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Agribusiness

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Agribusiness

Overview of the Agribusiness Industry

The Agri-Food sector is one of the most essential sectors globally and one of the largest in most African countries by job creation. It covers the activities across the agricultural value chain. These include: Extension Services, Input Production & Supply, Crop & Livestock Production, Produce Transportation, and Food Processing and Distribution. 

The industry includes smallholder farmers and large-scale farmers who produce food. It also includes producers and distributors of farm tools, equipment and inputs—fertilisers and herbicides; commodities, off-takers, aggregators and sellers who buy from them and sell to processors and exporters. 

Processed food companies operating in the Fast Moving Consumer Group industry are also significant players in the Agribusiness industry. There are digital service providers who provide solutions in areas such as weather forecast, precision farming, and improved access to inputs and services for farmers and agribusinesses.

The field of agribusiness offers numerous career opportunities ranging from traditional farming occupations to business-related areas like marketing and finance. Education requirements vary based on an individual’s specific area of interest; careers in farming often require primarily on-the-job training. However, more business-related specialities can require undergraduate degrees. For example, students interested in marketing for agricultural companies may be able to tailor their degree in marketing toward that specialisation.

The following are careers and roles available in the Agribusiness for graduates include: Agronomy Salesperson, Renewable Energy Analyst, Agricultural Manager, Dairy Economist, Agricultural Operations specialist, Agricultural Policies specialist, Farm supervision & management, Agricultural & rural program management, Advisory & extension services; Animal and plant breeding and care, Soil science; analysis and testing, Agricultural engineering, Production supervision, Monitoring and evaluation of agricultural projects, Agricultural product marketing and sales, Technical Services Consultant, Breed, Association Representative, Field Service Specialist, Crop Production, Agricultural, Consultant, Production Advisor/Supervisor, Livestock Purchasing Agent, Ranch Management, Precision Agriculture, Commodity, Florist, and Machinery operator.

Graduates with degrees in agricultural programmes excel in other industries interested in the agriculture sector, such as banking and insurance companies. Others include manufacturing, quality assurance, and food processing. Working for international agencies and NGOs focused on the Agricultural sector also provides an opportunity for a rewarding career. 

The companies that pay the most are multinationals in commodity trading, inputs production and equipment manufacturers. The closer a company is to the final consumer in the agricultural value chain, the more the potential fraction of revenue it can earn from customers in the value chain. However, companies try to cover as many activities as possible in the chain. The highest earners in the industry are Environmental Engineers, Agronomy Sales Managers, Agricultural engineers, Food scientists, Animal geneticists, Veterinarians and Agricultural Operations managers.

  1. Continual learning and Adaptation
    Farmers and agribusinesses have to continually adapt to changing conditions such as soil conditions and climate change on the farm and changing consumer tastes in the market. New varieties of crops with different farming practices also emerge, which may require farmers to adjust to new planting and growing techniques.

  2. Planning and organisation
    Farms and agribusiness projects are complex projects that must be well-managed for success. For farmers and agribusiness professionals to get the most profit from their enterprise, they have to think and plan around the entire agricultural value chain. It is where planning and organisational skills are of great value. For example, raw materials (often more than one product) are transported, stored, and delivered from producer to wholesaler, considering how best to preserve them for consumers. Furthermore, labourers, farmers and machine operators rely on time management and planning skills to ensure that the crops are planted, harvested and sold using the best methods.

  3. Analysis and Problem-solving
    Agriculture requires strong problem-solving skills. For example, a farmer usually seeks the best ways to increase their harvest. When adverse weather causes harvesting delays, a farmer must make effective decisions in this situation. A productive season is ensured with strong problem-solving skills regardless of unpredictable conditions.

  4. Professionalism and industry awareness.
    Professional knowledge about the industry is essential for a farmer. It is to improve skills by staying up-to-date with marketing techniques, field operations, production technology and machinery. In addition, having this knowledge can help plan for short and long-term goals.

  5. Networking and teamwork. Many jobs in agriculture require working with others. Farmers can leverage connections with commodity off-takers and processors for guarantees of the purchase at the best price possible before investing in production. Team members run large integrated farms and agribusinesses with specialities to ensure that the venture operates with minimal loss and maximal profit. Supply chain managers must interact with farmers who produce raw materials and deliver these goods to other clients. The clients will then send the product to another location for further processing (such as a juice factory) or directly to the consumer. 

  6. Digital Proficiency. As producers and agribusinesses evolve from rain-fed to data-driven agriculture, agriculture is going increasingly digital. Digital competencies relevant to the industry are data analysis and visualisation for insights into agricultural production and markets. In addition, digital marketing through content development for consumer education and social media marketing to reach targeted customers are also relevant in the industry.

The relevant formal degrees/certifications available include; crop sciences and production, veterinary medicine; animal science, production and health; fisheries; crop science & production; agricultural administration & agribusiness; agriculture economics & extension; rural development and sociology.

Postgraduate degrees relevant to the agribusiness industry include: Agrifood Technology, Plant and Forest Biotechnology, Sustainable Aquaculture, Agronomic Engineering, Marine and Lacustrine science, Agricultural Data Management & Decision Model, Urban Agriculture and Green Cities, Aquatic Pathobiology, Agricultural Economics, Marketing & Management, and Nutrition and Rural Development.

Work experience is invaluable, and some agricultural courses will require you to have some practical farm experience as a mandatory graduation requirement. In addition, many ancillary industries also like to see people with some farm work experience. This is because they have first-hand knowledge of their customers’ practical challenges.

Professional certifications relevant to the industry include Project Management Professional Certificate. In addition, some leading agricultural institutions in the world also provide short courses for professionals in the agribusiness industry. These institutions include Universities of Agriculture, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Wageningen University & Research, Purdue University, Universidade de São Paulo, Huazhong Agricultural University, China Agricultural University, and Galilee International Management Institute.

Considering starting a farm of your own? Peri-urban areas are good locations due to the affordability of land to purchase or lease compared to land prices in cities. You will also benefit from access to power, a good road network and markets. However, they may not be constantly available in rural areas where land may be cheap. Some farming estates, where you can find farmland, are still available. Those into vegetable farming and other highly perishable produce that needs close access to markets and vertical farming/hydroponics are innovative operations requiring significant land sizes for urban agriculture. You may also consider livestock and fish farming in urban areas.

There are numerous opportunities in agribusiness beyond farming. A bulk of options in the industry are in the delivery of farm solutions to producers and value-addition to agricultural products for consumers. The largest employers in the industry are typically in one or both areas of the industry. Africa has many farmers who need solutions to make their operations more efficient and boost their productivity. These solutions range across the agricultural value chain to include advisory/extension services, soil testing, inputs, and linkage to the market. These solutions can be scaled up with digital services widely used by farmers and extended through partnerships with organisations in the Agric sector. It has led to several startups using technology to provide solutions in the industry. The success of the agency business model in the delivery of financial services is also being adopted in the industry to reach farmers in remote communities across the country effectively. 

Companies such as Flour Mills of Nigeria, Olam’s, Saro and Honeywell offer graduate training programmes. These graduate recruitment opportunities are usually promoted on social media pages and shared on job sites. You can also find options for internships in medium-sized Agribusiness companies that may not have substantial experience gaining work experience.

International development agencies like USAID, DFID, and GIZ also have active intervention projects across the agricultural value chain. It is also true for development organisations such as Chemonics, Palladium and Oxfam. They typically provide contractual opportunities (which can be renewed periodically) to work in the industry.

Farmers or agribusiness professionals do a lot of fieldwork. Large agribusinesses typically have operations, their suppliers, and their service markets distributed across the country and sometimes globally. It makes travelling a typical of working in the industry. There is also a need to continually learn and adapt to changes prompted by climate change, new technologies, changes in consumer taste, and price inflation. 

Multinational companies in the industry pay significantly better work benefits and higher salaries. Large indigenous companies in agricultural inputs and produce processing, international development agencies and companies, and venture-backed startups working in the industry also pay higher.

      • International Association of Agricultural Economics
      • Association for International Agriculture ​and Rural Development
      • International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA)
      • Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE)
      • Agricultural Economics Society
      • International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists

      Nigeria
      Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG)
      Institute of Agribusiness Management Nigeria
      Agricultural Society of Nigeria
      Agricultural Extension Society of Nigeria (AESON)
      Nigerian Association of Agricultural Economists
      Youth Farmers Association of Nigeria
      Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria
      All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN)
      Nigerian Institution of Agricultural Engineers, Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD)

       

Global
Norman Borlaug, Harry Stine, Liu Yonghao , Lynda Resnick, Andrej Babiš, Qin Yinglin

Nigeria
Akinwumi Adesina, Abubakar Sadiq, Mohammed Falalu, Ibrahim Maigari of RiceAfrika, Kola Masha of Babban Gona

 

International
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Food Programme (WFP), Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Nigeria
Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), National Agricultural Extension, Research and Liaison Services (NAILS), National Veterinary Research Inst (NVRI), Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC), National Root Crops Research Institute (NCRI) Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria Nigerian (ARCN), National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC), Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (IOMR), Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI), Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI)

 

These include companies in food production, produce trading and processing of food and chemicals for industrial use:

Globally/International
Big Dutchman, Nutrien, CNH Industrial NV, Deere & Company, Bayer AG, Archer Daniels, Dow Du Pont, Cargill, AGCO Corporation, Kubota, Mahindra & Mahindra, Case IH, Sonalika International, Fendt, Deutz Fahr, Claas, Corteva Agriscience, Limagrain, Rijk Zwaan, East-West Seed, Advanta, Louis Dreyfus, S.G.S S.A, Adama Agricultural Solutions, FMC Corporation, Nufarm, Evonik, Pioneer, Covestro, Clariant AG, Yara International, Nutrien, and Sumitomo Chemical

 

Nigeria
BASF West Africa, Mebo Farms, BUA Food, Flour Mills of Nigeria, Dangote Group, Honeywell Flour Mills, Niji Farms, L&Z Milk, Aace Foods, Okomu Oil, Presco, Wacot, Saro Agro, AFEX, Notore Chemical Industries Limited, Zartech, Ajanta Farms, Agritec, Tuns farm, Natnudo, Skretting, Durante, Dizengoff, Seedco, Nosak Farm, Stallion Farm, Okomu Oil, Golden Oil Industries Ltd, Livestock Feeds, Adom AgroAllied, Hybrid Feeds, Godbreed Company Ltd, Afri Agri, Oasis Farms & Agro Services Ltd, Ladgroup, Chifam Investment, BIC Farms, African Agro, Alphayel, Biostadt, Harvestfield Industries, Hermonwell Company Ltd, OCP Africa, Primegold Chemical Industries Ltd, African Fertilizer and Chemicals Nigeria Ltd, Amends Agriculture Ltd, Comfort Agro Chemical Nigeria Ltd, Jubali Agrotec, Olam, Babban Gona, Indorama, AgroMall, Multichem, Amarshal Agro & Tech Ltd, Savannah Fertilizer Services Company Ltd, TAK Agro, Farmforte Agro-Allied Solutions Ltd, Mebo Farms, AgroMall, Agricorp International, Livestock 247

Startups
Esoko, Thrive Agric, Farmcrowdy, HelloTractor, Coldhub, Ecotutu, Apollo Agriculture, Releaf, Afrimash, Footlocker and Twiga Foods.

 

Challenges facing the agribusiness industry include:

Environmental Impact
A significant challenge in the agriculture sector is feeding the increasing global population. In addition, it reduces the environmental impact and preserves natural resources for future generations. Agricultural activities such as livestock production with high carbon emissions and food production with high water use significantly impact the environment. Examples of negative impacts include pollution and soil, water, and air degradation. However, agriculture can positively impact the environment, for example, trapping greenhouse gases within crops and soils.

Climate Change
There are increased pressures from climate change, soil erosion and biodiversity loss. In addition, consumers’ have changing tastes in food and are concerned about its production. Plants, pests and diseases also pose their challenges. Climate change affects farmers’ ability to grow the food the world needs. Increasingly volatile weather events change growing seasons and limit the availability of water. They also allow weeds, pests and fungi to thrive and reduce crop productivity.

Soil Erosion
Soil erosion reduces the amount of land available for agriculture. In addition, the declining biodiversity affects crop pollination. As a result, farmers have to conserve water and use fewer agricultural inputs.

Demand for Quality Food 
Farmers need to produce more food of higher quality. Recently, the focus has shifted from concern about ‘enough food’ to ‘good food’. Society has rising expectations of farmers to reduce their impact on the environment, increase crops’ nutritional content, and further minimise chemical residues in yields and the environment.

Poor Infrastructure in Developing Countries. 
Farms and agribusinesses, similarly to other businesses, suffer from poor infrastructure. Examples include poor road networks, limiting farmers’ access to markets and leading to high post-harvest losses as produce is transported on these roads. Preservation of produce is also made more difficult with the inadequate power supply to operate processing machinery and storage facilities.

High post-harvest loss of food with no sufficient technologies for food preservation and hunger is prevalent. It threatens the intensification of food insecurity in developing countries. At the same time, there is a high rate of food waste in developed countries.

Depleting natural resources such as land nutrients due to widespread industrial and agricultural practices and natural disasters.

  • Precision Farming with Satellites and GPS-enabled equipment
    Precision agriculture is changing farmers’ and agribusinesses’ relationship with the land they profit from. Precision agriculture collects timely geospatial information on soil-plant-animal requirements. It prescribes and applies site-specific treatments to increase agricultural production and protect the environment. Some equipment, such as GPS-enabled tractors, can operate with data for precision farming activities such as planting crops and spraying inputs.

  • Digital Advisory and Extension Services
    The widespread use of digital devices has made them one of the best last-mile distribution channels for precision Farmers. The reducing number of extension practitioners in many developing nations has led to innovative digital services. It makes it possible to disseminate Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) advice to farmers. The increasing availability of low-cost smartphones makes it personalised to farmers based on their location, crop, weather and other factors to make the advice as effective as possible. Farm advisors can now also reach a wider audience of farmers by leveraging digital channels. Social media is an effective channel for farmers to share information and connect to the market.

  • Market Information Systems
    It provides farmers and agribusinesses prices of commodities across markets. It helps to provide transparency in agribusiness transactions to ensure that farmers get a fair price for their produce while buyers are also not exploited. It also helps to provide insights into market trends for farmers to know when and where best to sell their produce while assisting agribusinesses in planning their purchasing.

  • Artificial Intelligence
    AI has a wide variety of applications in Agriculture. It is used to extend farm machinery and digital devices so that users can use machine learning algorithms. Some of the application areas include identifying the breed of a plant or animal, diagnosing a plant’s disease from the picture of its leaf, and identifying weeds for extermination without affecting crops. These algorithms can provide farmers with real-time insights by analysing the images from their fields. In addition, it allows them to identify areas that need irrigation and the proportion for input application if needed.  

  • Blockchain Technology
    The agricultural world is starting to incorporate new technology. The earliest blockchain applications in agriculture were in supply chains and traceability. In addition, crops’ status could be recorded and updated using blockchain, from harvesting through to delivery. On a larger scale, the true benefit of this is a secure, highly accurate ledger where nothing ever goes missing in transit. A specific farmer can trace all the crops in real-time. Blockchain technologies can ensure trust and alignment across the agricultural value chain. It can reduce middle man costs and allow relevant stakeholders to do business securely without even knowing each other. It can also help with food traceability.

  • Internet of Things and Big Data
    There is an increase in sensors on farms used to monitor crop farms for factors such as sunlight, temperature, humidity, and soil nutrient. In livestock farming, grazing animals such as cattle now have sensors to their bodies to track their movements and health. The data from these sensors can help make well-informed agricultural production decisions for data-driven agriculture.

Publications

FarmersWeekly
AgroNigeria
AgroBusiness Times Nigeria
Africa Farming
African Farming

Events

Agra Innovate (Lagos)
First Bank Agric Expo (Lagos)
AgrikExpo (Abuja)
Agribusiness Summit

Podcasts
Sparks; Career in Agribusiness
Down to Agribusiness
Future of Agriculture
Successful Farming podcast

Books
The Man Who Fed the World: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug and His Battle to End World Hunger: An Authorised Biography
Agribusiness Management
Stuffed And Starved: Markets, Power And The Hidden Battle For The World Food System

Movies and TV Series
Seed, the untold story 
At Any Price
Country
Queen Sugar
The Real Dirt on Farmer John
Farmland

Finance

Overview of the Finance Industry

Finance is not just a department. It is a group of professions with competencies—ranging from accounting, financial and investment planning, banking, insurance—to business financial management. Finance career opportunities are available across all industries and is a required skill in every organisation in the private, public sector and non-governmental organisations. 

The job functions of finance professionals include record-keeping, expense analysis, making investment decisions. And also the strategic planning of the future of an organisation. Finance professionals serve individuals, businesses and a wide range of organisations as in-house staff, auditors, or consultants. 

Pathways in this career cluster include:

  • Accounting
  • Financial Planning 
  • Business/Corporate finance
  • General Banking (Corporate and Commercial)
  • Investment Banking
  • Wealth management
  • Insurance services
    • Analysis & Problem-Solving. 
      Companies in a highly competitive industry such as the extractive industry need workers who can break a problem into smaller ones. In addition, they need workers who can examine and evaluate information to conclude and provide logical solutions. These skills give the company a competitive edge.  
    • Continual Learning & Adaptation.
      Rapid innovation and change in technology require that workers learn new skills and adjust approaches, even workflow. Demonstrating that you can go with the flow while maintaining a positive attitude. 
    • Teamwork.
      Team players, people who connect, and make positive contributions to the group, are useful in technical and intensive work associated with the extractive industry. In addition, developing teamwork skills helps work with other workers and regulators.
    • Initiative & Enterprise
      Employees who can recognize opportunities to solve organizational problems and take the initiative will boost the innovative capacity of any team and set the pace for continual learning. 
    •  

The most relevant employability skills are:

  • Communication
  • Analysis
  • Planning & Organisation
  • Networking & Teamwork
  • Numeracy & Financial Literacy
  • Professionalism & Industry Awareness
  • Digital Proficiency

There are numerous jobs in the mining extractive industry that require little to no professional training. Still, these are labour-intensive, low paying jobs. The requirements to gain meaningful employment in the extractive industry vary by position. Suppose you are interested in becoming an engineer or a mineral scientist, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree in a field such as chemistry, mechanical, chemical, electrical or civil engineering, geology, or a closely related subject. Health and safety workers need at least a diploma or Bachelor’s degree in healthcare-related disciplines. Gaining middle-level management roles such as project and site managers usually require years of experience and additional postgraduate degrees. Internship opportunities and training can be considered work experience in this industry.

Most Companies in the extractive industry operate non-stop throughout the week by implenting shifts. Depending on the arrangements, workers may work long shift for many days and take more days off, or work in a regular shift arrangement. On the average, workers in the mining industry globally work around 45 hours per week.

Depending on the role and nature of work, employees in the extractive industry can either work in mining sites and quarries extracting or loading vehicles. Engineers, and field managers usually shuttle between offices and mining locations, while administrative roles such as accountants will work basically in offices.

According to collegegradcom, working on extraction sites usually requires stamina and physical agility due to the need to stand for long periods of time, lift heavy materials, climb rough surfaces. The work conditions are far from satisfying, from poorly lit mines to dangerous weather, exposure to dust and gases, and the possibility of explosion or collapse of mines.  Conditions in modern mines are getting better due to automation of some activities.

International
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Association of International Accountants (AIA), Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute, Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), Institute of Management Accountants, International Federation of Francophone Accountants (FIDEF), The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), International Association of Investment Bankers Since (IAIB)

Nigeria 
Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Chartered Institute of Management Accountants of Nigeria, Chartered Institute of Financial & Investments Analysts Nigeria (CIFIAN), Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN)

 

International
Tidjane Thiam, Janet Yellen, Okonjo Iweala, Warren Buffet, J.P Morgan, James Dimon, Josef Ackermann,

Nigeria Career Champions
Okonjo Iweala, Taiwo Oyedele, Herber Wigwe, Akintola Williams, Jim Ovia

 

International 
World Bank, International Monetary Fund, International Finance Corporation, African Development Bank, 

Nigeria 
Central Bank of Nigeria, Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Nigeria EXIM Bank,  Federal Inland Revenue Service, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, Development Bank of Nigeria, Debt Management Office, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, Asset Management Company of Nigeria, 

 

Global Leading Employers, and Companies, Startups
Barclays, Bank of America, Societe Generale, Goldman Sachs, Standard Chartered Bank, Access Bank PLC, Standard Bank Group, J.P Morgan, Ecobank, Morgan Stanley, Zenith Bank, Allianz, The World Bank, Capital One, Wells Fargo, Guaranty Trust Bank, Absa, DeVere Group, First National Bank, American Express, RBC, BNP Paribas, PNC Financial Services Group, BNY Mellon, Chase, NatWest Group, Merrill Lynch,  IFC, SEI Investments, 

Nigeria’s Leading Employers, and Companies, Startups
Bank of Africa, Standard Chartered Bank, Access Bank PLC, Ecobank, Zenith Bank, United Bank for Africa, The World Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank,, First Bank, Union Bank, Polaris

 

 

  • Fintechs as Challengers
    Startups leveraging data and technology are bringing innovations to markets at an unprecedented rate for traditional financial service providers and regulators to deal with. However, several incumbent financial institutions respond by rolling out fintech offerings to their customer base. Some of these are exclusively from them, while others partner with Fintechs.

    Evolving Customer Expectations 
    Customers now expect personalised and instant access to a menu of financial services. They also expect services to be accessible across multiple digital channels and their requests promptly attended to.

    Fraud and Cybercrime
    The financial sector is exposed to several threats from within and outside the financial system. The complexity of fraud and money laundering operations continues to evolve, putting the deposit of customers, operations and reputation of financial firms at risk.

    Underserved Customers
    Agency and digital banking services have helped close the financial inclusion gap in several developing countries. However, most of the population is still underserved due to the lack of robust financial services to cater for their needs. Access to credit at an affordable rate remains a challenge for individuals and small to medium-sized businesses.

    Exposure to Global Risk 
    The connectedness of the global financial system has made economic systems vulnerable to shocks that may come from anywhere in the world. For example, default on loans in the US may lead to a domino effect on financial markets in Europe and catalyse to become a global financial crisis.

    Tougher Regulatory Environment
    The financial sector is highly regulated. In both good and bad times of the economy, the financial sector is a target of increasing legislation and policies and has to adhere to the government’s strict compliance measures. The globalisation of finance also implies that many of them are exposed to the regulatory environment in international markets.

    Legacy Systems
    Financial institutions with a long history of operation are significant players in any nation’s financial service industry. But unfortunately, a majority of them are challenged with legacy systems of existing software, processes, and business infrastructure, which can be challenging to integrate, change or adapt to new technologies.

    The volatility of the World Economy
    From the devastating effect of COVID-19, mounting rate of inflation, fluctuation in the value of currencies and the foreign reserves of Nations, to wars among nations, the financial sector’s stability is threatened by uncertain times.

    • Digitigitisation is on the high in the following areas of finance:

      • AI for interfacing with customers, delivering advisory services, and making product recommendations in banking.
      • The emergence of blockchain technologies for trust management and digital currencies in business finance. 
      • Data-driven decisions such as calculation of premiums based on predictive analytics in insurance.
      • Robotic Process Automation and advanced AI technologies for automating manual accounting processes.
      • Algorithmic stock trading – quants in investment banking.
      • Loan prediction and credit scoring based on historical financial records, behavioural analysis, and big data in banking.
      • Automation of accounting workflows to reduce the burden of manual data entry.

Books

  • How Finance Works: The HBR Guide to Thinking Smart about the Numbers
  • Narrative and Numbers: The Value of Stories in Business
  • Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making
  • Cost Accounting: A Managerial Emphasis
  • How to Read a Financial Report: wringing vital signs out of the numbers


Podcasts

  • The Abacus Show
  • ACCA Podcasts
  • From CPA to CFO
  • Cashflow Diary
  • The Economist Podcast


Publications/Blogs

  • CFO Magazine
  • Strategic Finance
  • Global Banking & Finance
  • Financial Planning Magazine
  • Accounting Today


Movies

  • Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
  • The Accountant (2016)
  • The Insider (1999)
  • In Debt We Trust: America Before the Bubble Bursts (2006) 


Events

  • World Economic Forum
  • Africa Finance Summit
  • Africa Fintech Foundry/Summit
  • African Insurance Organization Conference and General Assembly

Information Technology

Overview of the Information Technology Industry

Information Technology has become one of the fastest-growing career disciplines due to the numerous career opportunities it presents. In addition to innovation and entrepreneurship, a career in information technology provides immense employment opportunities across all industries. The profession can improve efficiency and empower humans to be more productive in their fields of endeavour. Careers in information technology span from the design, development, implementation, deployment, installation, management and support of hardware, software, and network systems and digital services in other sectors such as education, healthcare, media, commerce, marketing and communications.

Information technology is also one of the most dynamic careers. There is a constant need for continual learning to remain relevant in the industry. Despite the availability of some free and premium training and certifications accessible to people without IT-related degrees, there remains a huge demand for IT professionals and a shortage of IT skills in the labour force. Top IT professionals are a hot cake in the workplace today.

The top career pathways include:

  • IT Support and Services 
  • Networking and Telecommunications
  • Cloud Computing and Infrastructure 
  • Software and Web Development 
  • Database and Data Science
  • Information systems
  • Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics

The highest paying jobs across industries are Big data engineer, DevOps Engineer, Information systems security manager, Mobile applications developer, Applications Architect, Data Architect, database manager, data security analyst, data scientist, network/cloud architect, senior web developer, site reality engineer, systems engineer, and software engineer.

  • A career in information technology will benefit from the following industry skills:

    • Communication: IT is a field of communication, which is why it is referred to as ICT in several climes – most especially in the developing world. IT professionals provide solutions or support others who are not usually as technology inclined as they are. Therefore, being able to communicate provides an advantage for a successful career in the field.
    • Analysis & Problem-Solving: Information technology’s universal appeal is the ability to solve problems in other fields through algorithms that automate expert skills. However, this requires the ability to translate real-world use-cases to codes through a thorough analysis of the requirements collected. It can be quite a daunting challenge, which many times requires problem-solving skills to resolve.
    • Initiative & Enterprise: A career in information technology provides a lot of entrepreneurial entry due to the low entry barrier, especially in software and digital services. Initiative & Enterprise skills give the ability to spot opportunities and find a path towards turning them into a sustainable business. It has made IT professionals one of the most represented groups in the list of the world’s wealthiest people.
    • Continual Learning & Adaptation: IT is a dynamic field. Technologies that seem hot today can be out of fashion in less than half of a decade. IT professionals need to continually learn to stay up-to-date on being proficient in the latest tools of their professional trade. Some of these are available as certifications from leading technology providers or as software updates that now incorporate machine learning which professionals need to adapt.
    • Creativity & Critical Thinking: IT platforms provide a canvas to solve problems. However, your level of creativity and ability to think critically can help you create solutions that stand out in the marketplace amidst a pool of global competition. In a field where critical thinking is required to meet its high demand for logic, a burst of creativity can make all the difference. However, rarely does one go without the other in solving problems.
    • Digital Proficiency: This is native to the field of information technology itself. Key competencies are Coding, Data and Design. Even though IT professionals may not be experts at any of these competencies, they must have a fundamental grasp. The day to day work of IT professionals revolves around them. Networking professionals may sometimes need to write a script in software-defined networking. Cybersecurity specialists may need to analyse data to detect threats. An enterprise information systems analyst may need to come up with diagrams to aid planning software integrations. 

A majority of frontline careers in Industrial & manufacturing don’t need a university education. The most common degrees for hands-on workers involved in the day-to-day affairs of Industrial/manufacturing companies are secondary, technical and polytechnic education. It is an industry where experience is highly valued. Careers in production are varied, and entry-level positions require different educational degrees. Industrial production employees create and maintain efficient operations or ensure safe working conditions that meet strict regulations. 

For graduate careers in the industry, relevant degrees include Industrial engineering, Systems Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Electronics Engineering, Computer Engineering and other technical degrees.

Some postgraduate programs include MSc Advanced Process Engineering, MSc Production Engineering and Operations Management, MSc Industrial Control Engineering, MSc Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, MSc Mechatronics, MSc Product Design, Engineering & Manufacturing, MSc Process Systems Engineering, MSc Chemical Process Engineering, MSc Industrial Engineering, MSc Process Safety, MPhil Industrial Systems, MSc Manufacturing and Management, MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management, and MSc Operations Management.

Here are some certifications courses you can take:

Certified Manufacturing Engineering Certification, Certified Production Technician, Certified Automation Professional, Quality Engineer Certification, American Society for Quality Certification, Project Management Professional, Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM), Project Management Professional (PMP), Business analyst certifications, Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM), Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution (CLTD)

You may have heard that industry & manufacturing jobs entail producing boxes/products/pieces of equipment, packing & transporting industrial products, and sweating while operating heavy machinery and equipment. However, that is not entirely accurate; you can take various career paths in this industry, so research what the job entails before applying for jobs or graduate programs. Then, if the position aligns with your career plan, apply. 

Some production jobs in this industry do not require a degree. In contrast, other management, administration, or specialised production roles might require a formal degree.

Companies in this industry send out job vacancies on their official website. In addition, to recruitment agencies, it will be of help to check such channels to get updates about available jobs. Also, recruitment is done based on referrals, so connecting with people in the industry would help secure a job. 

Interviews are done for potential employees in this industry, especially for specialised roles and jobs that require a degree. For example, for some workers in the production units, all that is needed might be a written application and being physically fit. Then, they are hired, but for some roles, technical, administration, Marketing, etc., interviews are conducted for applicants to select the best hand for the job.

Industrials and manufacturing companies are usually the largest or one of the largest employers. Though many industrial & manufacturing processes have become automated, there are still a lot of activities done and operations coordinated by humans that make work in the industry highly demanding. This makes the industry require a sizeable number of workers compared to other industries. 

Workers earn salaries based on their education and location, but work experience is crucial for technical roles and a key consideration for compensation. 

In most manufacturing setups, most production workers work on contract and may receive hourly, daily or weekly wages. Experienced technicians usually manage the machines, while workers may work on sorting and product labelling tasks. Most of these jobs are repetitive, require following instructions strictly and may require spending most of the time on one’s feet while being safety-conscious. In addition, workers work based on shifts, and some might need to work at night to keep up with production.

Administrative and management staff work in offices that are often outside their manufacturing and industrial operations. Also, you can pursue several career paths in this industry, contrary to the belief that jobs in this industry are mainly fabrication and production work. There are other career paths in administration, finance, human resource, marketing, etc., that career seeker can pursue in this industry.

Employers in this industry provide health insurance cover for their staff. In addition, working in this industry opens you to learn about new technological tools and how to use them. As technology advances and new tools are being introduced in the workspace, companies often hire instructors to train their staff on using new technological tools. Again, this helps build your skillsets.

Another peck of working in this industry is working with a team; this allows you to interact and rubs minds with others while working towards productivity. Again, this allows for human interaction, making work more fun and productive.

Another perk of working in this industry is working with a team; this allows you to interact and rubs minds with others while working towards productivity. Again, this allows for human interaction, making work more fun and productive.

International
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), IEEE Computer Society organisations, Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP), Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), Network Professional Association, and The Association for Women in Computing (AWC) 

Nigeria
Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN), The Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON)

 

  • Global Career Champions
    Satya Nadella, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin, Mark Zukerberg, Sundar Pichai, Larry Page, Michael Dell, Larry Elisson, Marc Benioff.

    Nigeria Career Champions
    Omobola Johson, Mitchell Elegbe, Austin Okere, Juliet Ehimuan, Leonard Stanley Ekeh, Isa Ali Pantami.

     

International 
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), 

Nigeria
Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC)

 

International 
Google, Microsoft, IBM, Accenture, Oracle, Intel, Workday, Tech Mahindra, Robert Bosch, Apple, Bolt, Amazon, Meta, HCL Technologies, SalesForce, Uber, Bloomberg L.P, SAP, MeltWater, LionBridge, HubSpot, Twitter, Ingram Micro, Dell Technologies, Apple, Infosys, Fiserve, ServiceNow, ADP, Adobe, VMWare, Intuit, SS&C Technologies, Broadridge Financial Solutions, Palto Alto Networks, Paychex, Amdocs, Autodesk, Citrix, Akamai Technologies, Twilo, Palantir, ASML, Qualcom, Boradcom, Tencent, Alibaba, Samsung, Nvidia, Texas Instruments, Meiutan, AMD, Analog Devices, Atlassian, Palo Alto Networls. Dassault Systemes, Candence, NXP, Roper Technologies, TE Connectivity, Arista Networks, Electronic Arts, Veeva Systems, Ericsson, SMI, DXC, NTT, NEC Corp, Fujitsu, Infosys, Tata Consulting Services, HP Enterprise, Capegemini, Cognizant

Nigeria
Softcom, Sidmach Technologies, Zinox, Vatebra Limited, Quanteq Technology Services Ltd, Chams, BlueChip Technologies Ltd, Infrafocus, Datapro, Cedarview Communications, IHS Nigeria Ltd, Webb Fontainne, VAB Alliance, Truthware, Terragon Group, Tech Hive Advisory, SureBids, Parkway Projects,  Centric Gateway, Cedarview Communications, Suburban, Main Data, Main One, Whoghohost, Cyberspace, Cyberpay, Cybercloud, Connected Analytics, Rack Centre, Appzone, Seamfix, INT Towers, INITS, Afmobi, Avrya Systems Ltd, Appruve Technology, Comviva, CWG, CBC, CELD, Dragnet, Dataguard, EBS, Galaxy Backbone, Huawei Technologies, Gigasec, Infobib, Inlaks, Interswitch, Mainline Digitech, Nokia Siements, Netzplan Resources.

 

  • Shortage of Talent: the rapid growth in digital technologies across industries has led to a rise in the demand for jobs in the development and management of IT systems. Innovators are creating programmes outside formal education to accelerate the transition into tech careers by closing the knowledge gap and collapsing other barriers to entry.

    Skill Gaps: the rate of change within the information technology industry and its impact on other sectors make continual learning adaption through re-skilling and upskilling crucial for tech and other workers. Platforms to assess staff skill gaps and provide targeted training modules are becoming increasingly available.

    Retention of Talent: the challenges posed by the shortage of talents and skill gaps have made the competition for talent intense and challenging for employers to keep staff. Remote work has allowed employers to widen their talent pool and hire remote staff at salaries at competitive rates in their countries, though comparatively less in the technology hotbeds.

    Fake Content: this extends from fake news to deep-fake content generated by machine learning technologies fuelled by virality in an age of social media to threaten harmonious living in communities and the democracies of Nations. Companies have responded with content filtering algorithms and personnel and empowered users to report such content.

    Widening Technology Gap: there is a big divide between infrastructure investments and human capital between developed and developing countries. Only a few nations take the lead as producers, while others play catchup as consumers of technology. These have led some governments to respond with protectionist policies in managing their IT infrastructure and storage of data.

    Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery: the high rate of dependence of every facet of our society on information technology has made IT infrastructure critical. Downtimes lead to loss of business and can be costly to human lives. Therefore, backup and protection of IT infrastructure have become a priority for the government of many nations.

    Rise in Cybercrime: data, IT infrastructure and users are increasingly vulnerable to bad actors who use technological and social engineering tools to gain authorised access to data for malicious purposes. These have led to the rise of the cybersecurity industry, which offers proactive and responsive solutions to cyber threats and attacks.

    Uncertainty on the Impact of AI: artificial intelligence’s potential to replicate human-like intelligence in several activities can be disruptive to billions of jobs. In a bid for efficiency and cost savings, private-sector employers are increasingly investing in such IT systems to be competitive. Upskilling employers for new jobs created by information technology can mitigate these threats. 

    Ethical Concerns: artificial intelligence empowers machines to make decisions on the Warfield. This will also apply increasingly to our everyday lives with driverless car insight. Another critical area is gene sequencing. The ethical implications of empowering artificial intelligence to make these decisions and determining what decisions they will make at crucial moments are rekindling the debate about right and wrong.

    Governments and Regulations: technology companies have come under the radar of several governments for their business practices. Governments are increasingly using the data from IT companies to create surveillance systems and cracking down on citizens based on their access to data.

Books

  • The Innovators by Walter Isaacson
  • Business at the Speed of Thought by Bill Gate
  • Information Technology Essentials Eric Fric
  • The Soul of a New Machine by Tacy Kidder

Podcasts

  • Technovation
  • This Week in Enterprise Tech
  • Supporting IT Support
  • a16z


Publications/Blogs

  • CIO
  • WIRED
  • Techcrunch
  • Techpoint
  • Disrupt Africa
  • TechCentral
  • My BroadBand


Movies

  • The Social Network
  • Minority Report
  • Her
  • The Internship
  • 2001; A Space Odyssey


Events

  • Informa AfricaCom and other Regional/National Com events
  • IoT Forum Africa
  • Digital Payments and e-Commerce Africa Summit and Expo (Pay Africa Expo and Summit)
  • African Drone Forum
  • Consumer Electronics Show

Industrials and Manufacturing

Overview of the Industrials & Manufacturing Industry

The industrial industry involves fabricating products intended for industrial use from raw materials. The output of this industry makes mass manufacturing possible in most sectors. It produces machinery such as hardware, paper and packaging materials, glass, and fixtures. Among the businesses that the industry engages in are the production and selling of machinery, supplies, and equipment used to produce other goods. The products are not geared towards the end consumer.

The Manufacturing Industry deals with the large-scale production of goods that converts raw materials, parts, and components into finished merchandise using manual labour and machines. Today, manufacturing utilises machines, robots, computers, and humans to produce parts or ready goods. Typically, an assembly line enables creating of a product, moving from one workstation to the next.

The Manufacturing industry is divided into heavy, or large-scale, and light, or small-scale industries: 

  • The large-scale industry involves a significant investment in plants and machinery. It serves a vast and diverse market, including small scale manufacturing industries. The industry generally has a complex industrial organisation and specialised labour force, generating a large output volume; examples include crude oil refining, steel and iron manufacturing, vehicle manufacturing, and heavy machinery manufacture.
  • Light or small-scale industry involves smaller capital investment in plants and equipment. It may involve nonstandard products, such as customised or craftwork. The labour force may be low-skilled in textile and clothing manufacturing, food processing, and plastics manufacturing.

Industrial equipment can also be grouped into seven different segments. Agricultural, construction, mining, industrial, commercial and service machinery are all special-purpose machinery designed for a specific industry. The four other segments include machinery used by all sectors: ventilation, heating, cooling, metalworking equipment, engine and engine-related equipment, and other general-purpose machinery.

Production:
Manufacturing and production are synonymous for a lot of people. Production involves creating and assembling goods. A career in production is suitable for innovative people who like to bring designs to life. Examples of roles in this pathway include CNC Machinists, Welders, Automotive industry workers, Production Supervisors, Metalworkers, Certified Production Technicians and Precision Machinists.

Manufacturing Production Process Development:
This pathway includes the design sector of the industry, a necessary component in producing manufacturing goods. Professionals in this pathway design the goods and develop and program the production processes. Additionally, they interview their target customers. They also evaluate the current market for a product and gather feedback from consumers. Careers within manufacturing production process development include Industrial Designers, Industrial Engineers, Engineering Technicians, Research Analysts, Manufacturing production supervisors etc.

Logistics and Inventory Control:
Logistics involves the planning and moving of materials to and from manufacturing sites. Like logistics, inventory control involves organising the transportation, receipt, and delivery of materials and products, from acquisition to distribution. 

Careers in this pathway include: Shipping and Receiving Specialists (and Supervisors), Inventory Control Specialists, Industrial Traffic Managers, Inventory Managers, Supply Chain Specialists/ Analyst, and Logistician.

Quality Assurance:
Quality assurance professionals are critical in the industrial & manufacturing industry. They help ensure that the production and output of goods meet high-quality standards and specifications. These professionals may test manufactured goods/machines to ensure they work and are correctly assembled. In addition, they may also write the rules for quality for a company or product. Customer satisfaction is their priority. Examples of careers in this manufacturing career path are Quality Controller, Quality Supervisor, Receiving Inspector, Manufacturing Quality Inspector, Supplier Quality Assurance Supervisor, Quality Auditor, and Quality Customer Service Representative.

Health, Safety, and Environmental Assurance:
This career pathway involves ensuring workers’ and products’ safety. These professionals conduct safety and health inspections within the workplace and ascertain it is safe for employees. In addition, they teach employees safe working practices, train them on equipment and emergency procedures, and implement incident and hazard investigations as needed. Furthermore, some professionals will confirm that consumers can use goods safely. Roles in this pathway include Health and Regulatory Inspectors, Industrial Safety and Health Technicians, Environmental Engineers, Health and Safety Engineers, and Safety Supervisors.

Maintenance, Installation, and Repair:
Manufacturing processes involve high-tech tools, machines, software programs, and equipment. As a result, skilled professionals must ensure these various technologies operate smoothly. They install and onboard machinery. Additionally, they regularly test machines, evaluate the performance of tools, and upgrade software programs. Furthermore, they troubleshoot any problems and recommend new tools and technology. Their work is vital for employees’ safety and production quality. Career pathways in this cluster include System Setup Specialists, Manufacturing Repair Technicians/Manufacturing Test Engineer, Computer Maintenance Technicians, Maintenance Supervisors, Steamfitters, Pipefitters, and Millwrights.

The Highest Paying Jobs in the industry include:
Manufacturing Manager/Industrial Production Manager, Operation Manager, CNC Manufacturing Engineer, Information Technology Manager, Human Resources Manager , Mechatronics Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Manufacturing Test Engineer, Plant Engineering Manager

    • Analysis & Problem-Solving
      Employers love problem solvers, and hence, your need to be able to proffer solutions to challenges as they arise in the workplace. Therefore, you must be able to spot, analyse and give answers to problems. 

    • Creativity & Critical Thinking
      Working in this industry requires you to be able to think creatively and critically. While it is true that workers follow orders from their superiors in this industry, creative solutions and ideas are also appreciated as it gives a new way to do things. Employers value workers who can analyse situations at work, see problems or errors, and then propose solutions to them. You must think critically to spot things that aren’t working or when something that used to work no longer work. You must be able to profer solutions to them or liaise with your team to solve such problems.

    • Continual Learning & Adaptation
      Workers in this industry must keep up with skills as the business evolves and more industrial and manufacturing organisations embrace automation. Continuous learning can help you stay relevant in the field; some individuals in this area are losing their jobs worldwide due to industrialisation and a lack of skills to fulfil demand. Learning and adapting to changing trends, technology, and other factors can help you stay relevant in this field.

    • Teamwork
      How well do you collaborate with others? In this industry, your ability to connect and collaborate with people is also highly valued, as several operations require collaboration with other team members. To enhance project productivity and success, you must be able to collaborate with other industry professionals.

    • Planning & Organisation
      There is always a variety of activities going on at work, most of which have various priorities. Identifying project priorities in the short and long term and building a feasible plan to complete the tasks entrusted to you is key to success in the job. To achieve a goal or aim, workers in this industry must be able to manage time, tools, and resources successfully.

    • Digital Skills 
      Having digital skills will give you an edge in this industry. The industry is evolving with the adoption of technologies. Therefore, the automation of several processes, such as automation and data analysis, is relevant. Furthermore, learning and gaining digital skills like Inventory Management System software, Data Analytics, Digital marketing, etc., would help this industry depending on your career cluster. 

A majority of frontline careers in Industrial & manufacturing don’t need a university education. The most common degrees for hands-on workers involved in the day-to-day affairs of Industrial/manufacturing companies are secondary, technical and polytechnic education. It is an industry where experience is highly valued. Careers in production are varied, and entry-level positions require different educational degrees. Industrial production employees create and maintain efficient operations or ensure safe working conditions that meet strict regulations. 

For graduate careers in the industry, relevant degrees include Industrial engineering, Systems Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Electronics Engineering, Computer Engineering and other technical degrees.

Some postgraduate programs include MSc Advanced Process Engineering, MSc Production Engineering and Operations Management, MSc Industrial Control Engineering, MSc Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, MSc Mechatronics, MSc Product Design, Engineering & Manufacturing, MSc Process Systems Engineering, MSc Chemical Process Engineering, MSc Industrial Engineering, MSc Process Safety, MPhil Industrial Systems, MSc Manufacturing and Management, MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management, and MSc Operations Management.

Here are some certifications courses you can take:

Certified Manufacturing Engineering Certification, Certified Production Technician, Certified Automation Professional, Quality Engineer Certification, American Society for Quality Certification, Project Management Professional, Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM), Project Management Professional (PMP), Business analyst certifications, Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM), Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution (CLTD)

You may have heard that industry & manufacturing jobs entail producing boxes/products/pieces of equipment, packing & transporting industrial products, and sweating while operating heavy machinery and equipment. However, that is not entirely accurate; you can take various career paths in this industry, so research what the job entails before applying for jobs or graduate programs. Then, if the position aligns with your career plan, apply. 

Some production jobs in this industry do not require a degree. In contrast, other management, administration, or specialised production roles might require a formal degree.

Companies in this industry send out job vacancies on their official website. In addition, to recruitment agencies, it will be of help to check such channels to get updates about available jobs. Also, recruitment is done based on referrals, so connecting with people in the industry would help secure a job. 

Interviews are done for potential employees in this industry, especially for specialised roles and jobs that require a degree. For example, for some workers in the production units, all that is needed might be a written application and being physically fit. Then, they are hired, but for some roles, technical, administration, Marketing, etc., interviews are conducted for applicants to select the best hand for the job.

Industrials and manufacturing companies are usually the largest or one of the largest employers. Though many industrial & manufacturing processes have become automated, there are still a lot of activities done and operations coordinated by humans that make work in the industry highly demanding. This makes the industry require a sizeable number of workers compared to other industries. 

Workers earn salaries based on their education and location, but work experience is crucial for technical roles and a key consideration for compensation. 

In most manufacturing setups, most production workers work on contract and may receive hourly, daily or weekly wages. Experienced technicians usually manage the machines, while workers may work on sorting and product labelling tasks. Most of these jobs are repetitive, require following instructions strictly and may require spending most of the time on one’s feet while being safety-conscious. In addition, workers work based on shifts, and some might need to work at night to keep up with production.

Administrative and management staff work in offices that are often outside their manufacturing and industrial operations. Also, you can pursue several career paths in this industry, contrary to the belief that jobs in this industry are mainly fabrication and production work. There are other career paths in administration, finance, human resource, marketing, etc., that career seeker can pursue in this industry.

Employers in this industry provide health insurance cover for their staff. In addition, working in this industry opens you to learn about new technological tools and how to use them. As technology advances and new tools are being introduced in the workspace, companies often hire instructors to train their staff on using new technological tools. Again, this helps build your skillsets.

Another peck of working in this industry is working with a team; this allows you to interact and rubs minds with others while working towards productivity. Again, this allows for human interaction, making work more fun and productive.

Another perk of working in this industry is working with a team; this allows you to interact and rubs minds with others while working towards productivity. Again, this allows for human interaction, making work more fun and productive.

International
Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT)
IEEE Electronics Packaging Society
Robotics and Automation Society (RAS)
Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE)
Society of Manufacturing Engineers
American Society for Precision Engineering (ASPE)
Manufacturing Council (USA)

Nigeria
Manufacturing Association of Nigeria, NECA (Nigerian Employers Consultative Association), SMEDAN (Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria), NASSI (National Association of Small Scale Industrialists), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

 

  • James Dyson

    Nigeria
    Innocent Chukwuma , Kofo Akinkugbe, Ibukun Awosika, Abdul Samad Isyaku Rabiu, Theophilus Danjuma

     

International 

  • UNIDO | United Nations Industrial Development Organization

 

Nigeria
Federal Institute Of Industrial Research Oshodi, Project Development Institute (PRODA), Raw Materials Research and Development Council, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Standard Association Of Nigeria (SON), Institute for Industrial Technology, National Automotive Council, National Centre for Agriculture Mechanization, National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency.

 

International
Apple, Toyota Group, Samsung Electronics, Nestle, Nissan, Intel, Lenovo, IBM, Unilever, PepsiCo, Hoffmann-La Roche, Procter & Gamble, Hengli Group, General Motors, BMW, Cardinal Health, Nissan, Hitachi, Bosch, Aviation Industry Corporation of China, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Volkswagen Group, Honda, BASF, Sinochem, ChemChina, General Electric, Sinopharm, Hoffmann-La Roche, Enel, China Baowu Steel Group, Airbus, Ford, Foxconn. Johnson & Johnson, Daimler, Hon Hai Precision, Daimler, Hon Hai Precision Industry, Honey Well, Union Pacific, Dow Chemical, Tesla, SAIC, Mitsubishi, BMW, Huawei, LG, HP, Coca-cola, Nike, L’Oréal, Imperial Brands, PLC, Danone, Tyson Foods, Nike Inc, Kraft Heinz, Altria Group, Adidas AG, British American Tobacco PLC, Whirlpool Corp, General Mills, Compagnie Financiere Richemont SA, Pernod Ricard, Johnson & Johnson, Heineken Holding NV, 3M Co, Nestlé SA.

Startups
Edita Food Industries, Dolidol, KS Africa, JET Motor Company, Si-Ware Companies, Reibus International, Atonarp, Seeq, Triax Technologies, Inc., Uptake Technologies, Dodla Dairy, Relativity Space, Blue Origin, SiFive, Lightyear.

Nigeria
Dangote Group, BUA Group, Lafarge Cement, Tacna Services, Nexans Nigeria, Innoson Motors, Techo-Quip Nigeria Ltd, Starron Nigeria Ltd, S. Adiss Agricultural Engineering Limited, Nigeria Machine Tools, Eldorado Nigeria Limited, Bafrad Nigeria Enterprises Limited, Microscale Embedded Ltd, Skipper ETS Electric Limited, Diamond Power Control Inc, Cutler-Hammer Nigeria Limited, Fuseline Nigeria Limited, Nobel Carpets, Mouka Foam, Vita Foam, Nigerite, Xpression (Solpia) Nig Ltd, Daily Needs Industries, Sunflag, Tranos, Padson Industries, Lubcon, Teju Industries, Vono, Aristocrat industries, Berger Paints, IPWA, Covenant Ground Group, Covenant Ground Group, Desopas Engineering Limited, Emel, Enpee Group, Feratto Industries, Zarem, African Textiles, Chellco, Bata, APIN Footwear, Iddo Plastics, Pitason, Yikodeen, Alooms, Cresten.

Many companies in Nigeria’s fast-moving consumer goods industry manufacture their products. These include Unilever Nigeria Plc, Nestle Nigeria Plc, Nigeria Breweries Plc, PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc, Flour Mills of Nigeria, DUFIL Prima Foods Limited, United Africa Company of Nigeria, Guinness Nigeria Plc, British American Tobacco, Chi Limited, Beloxxi group, Vital Products, Sona Agro Allied Foods Limited, Dansa Foods Limited, Yale Foods Ltd, La Casera Company Plc, OK Foods Limited, Friesland Campina Wamco Nigeria Plc, NIJI GroupZubee International Company Limited, DuFil Prima Foods Plc, Be Global Food FZE (BGF), Conserveria Africana Limited, Nutri C, Apples and Pears Limited.

 

    • Automation
      The automation of the industrial goods industry has aided in increasing efficiency, preserving production stability, and enhancing workplace safety, among other things. Still, it has also resulted in many industrial employees’ employment loss. As more businesses automate parts of their operations, most industrial workers are concerned about job loss due to technological improvements. Moreover, some employees believe that technology will never be able to replace the human mind.
    • Healthcare Cost for Workers
      Another problem the industry faces is keeping up with changing and rising healthcare costs. As healthcare costs rise, industrial businesses find it increasingly difficult to manage their budgets. For example, in the United States, manufacturers pay for their employees’ healthcare. However, it is no longer practicable as expenses increase, and there are no viable alternatives.
    • Inventory Management
      Although automated technologies have made inventory management much more accessible, it remains one of the most demanding tasks in the industrial industry. Despite this, many manufacturers, particularly small ones, manage their supply by hand. Inventory management is a time-consuming task. However, that can be aided by software. Manual stock checks are inefficient and prone to errors, leading to inaccuracies, shortages, overstocking, and unidentified damages.
    • Shortages of skilled workers
      It is a significant issue for many businesses, but manufacturing is particularly impacted. As the baby boomer population approaches retirement, skilled professionals in numerous industrial goods and manufacturing companies are in great demand. While some mechanised activities and machine sensors have become more ubiquitous, millennials with technical skills and knowledge still need to replace the retiring workforce.
    • High Exchange Rate
      The sudden rise in the exchange rate has damaged the industrial & manufacturing sectors. The prices of goods or raw materials have tripled or quadrupled. As a result, manufacturers are forced to reduce their product sizes or increase their prices. It has strained the consumers and the manufacturers.
    • Infrastructural Challenges
      The Manufacturing industry in Nigeria has many infrastructural challenges. A crucial issue that hinders manufacturers in Nigeria is the inability to access an uninterrupted power supply. There has been a massive decline in electricity supply across the country that has further affected the industrial and manufacturing companies in the nation. In addition, alternative power sources like Diesel generators can exorbitantly increase the cost of production. Other infrastructural challenges include bad roads and poor storage facilities.
    • Inconsistent Government PoliciesChanging government policies has challenged Nigeria’s manufacturing industry and inexistent industrial segment. Poor access to foreign exchange to import goods, lax enforcement of protectionist policies and bottlenecks in the importation of machinery have made the business environment challenging for local manufacturers and industrialists are no longer competitive with importers of the same goods.
    • Challenges in the industry include a lack of skilled employers, high exchange rates, infrastructure challenges, poor distribution, 

      Here are innovation opportunities in the industrial and Manufacturing industry which include:

      Artificial Intelligence
      Factories are integrating AI across their production systems and processes. Advanced AI allows for predictive maintenance, cognitive computing, swarm intelligence, context-aware computing, smart machines, hardware accelerators, and generative design. 

      Human Augmentation 
      The physical and cognitive augmentation of humans is a significant industry innovation. Technologies like wearables and exoskeletons are augmenting human limitations. Furthermore, industrial mobile devices, natural and intuitive UI, and portable machine control screens enhance the ease of using such technology. 

      Extended Reality (XR)
      The industry already uses XR technologies like mixed reality (MR), augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) in the research and development (R&D) to full-scale production and post-production processes. It is changing the way industrial manufacturing systems function. The nature of human-machine interaction is aligning more toward machine-enabled workers.

      Internet of Everything
      The machine-machine, human-machine, and human-human real-time connectedness together comprise the internet of everything in manufacturing. It includes IIoT, internet of skills, internet of services, internet of systems, and shop floor IoT. The internet of everything combines real-time data, machine intelligence, and human skills, resulting in faster, efficient, and cost-effective manufacturing processes.

      Edge, Fog & Cloud Computing
      The immense amount of data generated by the industrial internet of things (IIoT) is propelling the adoption of edge, fog, and cloud computing capabilities in the industrial manufacturing Industry. As a result, custom hardware and software solutions like connected clouds, distributed clouds, distributed compute and storage, hybrid computing, low code development platforms, microservices, mobile computing, and multi-access edge computing are shaping this industry.

      Advanced Robotics
      Advancements in robotics make the Industrial and Manufacturing industry processes faster, more efficient, and safer. The most prominent robotic technologies impacting manufacturing include autonomous robots, collaborative robots (cobots), autonomous mobile robots, humanoid, mobile robots, cloud robotics, APIs, pick and place robots, and robot swarms. Robots offer higher precision and agility while improving the capability of rapidly developing customisable robots. Robots also free up time for the human workforce to focus on other non-repetitive or high-value tasks.

Books

  • All About Pull Production by Christoph Roser, John Shook
  • Managing Supply Chain Risk and Disruptions (Post COVID-19) by Aravind Raj Sakthivel, Jayakrishna Kandasamy, J. Paulo Davim
  • Industrial Engineering by Mario Fernández
  • Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management 
  • Input-Output Models for Sustainable Industrial Systems by Raymond R. Tan, Kathleen B. Aviso, Michael Angelo B. Promentilla, Krista Danielle S. Yu
  • Maintenance and Reliability Best Practices by Ramesh Gulati
  • Lessons from the Titans by Scott Davies
  • Toyota Kata by Mike Rother

Podcasts

  • Making Chips
  • The Sound of Automation
  • In Machine We Trust
  • Manufacturing Happy Hour
  • Augmented
  • The Manufacturing Executives
  • Solution Podcast
  • The Future is connected

Events

  • AfricaBuild
  • Complast South Africa
  • Manufacturing Association of Nigeria Event
  • EMWA – EQUIPMENT & MANUFACTURING WEST AFRICA
  • Digital Africa Conference
  • Lagos International Trade Fair
  • Ceramica West Africa
  • Nigeria Build Expo
  • Mega Clima Nigeria 2022
  • Agra Innovate West Africa
  • Propak West Africa

Movies/Documentary

  • Master Hands
  • America Factory
  • Manufacturing Dissect
  • The Promise Land
  • Detropia
  • Heavy Rescue: 401

Guides/Publications

  • The Manufacturer
  • Industry Week
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Trade magazine
  • Venture Beat

Consulting

Overview of the Consulting Industry
The consulting industry consists of professional service firms that deliver objective expert advice, implement, and manage business solutions based on best practices—for public and private organisations of all kinds, small businesses, and individuals. 

Consulting firms and professionals deliver their services by leveraging their broad knowledge, extensive experience, and deep expertise across job functions, industries, and business environments adapted across projects through innovative thinking to achieve outcomes desired by clients.

Though the consulting industry has earned a reputation as value creators and problem solvers—it started in the 19th and 20th centuries in the US. It focused on improving efficiency in the workplace—through the application of scientific methods in increasing productivity. Some of these; were led by academicians offering technical research and expert advice to organisations in the industry.

Today, the consulting industry has grown to span five to seven major areas based on specialisation. These are:

  • Financial Consulting: With accounting expertise at the core of their offerings—these firms provide advice and services to organisations. They ensure the integrity of financial processes and information. The most important services; include Audit, Transaction Services, Corporate Finance, Crisis & Recovery, Risk Management, Accounting Advisory, Tax Advisory, and Forensics & Litigation. It may also extend to Real Estate Advisory, Capital Budgeting, Project Valuation, and Compliance and Litigation services.

  • Information Technology (IT) Consulting: aka, Technology Consulting. They advise clients by reviewing processes for automation, aligning Information Technology to the overall strategy of a company— managing the implementation of IT systems, and auditing existing IT infrastructure. The digital transformation ongoing across most industries and increasing cyberthreat have stemmed the growth of this consulting area. Other areas in technology consulting are systems integration, data analytics, and systems management.

  • Human Resource (HR) Consulting: these consulting firms are focused on human capital and managing talents to maximise the value an organisation gets from its human resources in achieving its strategic objectives. HR consulting includes a wide range of areas: Human Capital Strategy, Compensation & Benefits, Organisational Change, HR Function, Talent Management, HR Analytics, Learning & Development, and HR Technology. Some may execute smaller functions such as executive recruitment, succession planning, and exit interviews.

  • Operations Consulting: also known as operations management firms, they provide advisory and services to improve operations in a company. These typically include process, design, governance, and performance system. Operations consulting may also overlap with HR consulting in areas such as company culture and management systems. Areas include Organisational Operations, Sales & Marketing, Supply Chain, Sourcing & Procurement, Finance, Business Process Management, Research & Development and Outsourcing.

  • Strategy Consulting: Seen as closely related to management consulting, these firms deliver consulting services to companies at the boardroom level, providing strategic advisory to companies from strategy development to implementation, of business strategies for private companies and helping set economic policy for public sector organisations. It is considered the most prestigious area of consulting. Areas include Corporate Strategy, Business Model Transformation, Economic Policy, Mergers & Acquisitions, Organisational Strategy, Functional Strategy, Strategy & Operations, and Digital Strategy.

  • Management Consulting: management consulting firms generally have oversight of all company functions by advising the senior management of an organisation to improve its overall performance and create value. They typically provide analysis and strategy to the decision-makers of an organisation which may comprise one or more of the areas of operations: human resources and increasingly information technology, as they can create value. These make it the broadest area in the consulting industry.

  • Niche Firms: they are speciality consulting firms that provide services to organisations based on an area of deep but narrow expertise or specific industries. Some of these areas include life sciences, bioengineering, design thinking, sustainability, and development. Other firms consult for a wide range of companies with tools and frameworks proprietary to their firms. Professionals or academicians in these firms—have domain expertise while working in general consulting practices.


Most consultants work in mid to large-sized consulting firms that provide one or multiple consulting services, depending on client needs, internal capabilities, and regulatory environment. Most management consulting firms combine; management with strategy consulting, while many also incorporate operations consulting. Many of the top finance consulting firms also provide IT and management consulting. Many consultants work independently as freelance consultants, a sole-proprietorship practice, or as niche consultants.

Management and Financial Consulting firms, which form the largest block of the industry, typically recruit undergraduates  students as interns; and graduates as Analysts or Associates depending on the organisational structure of the firm. Strategy and Management consulting firms may have preference for graduates with an MBA, studying or committed to having an MBA degree.

There are opportunities to progress to assistantship, associate, senior and full roles as Associates/Analyst, Consultant, Manager, Director, Partner to Principal Partners. A firm; is typically led by a Managing Partner who doubles as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO); a rarely used title in the Consulting industry.

Other consulting firms such as Information Technology, Human Resources and niche firms can recruit or promote Graduates into specialist positions such as system implementation consulting, compensation and benefit consulting, or environmental consulting. Openings for consulting roles are more available and regular for graduates. Support positions also exist in areas such as information technology, human resources, and marketing.  

The highest paid jobs in the consulting industry are in Strategy and Management Consulting by International consulting firms with offices across the global major business hubs. However, an MBA may be a requirement for getting into some of these firms. The highest-paid consultants are typically in Strategy, Corporate Finance Advisory, Customer and Growth, Trusts and Pensions, Operational Transaction Services, and Investment & Divestiture Advisory Services.

  1. The consulting industry is very keen on soft skills. It is why it is discipline-agnostic—as long as candidates are well-rounded in these skills. These skills for succeeding in the industry include:

    • Communication & Persuasion: consultants must communicate their position, proposals, findings, and recommendations to clients, both in writing and in-person presentations. Consulting also involves working with people from other disciplines, sometimes with a team from the client, and writing reports which have to be lucid and clear. Consultants must convince their clients with data and facts to follow a recommended course of action amidst conflicting ones.

       

    • Analysis & Problem-Solving: consultants need to understand the true nature of a problem, break it down, come up with the right questions, and find well-reasoned answers to them. Case studies and formal examinations test the ability of candidates to demonstrate these skills when needed. Clients expect consultants to utilise their fresh perspectives and knowledge of best practices to solve their problems, unlock value, and create opportunities—be innovative. Consultants are to put into use critical thinking and creative skills in solving problems.

       

    • Numeracy & Financial Literacy: Financial consulting, the largest graduate employer among top consulting firms, requires graduates comfortable with numbers. Their areas of practice which include tax, audit and transaction assurance, are number-heavy. An oversight or human error can be very costly— therefore, requiring high numerical skills and comprehension of financial comprehension by consultants.

       

    • Continual Learning & Adaptation: Consultants work with clients across different industries—both in the private and public sectors. They also work with other professionals from diverse disciplines. Yet, the deadlines can be tight, and the working environment pressure-filled. As consultants move from client to client, the work culture and environment differ. Hence consultants must quickly understand the needs and business environments of each client while also being flexible. Another huge area of change is the regulatory environment.

       

    • Professionalism & Industry Awareness: consultants have to display a high level of professionalism in their conduct. Most of the big businesses they work with have conservative work environments, and consultants must maintain a similar level of formality. Consultants have access to client information which must be kept confidential. A consultant must also have a high level of industry awareness by being up to date on key developments across the business environment. This awareness helps to provide informed opinions to clients and thought leadership in the industry.


    Other industry skills expected from consultants include self-awareness & self-management, planning & organisation, and teamwork. Working with data, communication, and collaboration with digital tools are essential areas of digital proficiency expected from consultants.

The consulting industry is open to graduates from all disciplines with solid analytical and communication skills while providing opportunities to learn on the job and continual education to attain professional qualifications. However, a degree in business, finance or STEM may be an advantage. A second class upper grade for the first degree is the minimum entry requirement for most consulting firms. 

The entry requirement for the top strategy and management consulting firms in the world is higher—with some requiring applicants with MBAs from one of the top business schools. For exceptional candidates with just a first degree, some of these firms sponsor obtaining an MBA degree as a perk for successful candidates.

Though not always mandatory and differing across firms, financial, information technology, and human resource consultants may consider certifications in their field. See finance, information technology, and human resources career clusters for more information on these certifications.

Top consulting firms conduct annual graduate recruitment programmes. It may be once or multiple times a year for financial and technology consulting firms like PwC, KPMG, Deloitte, E&Y, BDO, Grant Thorton, Mazars, RSM, and Accenture. Graduate recruitment is relatively less frequent in strategy and management consulting firms that are targeted more at MBAs. It makes having an MBA an advantage for candidates targeting these consulting firms.

These recruitment processes usually involve; calls for applications from graduates with at least a second class upper degree and still under a specified age. It is recommended you follow consulting firms you are eyeing on Linkedin and Twitter for updates on openings. Most applications to top consulting firms are online with options to upload CVs, cover/motivation letters, and degree certificates. Due to the high number of applications received from eligible candidates, ensure that you fill all fields in the online application and do not assume that your CV will be checked—for answers.  

While most selection processes start with an aptitude test at designated centres or on campus, some consulting firms have introduced online personality assessments before aptitude tests. Successful candidates proceed to written tests to evaluate their communication skills. Candidates who pass these tests go through multiple rounds of the interview, case interviews in the case of strategy and management consulting firms. 

GMAT and case interview resources are recommended—for preparation. Commercial awareness, which can be helpful in interviews and at work, can also be developed by reading business publications and staying up to date with business developments. As the interview process progresses, the higher the ranking of staff conducting the interview. The final interview phase is when you meet one or more Partners of the firm. Interning at a consulting firm can help build relationships and understand the internal working environment of consulting firms.

With the fierce competition for a place in top consulting firms, you can take advantage of the lower barriers to entry of lesser-known consulting firms. You can be proactive to seek an internship and graduate position there outside a formal recruitment window. You can also reach out to your network (family, senior friends, and alumni) who have contacts in medium and large consulting firms for internship and graduate opportunities.

Succeeding as a freelance consultant requires having a network of industry players, confidence, and understanding of the business world—from substantial work experience. Resources such as books and publications on succeeding as a consultant covering topics, such as preparing proposals and presentations, pricing, and managing client relationships, can help start your consulting practice. Thought leadership through blog posts, editorial contributions to industry publications and speaking engagements at industry events also provide visibility to prospective clients for consulting services.

Consulting is one of the best industries to start a career as a graduate. It provides opportunities for self-development— working with the best minds across disciplines and industries; and mobility across sectors and geographies for experience and exposure. Though it is known for its long hours, entry salaries in reputable consulting farms are higher than the average graduate salary in most countries. Strategy and management consulting firms are consistently on the list of highest payers.

Consultants typically move from client to client, providing opportunities to apply their analytical and cross-functional skills providing solutions to clients from different industries. These moves result in sumptuous lunches, business-class flights, and stay in classy hotels that many envy consultants working with top firms. Pension schemes, health insurance, and leave—are also provided.

However, the availability of these perks and benefits is not always the case for consultants working with smaller firms that serve SMEs. Nevertheless—a consulting career, irrespective of the company size—keeps consultants on their toes. They need to continually learn to stay relevant and provide numerous opportunities to build professional capacity. It also provides a good foundation for transitioning to a middle or C-level executive position in other industries. And also working as an entrepreneur leveraging the skills and network built.

In addition, the top global strategy and management consulting firms operate a human resource management model similar to the Cravath system. The system focuses on hiring the best talents—that are either promoted or counselled out—if they do not meet performance targets. The environment is very competitive and demands being able to work under pressure.

Global Bodies
Chartered Institute of Management Consultants, The Institute of Consulting (IC), Association of Image Consultants International (AICI), Project Management Institute (PMI), Institute Of Management Consultants Nigeria (IMCN), Institute of Financial Consultants®

Ghana
Ghana Association Of Certified Consultants, Institute of Certified Business Analysts & Consultants (ICBAC), Certified Institute of Administrators & Management Consultants, Ghana Association of Certified Consultants, Ghana Association of Restructuring and Insolvency Advisors (GARIA),

Nigeria
Institute Of Management Consultants Nigeria, Nigerian Institute of Management

 

Global

  • Najwa El Iraki 
  • Julien Tyack
  • Nomfanelo Magwentshu
  • Meryem Lakhssassi

Nigeria
Acha Leke, Taiwo Oyedele, Foluso Phillips 

 

International and National Agencies
The consulting industry in most countries does not have state agencies that oversee, regulate or support firms. However, many of them work with agencies in sectors where their operations are active and are subject to regulation. Financial consulting firms providing audit and tax services to financial institutions have to follow the regulatory framework established by the apex (or central) bank in the markets they operate. This is applicable to many other highly regulated industries.

Nigeria

Regulated by government organisations in their industries of operation.

The consulting industry consists of global firms which have international offices across the global major business cities. Prominent among these are management consulting firms. The top global financial consulting companies— such as the Big 4 to Big 16 include an international network of independently operating firm partnerships that share the same brands and adhere to shared values. However, local partners in these countries manage country operations. 

Only a handful of consulting firms with mid to large size operations command a bulk of revenue in the industry from servicing large enterprises and public institutions. Numerous local consulting firms operate as sole proprietorships or two to three-people partnerships that serve small to medium-sized businesses.

Global Employers
McKinsey, PwC, KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst and Young, Mazars, BDO, Grant Thornton, Nexia, RSM, Baker Tilly, Kearney, Bain & Co., BCG, Dalberg, Emerton, Marsh & McLennan, Oliver Wyman, L.E.K. Consulting, Booz Allen, Accenture, Capgemini, Cognizant, Infosys, Tata Consulting Service, DXC, HP Enterprise, SAP Consulting, and IBM Global Services, Roland Berger, Mercer, PKF international Alexander Forbes, Kearney, Deloitte, Emerton, Africon GmBH, Gardiner & Theobald, Hitachi Consulting, IDEO, JMAN Consulting, LeighFisher, Tata Consulting Services, Wipro, Fujitsu Business Consulting Services, NCC Group, BMC Consulting Services, Altran Consulting, Alchemmy, Actica, Africon

Ghana
Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), Aon Consulting, Avasant, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), Deloitte Consulting, Ernst & Young, Grant Thornton, KPMG Consulting, Manpower, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and Kanta. Local firms include Nexia Debrah & Co, Sarsson Consulting, Morrison & Associates, Edel Technology Consulting, Africa Foresight Group, Nimba Research, ABP Consult, SRC Consulting, DU&T Consulting, Salcon Consult, JMK Consulting, Plan Consult, Michael Stevens, Sigma Strat, RDK Consulting, Shawbell Consulting, FAS Consult Ghana, eSolutions Consulting, Firmus Advisory, Multi Agency Financial Consult.

Nigeria
PwC Nigeria, KPMG Nigeria, Deloitte Nigeria, Ernst and Young Nigeria, Mazars, BDO, PKF International, McKinsey and BCG. Indigenous firms include Andersen Tax Nigeria, SIAO Partners, Phillips Consulting, H.Pierson, Ciuci Consulting, Workforce Group, Resource Intermediaries Ltd, Ashford & McGuire, Human Capital Partners, Veraki Business Solutions, Meritex Consulting, McTimothy Associates, Novatia Consulting, Matog Consulting, Mac-Tay, Qeeva Advisory, BAO Tax Consultants, BusinessOnStop, Fosad Consulting, PG Consulting Ltd, Sigma Consulting Group, Romis Consulting, Platinum Stream Consulting

 

    • Political instability and uncertainty in the regulatory environment: Political instability limits the industry growth in some African regions. It leads to uncertainty in the business and regulatory environment—and an inability to get paid.

    • Nature of markets. Another limiting factor to the growth of the consulting industry in Africa is the nature of markets—which provides a competitive advantage to enterprises backed by governments and those with highly networked founders. It makes the product, operational, and strategy superiority less relevant. Mid to long term planning can also be challenging in markets with high government interference.

    • Technological Disruption: Firms are increasingly looking at technology-enabled models for innovation such as artificial intelligence, expert/talent networks, and crowdsourcing for ideas they would have traditionally hired consultants to deliver.

    • Competitive landscape: As clients have higher expectations for quality and speed of service under tighter deadlines, emphasise results over activities, new and nimble entrants with experience working with big firms offer stiff competition to traditional consulting firms.

    • Data management practices: The risk of data mismanagement in the workplace has increased— so is the need for better practices in managing client data as third-party service providers with access to a lot of data.

    • The volatility of reputation. Consulting is a trusted business; to clients, regulators, and the public. Damage to a firm’s reputation makes it difficult to regain the confidence of clients in its market and can negatively impact the reputation of firms in the same network in other markets.

    • The consulting industry has been a driver of digitisation in the industry. The industry is, however, ripe for digital disruption. Leading consulting firms are spearheading this change. However, the conservatism of the clients can limit them. 

      The following are crucial areas in consulting that digitisation is expected to impact:

      • Data Collection and Processing: beyond the use of surveys for understanding client needs, the adoption of digital tools in the work environment for automating business processes has also provided funnels for real-time data collection—both structured and unstructured. This data can now be processed to understand client operations and machine learning algorithms for analysing data pools for insights.

         

      • Data Analytics and Business Intelligence: data analytics and business intelligence offer— decision-makers—real-time insight into many areas like operations, sales, and supply chain activities across activities. This information is accessible from a central dashboard. It is also beneficial for consulting firms with mid to long-term engagement with clients to access the data to provide informed recommendations.

         

      • Robotic Process Automation: financial consulting breeds many routine tasks such as analysing invoices and payrolls, which can become monotonous, time-consuming, and prone to human error. With robotic process automation, software bots can apply artificial intelligence to perform these tasks faster, more efficiently, and less prone to error. The robotic-process automation industry is experiencing rapid growth from increasing adoption by the financial services industry.

         

  • Digital Delivery of Advisory Services: to serve small and medium-sized businesses and social organisations, some consulting firms have developed chatbots that can interact with clients to know their needs and take inputs. An example is the TaxTim chatbot by PwC—which provides an online step-by-step process for clients to get their taxes in order, quickly and efficiently.

Books

  • The McKinsey Way by Ethan Rastel
  • Case Interview Secrets by Victor Chen
  • The Lords of Strategy by Walter Kiechel
  • Competitive Strategy by Michael E. Porter
  • Business Consulting by Fiona Czerniaeska & Gilbert Toppin
  • How To Get Into The Top Consulting Firms by Tim Darling
  • The Consulting Bible by Alan Weiss


Publications

  • Publications of Consulting Firms: McKinsey Quarterly, BCG Perspectives, Strategy+, THINK: ACT, and Oliver Wyman Insights.
  • Harvard Business Review
  • Consultancy.org
  • The Economist
  • Bloomberg
  • strategy+business


Podcasts

  • Economist; The Intelligence
  • Everything Business Consulting
  • The Art of Consulting
  • Case Interview Preparation & Management Consulting
  • Podcasts of Consulting Firms; Deloitte, PwC, McKinsey


Movies and TV Series

  • Up in the Air (movie)
  • Margin Call (movie)
  • Mad Men (series)
  • Suits (series)
  • House of Lies (series)


Events

You can look out for summits, forums, and conferences organised by consulting firms such as Deloitte, PwC, KPMG, and Ernst & Young.

Fashion, Events and Lifestyle

Overview of the Fashion, Events and Lifestyle Industry

Humans are social beings, and at the centre of this socialisation are the ways people meet their needs for expression and interaction with others. These have, over some time, resulted in arts, culture, beauty, entertainment and everyday living. These activities may have resulted from the human and social needs for expression, pleasure, and survival. They make up the Lifestyle, Fashion and Events Industry. 

The fashion industry encompasses the design, manufacture, distribution, marketing, sales and promotion of clothing, footwear, bags, accessories and products for styling, from shoe factories in Mumbai and tailoring shops in Onitsha to runways for fashion models in Monaco. It is a ubiquitous industry at the bedrock of any economy that individuals, business owners, SMEs and large enterprises play. Other fashion-related areas that have become sizeable as independent industries include jewellery, beauty and cosmetics, watches, and hairstyling. 

Events provide a social platform for human expression and interaction. The industry consists of individuals and companies that plan, organise, set up, and run events. These include parties, conferences, roadshows, musical tours, political rallies and other purposeful gatherings of people. The success of these events typically requires event organisers and planners, event compere/hosts/moderators, security service providers, and sometimes entertainers, who are all participants in this industry.

Fashion and events are most times reflections of an individual’s or group’s style, preferences, values, way of life and social status. Services and products that provide or support these reflections make up the Lifestyle industry. Companies in other industries now also play in the lifestyle industry by making their brands connect with the way consumers aspire to live. These are usually reflected in their product design and marketing communications as they seek to inspire and connect with their target markets. Entertainment industries such as music, media and films also intersect significantly with the Fashion, Events & Lifestyle industry.

Fashion & Jewelry Designer, Textile designer, Fashion writer/illustrator, Pattern cutter/grader, Stylist, Personal stylist/personal shopper, Fashion buyer, Fashion merchandiser, Visual merchandiser, Fashion writer, Graphic designer, Fashion photographer/filmmaker, Fashion blogger/vlogger, Model, Marketing or Communications Manager, Wardrobe assistant, Costume designer, Makeup artist/hairstylist, Studio manager , Retail manager, Copywriter, Social media assistant, Event manager, Teacher/lecturer, Further research, Engraver, Polisher, Bench jeweller, Metalworker, Jewellery consultant, Event & Wedding Planner, Event Space or Venue Managers, Catering Services Manager

Highest Paying Jobs
The highest paying jobs in the industry are: Fashion or Jewelry Store manager, eCommerce Manager, Product Manager, Fashion Designer / Stylist and Event Planner.

    • Creativity & Critical Thinking 
      In every part of the industry, creativity and an eye for what is visually appealing are essential; being creative is not only for designers but for everyone in the sector. Your originality and sense of style can influence written materials and promotional commercials. It’s also necessary to think critically to solve difficulties, produce the best materials, and decide on a marketing strategy to generate more sales.

      Teamwork & Networking
      One of the essential fashion abilities you’ll need is working well with others. You’ll be part of a large team (design, production, marketing, etc.) that collaborates closely on significant projects and meetings. You’ll need to work with them to identify problems and develop solutions rather than pointing fingers and blaming team members. To obtain first dibs on new products, you’ll also need to network with manufacturers and fashion icons and celebrities to promote your brand.

      Initiative & Enterprise
      The ability to find new opportunities and ideas and put them into practice. Having initiative and an enterprising ability is a much-needed skill to improve how businesses operate. Employers need to have someone to adapt to new work situations by seeing ways to make valuable changes. It also involves having the self-motivation to develop your design ideas or proposals and organising events.

      Communication & Persuasion
      Fashion is constantly communicating – it listens to culture and dictates it, and the same with events. You must be able to share your creative ideas, concept or proposals, both with team players and your customers. The success rate of products depends on marketing. Marketers (Digital or Traditional Marketers) must communicate the product’s value excellently to their customers and persuade them to buy from their brand, among several options. 

      Industry Awareness, Continual Learning & Adaptation
      Being aware of trends in the industry involves spotting new designs, fabrics being used, understanding the changing customer needs, new technologies being adopted in the industry, etc. One must continuously learn and adapt to keep up with all these trends. Learning new skills in design & marketing and integrating new technology software would help keep up with the digitisation in the industry.

      Digital Skills 
      Having digital skills is an advantage in this industry as several fashion, events and lifestyle companies are going online. In addition, developing technical skills like graphic design using digital tools, content creation/Writing for communication and social media engagement. And also, data analysis for understanding sales reports and markets will be an added advantage.

A degree in fashion is one of the best routes to secure a good position within the industry. 

While you can work in this industry without a degree in fashion design, having such degrees can be relevant and give you an edge. But beyond a formal degree in fashion, working in this industry requires you to have a deep interest & passion and also be ready to develop creative skills. 

Learning in this industry can be formal or informal. There are registered fashion schools with structured curriculum and instructors that teaches fashion and award certificate to their student. Also, several people have been trained informally through apprenticeship, and they get a certificate for training.

Attending a school of fashion can help you launch your dream career. Attending a fashion school will open your eyes to some basics of fashion designing, how to brand your products, and how to best market your products.

Some famous fashion school in the country and diaspora is Fashion Institute of Technology (US), School of Arts, Design and Architecture (Finland), Parsons: Fashion, Art and Design School (US), Paris College of Art (Paris), Fashion & Art Academy House of Henri, Legsapparel Fashion School Port Harcourt, Zaris Fashion and Style Academy, Mickeyoma Design Fashion Academy, etc.

Bachelor degrees include: 

Bachelor of Design – Product Design + Fashion Design, Bachelor in Textile, Design, Bachelor in Design, Fashion and Visual Arts, BA (Hons) Fashion, BA in Jewelry Design, BA Honours Fashion Design, Bachelor of Arts in Fashion.

Other Degree/Certification include:

Diploma in Fashion Design, Fashion buying and merchandising, fashion styling, fashion photography, Jewellery design, fashion journalism, and fashion management.

The fashion industry is highly competitive. Incredible creatives and bold strategists work together to keep up with rapidly changing trends and a demanding audience with multiple choices.

Volunteer, don’t wait for a “Job”
Volunteer to put your designs to work for individuals who can give you visibility even if the earnings are insignificant. Manage events when the opportunity arises. Volunteering will help you put your creativity to use while gaining experience.

Fashion internship
Nothing would beat real-world experience, even if you studied something fashion-related. However, you have to be okay with starting at the bottom. A fashion internship will round off your theoretical knowledge and develop your skills. An internship often serves as an extended job interview and could land you a permanent position. It doesn’t have to be a big company, event tailoring shops and fashion houses could be a good starting point.

Keep up with fashion trends
Stay abreast with ha in the fashion industry by following or subscribing to a few big shots or media houses on Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube and keeping track of innovation and trends from the hot topics.

Leverage Social media 
Knowing how to harness diverse opportunities on the social platform will help. Follow your favourite brands and designers to keep up with their products and learn from their innovative ways of doing things. Share your work on social media sites to build your brand image and opportunities, and engage with fellow enthusiasts in the industry.

Build your portfolio of work 
It can be a notebook, a personal website or even a Behance page; your social media can also be your gallery of work. Having your portfolio is essential as it shows your consistency in creating good products or planning beautiful events. In addition, it will help you reach out to new prospects as it will help them navigate your designs or the events you’ve planned efficiently.

Be open to opportunities
You may start marketing and end up in design. You may begin working with a lifestyle magazine and become a dress designer. The possibilities for growth in the industry are vast. You should be open to new opportunities.

Working in the industry requires you to be social; this will help you keep informed of trends and network with other fashion enthusiasts. Working in this industry also requires you to be passionate.

While most roles are in marketing, with a few designers working in the backend, the lowest entry is sales. However, being open to opportunities is needed as roles in other segments might be available.

The events industry can be very intense. It requires a lot of planning and visitation of vendors and venues and coming up with creative ideas to beat competitors. 

Large corporations often train their workers to keep up with trends and be more productive. Event companies also train their staff on work ethics.

International
Cosmetic Executive Women
Fashion Group International
Council of Fashion Designers of America 
Association of Textiles 
Apparel and Materials Professionals 
American Apparel and Footwear Association 
International Textile and Apparel Association
World Fashion Organization (WFO)

Nigeria
National Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria: FADAN
Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association
Nigerian Textile Garment and Tailoring Employers Association
Association of Professional Party Organizers and Event Managers of Nigeria (APPOEMN

 

International
Soares Anthony, Mai Atafo, Coco Chanel

Nigeria
Tara Durotoye, Adenike Ogunlesi, Deola, Sagoe, Funke Bucknor-Obruthe.

 

Cosmetic Executive Women 
Fashion Group International
Council of Fashion Designers of America 
Association of Textiles 
Apparel and Materials Professionals 
American Apparel and Footwear Association 
International Textile and Apparel Association
World Fashion Organization (WFO)

Nigeria
National Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria: FADAN
Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association
Nigerian Textile Garment and Tailoring Employers Association
Association of Professional Party Organizers and Event Managers of Nigeria (APPOEMN)

 

Brands should not be confused with companies. Companies typically own brands, and a single company can have multiple brands. A company with one or more brands can also bear the name of its flagship brand. 

