SUFFESA Club Members Enthused by Centum Analysts on Private Equity Practice
On Thursday 13th October 2016, SUFFESA (Strathmore University Finance & Financial Economics Students Association) Club hosted Centum Investment Analysts for a career talk aimed at putting into context the passion of the clubs members in the field of Finance and Investments. This trailed a week after the club treated its members to a career discourse by the Chief Risk Officer of Co-operative Bank.
The analysts; Mr Ogwali Gabriel and Mr Uturi Wanjohi, both with engineering backgrounds, elucidated their roles as investment analysts in conducting investment analysis, portfolio management and project execution in the Private Equity (PE) arm of Centum Investments Co. Ltd.
Centum Investments is a leading investments company in East Africa that has investments focussed on important sectors of the economy such as healthcare, energy, real estate, agribusiness, education among others.
Having given a background of themselves, the company and their roles, the duo opened an interactive session of Q&A, with Finance and Financial Economics students. They were amazed by the brilliance and great level of interests in investment shown by these students through the questions they raised forth for clarification. Among the questions that the analysts addressed were;
1. The Step of transition from Engineering to Investments
Mr Wanjohi highlighted that he was passionate about his undergrad course. However, while concurrently studying the course with CPAs, the spark of passion for the field of Finance was ignited and this burned on till he completed his degree and his preparation to join the field of investments got him to Centum where he is content so far. Passion triumphs all was his take home point on this.
2. Internship/Graduate Training Programs
The duo highlighted that Centum has a sea of opportunities for students/graduates looking to undertake an internship with the company. However, they pointed out that the potential candidates had to be a centum fit meaning they had to be individuals with a consistent solid academic background and proactive in that they must do a research to know so much about the company to the extent of identifying with a departments they would like to be placed while making persistent applications. They advised the senior class to look out for the annual graduate recruitment program that opens every March.
In addition, they hinted that those picked for internships stood a higher chance of re-joining the company for work. This they spoke giving an example of Isaac Muturi, a 4th year BBSFE student who secured his Industrial Based Attachment (IBA) in the company and impressed the managers with his performance securing an option of re-joining company in November after his final exams.
They also advised the students to network with industry speakers in career talks (such as this) hinting that Isaac got his internship through networking with a PE analyst in a similar initiative by SUFFESA that was conducted last year.
3. Centum Co. Ltd Projects, Analysis and Execution
The duet described that the way Centum take on investments is through de-risking an investment opportunity before reselling it to another strategic investor at a premium, thereby earning a profit from that. They gave an example of the Two Rivers Mall Project that had drawn a lot of attention of students throughout its development this mode of investing fascinated the eagerly listening students.
4. Application of Class Finance Theory to Practice
The students were assured that the rich finance theory content they learnt at school was very important for practice. However, they were encouraged to look forward to being able to create a compelling case with the mastered theory to bring out opportunities and solutions in a simple and practical way. They added that the key return measurement metrics for projects such as profitability, return on invested capital (ROI), Internal Rate of Return (IRR) and Net Present Value (NPV) were actually being used in evaluation of Centum Projects. Additionally, they were encouraged to be proficient with tools such as excel and other softwares that would facilitate their practice.
5. Professional Courses for Finance Fanatics
The students were encouraged to take on the CFA programs professional qualification courses to enrich their Finance/Investments Practice. The analysts pointed out that they were both CFA Program candidates and had both done CPAs.
The students were assured that a career in Centum is rewarding both intellectually and financially even for fresh graduates placed within the company.
Due to the constraint in time, all the curiosity of the students could not be satisfied, but a networking session that proceeded the talk enabled them to interact more closely with the pair.
Article by Joan Kamau, a BBS Finance 3rd year student