Having studied Accounting at undergraduate level, Eghosa discusses her reasons for pursuing Investment and Finance and her work with the African Development Bank.
Could you give me an overview of your career and what brought you to this point?
I started off my career briefly in an investment management firm where I spent only 4 months. I went in there not knowing what I really wanted to do; hence I accepted a role in the Financial control department, and I didn’t enjoy it one bit. I then took quite a pay cut and moved on to PwC (one of the Big 4) where I spent 6 years, initially started off as an auditor but after 2 years, I realized my interest was more on the advisory side, so I moved on to the advisory business focusing on transaction due diligence on major M&A deals. I must say this was quite a beneficial pay cut as it set me on the right path and provided the exposure I needed to jump start my career. My role at Pwc involved identifying the pros and cons of investing in businesses as well as the valuation of such businesses. My experience and the confidence I gained with dealing with various clients across the globe as well as successfully leading teams prepared me for my next role in an Investment Bank (IB) where I worked in the leveraged acquisition finance department.
My move to the development finance world has equipped me with an all-round experience as I have been exposed to various countries and sectors and learnt about the respective macro-economic environment, industry policies and procedures, budgetary and debt management concerns etc, which tend to pose challenges or enhance project development across the African continent.
My IB role involved structuring debt transactions for clients to achieve their investment goals. A typical day was me providing appropriate funding options and negotiating these solutions with clients during which I closed a number of deals including some major landmark deals. After 3 years of debt financing, I yearned for more exposure in financing across the African continent and I moved on to AfDB Client Solutions team which is my current role.
My career profile spans across development finance, investment banking, and consulting. With a BSc in Accounting, completion of ACCA, MSc in Finance & Investment and upon earning my CFA charter, my capabilities are based upon a unique combination of education, skill and work experience. My career and education journey has helped broadened my horizon in the finance industry and has provided me good exposure which I find useful in my day-to-day dealings with my clients and performing my tasks.
I have enjoyed a reputation as an efficient debt financing advisor, structured finance arranger, merger and acquisition advisor, and external auditor and have a knack for creating value in complex finance transactions. Across all roles, I have interacted with various stakeholders including strategic and financial investors, project sponsors, commercial banks, rating agencies, financial advisors, legal advisors, insurance companies, private sector and public sector within and beyond the African continent.
I’m also committed to distinguishing myself by continuously improving/developing my skill set, hence I embarked on the CFA program whilst taking up more managerial roles in the work place and as I changed jobs. The CFA journey was a tough one which I persevered as I had to retake some of the exams more than once, however I remained resilient and focused and I achieved the CFA charter.
Could you tell me a bit about your role at the African Development Bank Group? What drew you to the role?
Over the years and whilst I interacted with investors across the globe on interesting projects, I yearned for more exposure in financing across the African continent hence I started looking for a role to provide that level of exposure. When I saw this role, what really interested me was the fact that it was very diverse covering many aspects of finance across all sectors. At AfDB, I’m involved in the innovation of financial products including risk mitigation instruments tailored to facilitate investment by reducing the perception of risk on the African continent covering both private and public sector debt financing operations.
My move to the development finance world has equipped me with an all-round experience as I have been exposed to various countries and sectors and learnt about the respective macro-economic environment, industry policies and procedures, budgetary and debt management concerns etc, which tend to pose challenges or enhance project development across the African continent. I have had the opportunity to interact with experts with vast knowledge in various matters to create models and solutions tailored to address the immediate and long-term objectives of the respective countries or projects in view. This has further harnessed on the educational knowledge, skills developed and experience gained over the years.
Why did you choose to study Investment and Finance? Why at Queen Mary?
My choice for my master’s course was a very interesting one which I remain grateful for. I knew I was going to do a master’s degree after my ACCA as I was already living in London at the time, but I had no idea what course to pursue. I was looking more at Accounting related courses at the time because that was basically all I knew – Accounting! However, one of my final ACCA courses was heavily skewed towards finance/investment, and I found this very interesting. I immediately started looking out for courses with a mix of finance and investment. I searched online for a ranking of UK schools that offer such courses and QMUL came up with a good ranking. I immediately applied and I was very happy to receive an acceptance from QMUL.
Having lived, studied and worked in Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire, was there anything that surprised you about living and studying in the UK?
Well, these are different phases of my life. I lived in Nigeria all the years leading up to the University and I was under the care of my parents etc. I moved to the UK immediately after university and I it was quite an interesting one as this was the first time I was living by myself. The good thing about the UK is that the system works so it was quite easy to integrate. I left the UK shortly after the completion of my MSc to start my career in Nigeria as it was the 2008 subprime crisis/credit crunch hence I was not able to get the kind of jobs I wanted with Big Investment banks and multinationals, so I decided to leave and seek other career opportunities in Nigeria.
What motivates you in life?
New challenges keep me motivated - People will say I’m resilient, adaptable, and self-directed with the ability to meet even the most challenging goals. Throughout my career, I have always moved on to more challenging roles which were out of my comfort zone. The challenge of aiming to achieve and surpass expectations motivate me. Out of the office, I’ve taken up some new interests, one of which is running – During the week/weekends, you might find me exploring new running routes in my neighborhood to achieve longer distances as these milestones pose a challenge to me which I often look forward to surpassing. Currently looking forward to my first half marathon!
Do you have any particular fond memories from your time at Queen Mary you would like to share?
Fond memories will be the all-night studying in the library leading up to exams. It was amazing how everyone switched from “fun & games” mode to “complete seriousness”. It was fun watching the personality switch.
What advice would you give a current student or recent graduate considering their career options?