions all through the MSc. built a strong modeling foundation, which I have been able to apply to Project Finance.

What advice would you give to current students?

Take advantage of every learning opportunity provided during your time in Durham If you are a postgraduate student and happen to be in Ustinov College take advantage of the multi-cultural background to learn about different cultures and exchange ideas. Enjoy every second of your time at Durham and work hard, the result is worth it. Finally take the boat ride and take lots of pictures.

Any other information you want to provide?

The local Durham University Alumni and Durham University Business School Alumni in Nigeria has also been pivotal I’m my career development which is another avenue both current and graduating students can utilize either in providing guidance for research work or for networking.

John moves to BarCap

Name: John Poothicote

Qualification: MSc Finance &

Investment

Graduated: 2006

Nationality: Indian

Employer: Barclays Capital

 I was part of the MSc Finance and Investment class of 2005 and graduated in 2006. Subsequently I joined Deloitte, the professional services firm. I spent 3 years with Deloitte and found it to be a fantastic place to work in. I was promoted to the position of Assistant Manager in Audit and completed the ACA qualification. Subsequent to this, I decided to seek a new challenge and moved to Barclays Capital, the investment banking wing of Barclays Bank in London, as an Analyst in FX Exotics Risk. My work is largely based around analysing the macro economic factors and looking at how they affect the positions of various trading desks.

The first time I applied to Deloitte, my application was rejected. This prompted me to visit the Careers Employability and Enterprise Centre to find out what the issue was. What I found was that while I had a broad range of skills from my various experiences, including the very fact that I was in a country different to mine and that I managed to get involved in part time jobs/extra curricular activities, I was failing to put them across convincingly in my application. This may have been primarily because in India, we use the CV to apply for a job while in the UK the employers place a lot of importance on the application to draw out specific examples of traits that they look for. While I did have those traits, the examples that I used were not good enough to convince the employers that I had them. I was able to correct this by making use of the Careers Centre and attending recruitment events of potential employers.

I also gained contacts at various companies by attending recruitment events organised by the Centre. They were able to guide me in exactly what the firms were looking for. I also realised that potential employers expect you to have a good understanding of what the role you are applying towards entails. Conversations with people who are already doing what you want to do are crucial in this regard.

The opportunities for international students from outside the EU are limited because of the fact that they need work permits which the employer needs to obtain on their behalf. From my experience, only the big employers usually get you this. Also since the time I joined Deloitte, the economic/political environment has changed and I would imagine there is pressure on the number of graduate places/work permits available. But the fact remains that there are opportunities for people who show potential. Firms place a lot of importance on diversity and regularly employ students from outside the EU. They obtain work permits for those who require them. However due to the limited number of places and because of the time involved in getting a work permit you should apply as early as possible.

I can say that for both my employers the work challenges you and what you believe you are capable of. You are driven and pushed to be the best you can be. However, ultimately, it will be your interest in what you do (or want to do!) and your passion to excel that will differentiate you from others. This is true from my experience and I am sure this will be the case in your application too!