Global
Chanel, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior SE, Alexander Wang, Diane von Furstenberg, Kate Spade, Marc Jacobs, H&M, Burberry Group plc, Prada S.p.A, Nike, Hermès International Société, Ralph Lauren Corp, Tory Burch, Calvin Klein, Kering SA, Armani, Urban Outfitters, Donna Karan, Levi Strauss & Co., L’Orea, Under Armour, Inc., Quiksilver Inc., Brunello Cucinelli, Coach, Inc., Lululemon Athletica Inc.

The International fashion market is led by Inditex, LVMH, H&M, Nike, VF Corporation, Richemont, Adidas, Fast Retailing, Abercrombie & Fitch, Prada, Gap, Dior, Urban Outfitters, and Burberry.

Events companies include Bassett Events, Inc., MKG, Colin Cowie, David Tutera, A Perfect Event, Rafanelli Events, Oren Co, Wonderland, Eventive, Royal DSM, Dreamsmith Events, Meat & Potato, Liquid media live events, Rockitfish Ltd, Firebird Events Ltd, Alpha Events.

Nigeria
Andrea Iyamah, Atafo Official, Deola Sagoe, Emmy Kasbit, Ejiro Amos Tafiri, Maki Oh, Lisa Folawiyo, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi, Kenneth Ize, KAI collective, Orange Culture, Style Temple, Tiffany Amber, Studio Imo, Ray Darten, Ade Bakare, Jewel by Lisa, Virgos Lounge, Obsidian, Frank Oshodi, Duro Olowu, Clan, Davida, House of Farrah, Yomi Casual, House of Dorcas, Zizi Cardow, Style Goes To Church (SGTC), Elora Collection, Lisa Folawiyo, Denim Unusual, Anya Wu, Tsemaye Binitie, Emmy Collins, Kiki Kamanu, Buki Akib, Zavandi Jewelry, Zikel Cosmetics, Tara Home of Fashion.

Events companies include Balmora, Zaphhaire events, 2706 Events, Trendy Beevents, Alveena Events, Elizabeth R Event, The Wedding Guru, Magna Events Ball Events, 3003 Events, Eventful, Haven of Imagination, Corban Events Planners, Just Weddings Events, Sellyrite Events Planners, Wow Connect Event.

Startups
OgaVenue, Intelistyle, Holition, Snap Tech, Pocket High Street, Genostyle, Smartzer, Same But Different (Thursday finest), Thread, Hurr Collective, The Fabricant, LoveCrafts, Wardrobe Of Tomorrow, Reflaunt, Lyst, Depop, Tix Africa.

Ticketing companies also play in this industry.

The events industry startups include Eat In My Seat, Catchbox, Sponseasy, 99CentEventStreaming, EventKloud, Crowd Mics, Snapcastr, Jamplify, Stormz, Run the World, Airmeet, Planit, Lush Plans, Afritickets, RentYourHall.

 

  • Fintechs as Challengers
    Startups leveraging data and technology are bringing innovations to markets at an unprecedented rate for traditional financial service providers and regulators to deal with. However, several incumbent financial institutions respond by rolling out fintech offerings to their customer base. Some of these are exclusively from them, while others partner with Fintechs.

    Evolving Customer Expectations 
    Customers now expect personalised and instant access to a menu of financial services. They also expect services to be accessible across multiple digital channels and their requests promptly attended to.

    Fraud and Cybercrime
    The financial sector is exposed to several threats from within and outside the financial system. The complexity of fraud and money laundering operations continues to evolve, putting the deposit of customers, operations and reputation of financial firms at risk.

    Underserved Customers
    Agency and digital banking services have helped close the financial inclusion gap in several developing countries. However, most of the population is still underserved due to the lack of robust financial services to cater for their needs. Access to credit at an affordable rate remains a challenge for individuals and small to medium-sized businesses.

    Exposure to Global Risk 
    The connectedness of the global financial system has made economic systems vulnerable to shocks that may come from anywhere in the world. For example, default on loans in the US may lead to a domino effect on financial markets in Europe and catalyse to become a global financial crisis.

    Tougher Regulatory Environment
    The financial sector is highly regulated. In both good and bad times of the economy, the financial sector is a target of increasing legislation and policies and has to adhere to the government’s strict compliance measures. The globalisation of finance also implies that many of them are exposed to the regulatory environment in international markets.

    Legacy Systems
    Financial institutions with a long history of operation are significant players in any nation’s financial service industry. But unfortunately, a majority of them are challenged with legacy systems of existing software, processes, and business infrastructure, which can be challenging to integrate, change or adapt to new technologies.

    The volatility of the World Economy
    From the devastating effect of COVID-19, mounting rate of inflation, fluctuation in the value of currencies and the foreign reserves of Nations, to wars among nations, the financial sector’s stability is threatened by uncertain times.

    • Digitigitisation is on the high in the following areas of finance:

      • AI for interfacing with customers, delivering advisory services, and making product recommendations in banking.
      • The emergence of blockchain technologies for trust management and digital currencies in business finance. 
      • Data-driven decisions such as calculation of premiums based on predictive analytics in insurance.
      • Robotic Process Automation and advanced AI technologies for automating manual accounting processes.
      • Algorithmic stock trading – quants in investment banking.
      • Loan prediction and credit scoring based on historical financial records, behavioural analysis, and big data in banking.
      • Automation of accounting workflows to reduce the burden of manual data entry.

Books

  • How Finance Works: The HBR Guide to Thinking Smart about the Numbers
  • Narrative and Numbers: The Value of Stories in Business
  • Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making
  • Cost Accounting: A Managerial Emphasis
  • How to Read a Financial Report: wringing vital signs out of the numbers


Podcasts

  • The Abacus Show
  • ACCA Podcasts
  • From CPA to CFO
  • Cashflow Diary
  • The Economist Podcast


Publications/Blogs

  • CFO Magazine
  • Strategic Finance
  • Global Banking & Finance
  • Financial Planning Magazine
  • Accounting Today


Movies

  • Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
  • The Accountant (2016)
  • The Insider (1999)
  • In Debt We Trust: America Before the Bubble Bursts (2006) 


Events

  • World Economic Forum
  • Africa Finance Summit
  • Africa Fintech Foundry/Summit
  • African Insurance Organization Conference and General Assembly

Explore More Careers and Industries for Job and Innovation Opportunities

Discover top skills, qualifications, and tips for entry and leading organisations that provide career opportunities. You can also connect with alumni in industries of interest to build your professional network (having a LinkedIn account is required).

Fashion, Events, and Lifestyle

Digital Marketing

Media & Publishing

Power & Renewable Energy

Higher Education

Marketing Communications & Advertising

Public Sector

Real Estate & Facility Management

Safety, Security and Defense

Telecommunications

Transport & Logistics

Waste Management

CVs/Resumes

Overview

CVs and Resumes are interchangeably used to refer to a document that presents you as a candidate suitable to an employer or other kind of organisations (such as agraduate school) to which you have applied for a position. A CV means “curriculum vitae” ­­– a latin phrase which translates to “course of life” while a résumé is a French word which means “to summarise.”

These documents also make the case that a candidate is worth the resources for the prospective employer or organization to invest in the further evaluation, interview and other steps that may be required for the candidate to fill a position.

CVs for submission to private sector employers do not need to be too heavy on details. However, should serve as a concise personal marketing document to focus on your competencies, showcase your skills (demonstrated at work), notable achievements, qualifications and work experience RELEVANT and TAILORED to the role to which you are applying. This is why these kinds of CVs are called preferably called resumes in some countries. Your CV can range from one to three pages depending on your work experience and number of active years in the industry.

In applying for roles in academia, scientific research, grants, fellowships and international jobs, your CV should provide a detailed and comprehensive listing of one’s education, work history, certifications, research experience, publications, presentations, and professional affiliations and memberships. These details vary by country, but can include one’s date of birth, nationality, marital status, and number of children. Unless otherwise stated, this type of CVs has no page restrictions.

Some employers and organizations such as graduate schools provide guidelines to formatting your CV for submission. It is in your best interest to abide with these guidelines as several organisations now use application tracking systems (ATS) to sort out CVs for the consideration of a personnel within the organization. It is also the first test of your ability to comprehend information as a suitable candidate for to the role you are applying for.

A dilemma in writing your CV is knowing what to include or remove. The first answer to this should be sought from the employer or organization to whom you are submitting your CV, provided instructions on CV formats are provided. However, when specific instructions are not provided, these are general rules you can stick with:

 Contact details
Include your full name, home address, mobile number and email address. Ensure that your mobile number is reachable and avoid playful email addresses or those that you don’t check.

Personal Information
When age limits are set on a role or you are applying to a job in a country where there are no strict laws on employer discrimination, you may need to add your date of birth, gender and marital status. Otherwise, they are not required. You can add the link to your social media handle, such as LinkedIn, provided you have taken time to deliberately work on your online presence.

Profile/Career Objective/Summary Statements
While not compulsory, it is not uncommon to see CVs which have a short profile or statement placed at the beginning of a CV. If you have decided to add this to your CV, it should be concise and describe your selling attributes in a way that makes you stand out from the rest of the pack. It also provides an opportunity summarily describe your past accomplishments and future ambition in a way that matches the role you are applying to. This means that it should not be generic but tailored to the role you are applying for.

Education and Professional Qualifications 
List your education to date. This should also include your professional qualifications and relevant industry certifications which you may decide to place in a separate section. You can also add relevant bootcamps you have attended or online courses you have taken. They should be arranged chronologically i.e. the most recent first. Do not hesitate to add your grade or class position to every education or training where you have excelled. This provides an opportunity to sell yourself as a high-flying candidate.

Work experience
List your work experience in a chronological order. The work experience to include can be full time or volunteer positions, independent or group projects, as long as you can demonstrate they provided you the opportunity to build and apply skills which may be directly or indirectly transferable to the role you are applying for. Each of these work experiences should Include your job title, organization name, duration of work and the tasks you did while occupying that role ­– this can be summarized or listed as bullet points

Skills and Competencies
While several CVs have sections to list skills and competencies, describing them in your work experiences, education and accomplishments provides a better way to communicate them. This shows employers that you don’t just have potentials, but you are actualising them. Skills may include the ability to speak a foreign language, use a software or knowledge of a trade. Whatever it is, just ensure that it is presented to be relevant to the role for which you are applying.  Be careful not to exaggerate your abilities or make claims that you may struggle to defend.

Achievements and Accomplishments
Your CV provides you an opportunity to showcase yourself as the best candidate for the place you are applying for. Therefore, you may want to include any award, honor, prize, fellowship or grant you have received as achievements. Accomplishments may include opportunities you have had such as your article being published on a reputable platform, presentations and recognitions you have received

Interests
Beyond hobbies, interests provide a more encompassing way to show your life outside. They should not be generic such as stating you like reading, travelling and watching football. They should be more active and present you as an interesting person desirable on a team. These can be as detailed as the genre of books, movies and music. Participation in a choir, band or drama group. Volunteerism in an association or group. When interestingly presented, your interests can become talking points at interviews. So, let your interest be want you familiar with. Don’t claim to be an expert at playing golf in you’ve only stepped on a golf course.

Grey Areas
Pictures
It is becoming increasingly common to see pictures on CVs. It is not mandatory that you picture is attached to your CV unless you are applying for an acting or modelling job – it may not even be necessary in this case. Adding a picture can also make the file size of your CV, making it difficult for applicant tracking systems (ATS) to process. Your online presence provides you a channel to project your pictures. Ensure that you have a picture that fits a workplace on social media channels such as LinkedIn. For pictures of your projects, a portfolio is the best document to present them. A portfolio makes it possible to present them with notes to provide more information to the reader.

References
Take note of specific instructions that may require you to add references to your CV. If not stated, adding references may not be necessary. For academic CVs, references are always required – a majority of which must be past academic tutors and sometimes a manager in the workplace can be one of the three. CVs for job applications that require references can have only managers who you have worked with in the past. On all occasions, ensure that your references are those that can provide supporting information about you if the prospective employer or institution you are applying to requires them to. References should include their name, roles, company/institution, email and phone numbers.

A great CV takes your skills and experience and tailors them to the job you’re applying for. The following are tips to help you get started in creating a successful CV and securing your first (or next) job.

Basics
There is no right or wrong way to write a CV but there are some common sections you should cover. These include: personal and contact information; education and qualifications; work history and/or experience; relevant skills to the job in question; own interests, achievements or hobbies; and some reference. There is no need adding the title of a “Curriculum Vitae” to your document. The title should be your name and the layout should make it obvious that it is a CV. Use regular font such as Arial, Calibri, Helvetica, Times and Verdana. Avoid fancy fonts that may look cool to you but may be difficult to read for a recruiter who has many CVs to go through.

Understand the job description
Take notes and create bullet points, highlighting everything you can satisfy and all the bits you can’t. With the areas where you’re lacking, fill in the blanks by adapting the skills you do have. For example, if the job in question requires someone with sales experience, there’s nothing stopping you from using any retail work you’ve undertaken – even if it was something to help pay the bills through university or working in a family member’s retail outlet. It will demonstrate the skills you do have and show how they’re transferable. Just make sure you are not lying and you can defend every claim you make. Another trick you can use is to utilize the keywords in the job description in presenting your work experience and skills in your CV.

Tailor your CV to the role
When you’ve established what the job entails and how you can match each requirement, create a CV specifically for that role. Remember, there is no such thing as a generic CV. Every CV you send to a potential employee should be tailored to that role. So, don’t be hesitant to always do the work of editing your CV to fit the role for which you are applying.  You don’t have to re-write the whole document, you can always tweak the details so they’re relevant to each role you are applying for. In a CV, for example, if you are applying for a job in sales, you might want to put your sales experience and training at the top of the work experience and education sections of your CV.

Make the most of your skills
Under the skills section of your CV, don’t forget to mention key skills that can help you to stand out from the crowd. These could include: communication skills; computer skills; team working; problem solving or even speaking a foreign language. It is not enough to list your skills as a bullet point. You can write a short note on how you acquired or have demonstrated each skill. Skills can come out of the most unlikely places, so really think about what you’ve done to grow your own skills, even if you take examples from being in a local sports team or joining a voluntary group – it’s all relevant.

Make the most of your interests and volunteerism
Interests provide you an opportunity to present your life outside work that further indicates you are the right fit for a role. Under interests, highlight the things that show off skills you’ve gained and employers look for. Include anything that shows how diverse, interested and skilled you are. Describe any examples of positions of responsibility, working in a team or anything that shows you can use your own initiative. For example, if you ran your university’s newspaper or if you started a weekend league football team that became a success. Don’t include passive interests like watching TV, solitary hobbies that can be perceived as you lacking in people skills. Make yourself sound really interesting.

Make the most of your experience
Use assertive and positive language under the work history and experience sections, such as “developed”, “organised” or “achieved”. Try to relate the skills you have learned to the job role you’re applying for. For example: “The work experience involved working in a team,” or “This position involved planning, organisation and leadership as I was responsible for a team of people”. Really get to grips with the valuable skills and experience you have gained from past work positions, even if it was just working in a restaurant – every little detail helps.

Keep your CV updated
It’s crucial to review your CV on a regular basis and add any new skills or experience that’s missing. For example, if you’ve just done some volunteering or worked on a new project, make sure they’re on there – potential employers are always impressed with candidates who go the extra mile to boost their own skills and experience. You can always add that new online certification you received. Just ensure that each addition is relevant to the role you are applying to.

Presentation is key
A good CV is clear and concise. Also, employers receive dozens of CVs all the time so it’s unlikely they’ll read each one cover to cover. Most will make a judgment about a CV within sections. The layout should always be clean and well-structured and pleasing to the eyes. CVs typically take a chronological, functional or hybrid format. Though the chronological structure is most commonly used, if you are just starting out in the industry or have gaps in employment, you may consider a functional CV to emphasise your competencies and skills. You can also use the hybrid format which combines both chronological and functional format. You can use a template or flexible CV builder to develop your CV so as to stick and follow through on a clear presentation format.

Proofread multiple times and share with others for feedback
The first draft of any document is prone to all kinds of errors. The secret of flawless documents is not in writing a perfect first version but re-writing until it is near-perfect. Ensure that you read your document multiple times to spot errors. Reading out loud each word can help you to spot errors faster. You just never seem to notice some omissions until they are pointed out by others. So, do not hesitate to share your CV with others to proofread for you. Finally, you can always consult a career advisor, mentor or professional to review your CV for recommendations on areas you can make improvements. The more background work you have done on your own, the less you would likely have to do after their review. Your CV for review may be so perfect that it leads to an unexpected opportunity.

As the number of applicants to organisations have increased over the years and information technology have become more adopted in human resource management, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are one of the technologies that have been embraced by organisations to manage their recruitment processes.

ATS are software applications used to process job applications submitted by candidates, they manage online job application forms, attached CVs, cover letters, credentials and other documents submitted by candidates. Some of them have now incorporated artificial intelligence to scan applications and CVs to recommend candidates to move to the next phase of consideration or interview in a recruitment process. This is why they are called robots.

The larger an organization, the more likely the organization uses an ATS due to the number of submissions they receive during their recruitment process. Most ATS scan CVs for relevant keywords on the candidate’s skills, educational background, and work experience.

Before your well-written CV grabs the attention of recruiters in an organization, getting past the ATS system is the first task. Following are tips to ensure that your CV works well with ATS:

Proper Formatting
ATS process texts. Therefore, the more plainly written your CV is, the faster and easier it is to process by ATS. Avoid the use of tables and graphics such as pictures, logos, shadings and symbols. in your CV. Use standard margins made available in document creation tools, use at least a font size of 11 of standard fronts, and take note of the format of submission recommended by the organisation. Most ATS find it easier to process Word documents as PDFs standards vary and can be more difficult to process.

Emphasize your Skills and Achievements
ATS use filters to recommend candidates for consideration in the recruitment process. These filters search for the availability of relevant skills to for a job in the CVs submitted by candidates. Power words such as “won”, “earned”, “improved” and more can be an indicator to the robot about the quality of the candidate. Therefore, it does not matter how long or beautifully styled your CV is, what is far more important is the quality of its content as it relates to the relevant skillsets you possess and their suitability to the job you are applying for.

Use the Right Keywords
Using the right keywords start from understanding the job description of the position you are applying for and tailoring your CV to it. Highlight your skills with words and phrases used to describe the ideal candidates for the role you are applying for in your CV. You can also use these keywords to describe your job functions in the work experience section of your CV. Don’t limit yourself to acronyms, but use spell out the full words ­– A Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree is an example. However, do not flood your CVs with keywords and jargons such that become inauthentic to a human reader during the recruitment process. 

Work on your Online Presence
Some ATS providers have offerings to search and assess the online presence of candidates. Therefore, make deliberate attempt to build a professional brand online. You can make dictate the narrative and make your online presence easier to find by putting adding links to your LinkedIn and website to your CV. You can read more about this in the section on building your online presence.

Leverage Networks
Several organisations use a referral system in their recruitment process. Having a recommendation from one of their staff can move your application up in the ATS stack or even bypass it entirely. It is therefore recommended that you reach out to professionals who may work directly or know someone who does in a company. This can help in advocating for you.

Remember the Humans
As with many technologies used in the workplace today, ATS doesn’t make the final decision on a candidate but only assist recruiters to do their jobs more efficiently. Therefore, bypassing an ATS is not a guarantee that you have secured a job, humans may re-evaluate your CV to be sure you haven’t tricked it. Present your CVs in a chronological format that makes your work experience easy to see or a functional format that puts a spotlight on your skills, depending on what your area of strength is for the job application. Also ensure that while the presentation of your CV is simple for ATS to read, it is also attractively well-laid out for human readers.

There are a number of online tools that can be helpful in developing, optimising and enhancing your CV. They range from simple CV builders, online presence development, to those leveraging artificial intelligence to providing   These tools include:

Grammarly
With Grammarly, you can eliminate writing errors and express yourself perfectly on your CVs by giving you real-time feedback as you write. You can also copy and paste your CV content to it. Beyond writing your CV and cover letter, Grammarly is a great tool for improving your writing.
Visit https://www.grammarly.com/

Novorèsumè and Ineedaresume
Novoresume and Ineedaresume provide online templates readily designed for use in creating your CV. Novoresume also has a content analyser to improve your resume content and suggests possible revisions to make it even better. It can help to present your CV in multiple languages which can be downloaded and shared with others.
Visit https://novoresume.com/ and https://ineedaresu.me

Resumeworded and Vmock
Resumeworded and Vmock are online tools developed with the knowledge of recruiters to score and review your resume and LinkedIn presence using Artificial Intelligence. They also have an scanning feature to test how ATS will process your CV. It gives you a personalized feedback and actionable steps to greatly improve your CV’s impact. It is simply a CV and online presence optimization tool.
Visit https://resumeworded.com/ and https://www.vmock.com/

Sumry.me
This tool lets you take a storytelling approach to building your CV. It sums up your skills, background and interests in a browsable sections such as your story, personality, skills and references. You can also add contact information and links to your other channels of online presence. It doesn’t just end there, you can decide to download your CV in PDF format in addition to the online version.
Visit https://sumry.me/

Jobalytics
Jobalytics is a chrome addon that helps you to analyse your CV and matches it to job postings on leading online job boards such as LinkedIn, Indeed and Monster.com. It instantly lets you know how you can make your CV stronger for it to get past ATS and increase your chance of getting an interview.
Visit https://www.jobalytics.co/

Here is a list questions to assess the readiness of your CV: 

  • Is the layout well-organised, attractive and inviting to read?
  • Does it feature relevant personal data?

     

  • Is the content targeted at the role you are applying for?

     

  • Are your skills featured as  relevant to the job/industry?

     

  • Does the CV demonstrate your transferable skills and competencies?

     

  • Is your education and relevant training featured to the job?

     

  • Has your CV been proofread for grammatically correctness?

     

  • Is it well formatted and well presented?

     

  • Is it trimmed to one or two pages or maximum of three as an experienced hire?

CV templates available for download and re-use include:

  • Graduate CV (for job applications) – View Online | Download
  • Graduate School CV (for postgraduate applications)
  • Experienced Professional CV (for job changers)

Cover Letters and Emails

Overview

A cover letter is a simple, concise and formal letter separately attached or within your email to accompany your CV when applying for a job. It provides an opportunity to introduce yourself in the context of the role you are applying for by building on essential information from your CV relating to the job opening you are seeking. The cover letter is a tool to help introduce yourself in a personal way and make a good impression during a job application.

Here are the things that will make your cover letter stand out:

  • Do a thorough research

You must research the company you are applying to before you draft a cover letter. Research helps you get a sense of the company’s culture. Also, you will be able to compare your skills with the requirements for the position.

Researching the company will help dictate the tone you want to use, which may differ greatly, from company to company and industry to industry. For example, the tone of your letter for a legal consulting firm will likely differ from a tech startup.

  • Tell a compelling story

Everyone loves a good story, and recruiters and hiring managers are no exception. Telling compelling stories from your career will make your cover letter unique and memorable for whoever reads it. The anecdotes in your story should serve multiple purposes in accomplishing a lot at once. It should highlight your top hard skills, competencies and specific experiences you want to share. Above all, it should highlight how those skills and experiences have been used.

  • Show how you can solve specific problems

Don’t just mention that you have amazing problem-solving skills. Explain the details of a particular problem you were key in solving and how exactly you employed your skills to solve it. Better yet, if you know the company has a specific problem you could help solve, outline how you can help solve it.

  • Be Honest

Lying on your cover letter is not in your best interest. Implying or stating that you have a skill that you don’t will backfire, so, don’t lie about your competence.

  • End with a call to action

End your letter with a reason for them to contact you. But don’t add remarks like, “I’ll call to schedule an interview.” This doesn’t make you a go-getter, it crosses a boundary. Instead, let the call to action be polite and open-ended, suggesting that you are excited to offer more information and that you’re looking forward to talking with them. 

  • Give your cover letter a unique visual format

A unique visual format for your cover letter can help you stand out from other candidates in a positive way. Just be sure that the unique format you use is appropriate for the company you’re applying to and its industry.  

  • Proofread your cover letter

Always proofread your cover letter for errors and have friends and family read through the cover letter.

When a cover letter is used
A popular question in the mind of many applicants is whether they are to write a cover letter or not. The answer to this question can sometimes be tricky, some job listing requests cover letters while some don’t. One thing to keep in mind is that you should add a cover letter when applying if the job opening that requires one. Even if the job description says “cover letter optional”, it is still advisable to write a great cover letter and attach it to your cv or resume.

Here are a few times you should use a cover letter while applying for a job:

  1. The job description requests or requires a cover letter even if it’s optional.
  2. Someone at the company said you could include their referral on your cover letter.
  3. The job demands writing and communication skills – this will give you a chance to show your skills.

Why should you add a cover letter?
Always keep in mind that competition is fierce for the best positions, so, writing and attaching a great cover letter to your application gives you an opportunity to impress the hiring team. If you’re serious about landing a particular job, cover letters are crucial. Your chances of getting a response from that job increase if you put some consideration into writing and submitting a cover letter.

Here is a list of questions to assess the readiness of your cover letter: 

  1. Does your cover letter have a strong opening paragraph, communicating your job target and key strengths within the first few lines of the text?
  2. Does your cover letter conform to a standard business letter format? 
  3. Is your cover letter addressed to a specific individual, if the name is available?
  4. Are your accomplishments highlighted?
  5. Is the content engaging and relevant to the job description?
  6. Is the cover letter succinct, containing just enough information to entice the reader to review your resume?
  7. Does your cover letter sound genuine? Does it reflect your personality and make you seem likeable and approachable?
  8. Did you proofread your cover letter to ensure it is grammatically correct, concise and clear?
  9. Do the writing style and design coordinate with the resume, such as by using the same font and layout style?
  10. Is it contained in one page (graduates) or a maximum of two pages (experienced professionals)?
  11. Did you provide an easy way for employers to contact you, such as a direct phone line and email address?
  12. Does your cover letter end with a call to action, confidently requesting an interview?

Here are other resources to read to help with your cover letter.

Portfolios

Overview

A portfolio is an extension of a CV organised as a document to showcase your work samples, projects undertaken, and accomplishments as a demonstration of your skills. It can also contain awards and recognitions, feedback and testimonials on your work, and brief notes on the project background, project owners and collaborators where necessary. Some portfolios have embedded in them CVs of the portfolio owner while others are only a collection of projects undertaken.

A growing practice is to include the weblink and QR code (of the weblink) to your portfolio on your CV or cover letter – especially when the employer, funder or collaborator is highly interested in your project experience. There are specialised portfolios such as Behance for designers, Github for programmers, and SoundCloud for musicians. The best portfolios are a collection of your work made publicly available.

Here is a list of things that makes up a professional portfolio in no particular order:

  • Biographical information.
    This section is a great spot to show off your personality and build a relationship with clients or potential employers. Talk about your professional background, experience, and successes while also including a few details from your personal life. It’s not necessary to include your entire life narrative in your bio, but a few things that give potential clients a glimpse of who you are will be wonderful.

  • Skills and Abilities.
    What distinguishes you from other candidates for employment is your skill set – what you can do. Include any technical or hard skills relevant to your work, but you should also think about emphasizing your soft skills. For instance, if you’re a web developer, it goes without saying that you should mention your expertise in web development or particular programming languages.

  • Work samples.
    Showcasing your best works or projects is an excellent way of proofing your skills and how you can bring value to your clients or employers. You may include samples that demonstrate a variety of your skills whenever possible. The samples could be in the form of projects, articles, reports, brochures, or presentations, depending on the sector of the economy you work in.

  • Education/Certifications/Professional Development.
    Add your educational qualifications and professional certifications you have acquired over the years – this will further prove your credibility and competence. Also, mention any professional training you have received that is relevant to the position you’re applying for or your career paths, such as webinars, workshops, seminars, or other events. Adding professional development show employers that you’re interested in learning and enthusiastic about your career.
  • Curate your portfolio materials

Curate all necessary information and materials you’ll need for your portfolio as written in the essentials of a portfolio section. These include your biography/professional summary, skills and abilities, work samples, educational/professional certifications, professional developments, high-quality pictures, links to your social pages, contact information, etc.

  • Select the tool to use

There are a number of tools you can use to create your portfolio, and the steps or guidelines to creating one vary across those platforms. You can use Microsoft Powerpoint, Apple Keynote and other presentation applications. You can also use Canva, Photoshop, