2007, Shell Internship……..
At the end of the first year, we had to intern with a company. There was an annual career fair which was a grand event and had different companies come in to interview and recruit interns as well as graduating students for full-time positions. In attendance at my first career fair were a couple of the big banks, Oando, Cadbury and Shell. We had been drilled and prepared for this event; we had mock interviews, etiquette classes, communication skill classes and so on.
The day came and we were all dressed to impress, guys looking dapper, girls looking all spiffed up! I went from stand to stand; at the shell stand I had a brief encounter with German Burmeister, head of the commercial unit of shell. It was brief, but I knew I must have said something right, because he asked me to write down my details with the Human Resource representative that came with him, not everybody was asked to do that. The offers started coming in and I along with another boy from my set got spots with Shell for our internship. We were the biggest boy and girl of our set! Hahaha
Working with Shell was fun; I was assigned to Nick Tombs who gave me a project on Unitization; through the project I got to interact with people across departments and continents, collecting data and gathering information. What’s more, the office was right in the heart of Lagos, near the market!! Most of my break time was spent there; I was on a buying spree for anyone who needed to buy anything. When you are at peace like that; happy with your job and happy with your life, things start to happen. It was while at Shell that I conceived my first son, after trying for over a year. Life was good. My friend, Olamide, an LBS graduate who had a full-time job there, was in the same unit as I was, I nearly killed her with talk about how it had to be shell or nothing!! Omo, na here I go die put (A pidgin expression). The internship came to an end soon enough and I handed in my report and went back to school to finish with my big stomach.
Time flew by fast. I had my baby and almost deferred again because I had a C-section and felt I couldn’t bear the pain, but my mother came to the rescue, she let me have her driver for the last few months left and also started coming in to school with me, minding my son while I attended classes. She is a blessing, I tell you. She did this until I got a nanny so that she could go back to work. Towards the end, we started getting interviews and offers for permanent jobs. There was another Career fair as well, this time for the interns to be in the next set and for us, the graduating set. Anyway, I got the long awaited mail from Shell for an interview, a whole day in Port-Harcourt tagged the Shell recruitment day. My baby was barely 4 months and this was a time when the main Port Harcourt airport was closed so the flight rates were on an all time high. I didn't mind though, this was Shell we were talking about. I begged my sister to come with me, we bought two tickets, packed our bags and my baby’s bags and were off to Port Harcourt………. Yaay me! (Yeah right)…….. To be contd.
Life Skills Learnt
Research and report writing, determination – I could have deferred after the baby, but I pushed on and finished with support.
2013…….11 June, 2013
No ccHub for me today. I spent the day hunting for a bathrobe. This Naija can just like to cramp your style. The process of bringing you ideas to life is one hell of a process. I recommended customizing a bathrobe as a gift for a client; she liked the idea, now to find the bathrobe had to become a hunt. Not that there are no bathrobes in the market, but when you have a particular specification you want, it becomes a problem. You don’t want a gift that your client won’t wear, or that their skin would react to, so you have to be really sure that you get the right quality and specification. I have to be on top of my game by knowing my customers and their different tastes and preferences. They are my bosses.
There is an issue I have with many Nigerian businesses; very few of them specialize. We have a few who are known for what they stock, like Simbabe who does balloon and balloon accessories, strictly. Another challenge is that they don't stick around for long. They open this place today(especially on Awolowo road and VI in general), and next thing you know, they have either moved or run down altogether. It is because of things like these that I am sometimes tempted to carry inventory, which has never been the plan. The idea has always been to be the link between the supplier of any item that can be considered as a gift and that client who needs a gift. So let me use this medium to call out to all stockists of unique items; you need me and I need you. I know you’re out there somewhere, let us connect.
I took to twitter, after scanning shops that used to be and shops that still are in VI and Ikeja and got a few referrals but nothing still. Then I started to call up friends who I thought would know, at last, someone had just what I wanted in stock, whew! That feeling you get when you win a quest! Awesome.
I finally got my Diamond bank internet banking details, so I was able to spool my account statement and get it uploaded to Xero. UBA’s next. I have mailed my account officer, but no reply, imagine! How do you not reply a customer? I wish I had only one account to deal with, when it’s not as if the money is so plenty I have to split it all over. But here’s the summary, I opened GTB by default, then UBA because a customer forced me to (she was spending good money), good thing I did because I have a few customers outside Lagos who prefer to use UBA. As for Diamond, I got tempted to open it because they are SME friendly.
In other news, my car is falling apart! I need that major break like yesterday….. God help me!
Today they are no tips coming to my head. It happens. I never said I was an expert anyway. I hope you learn something from the post like the fact that customers are important.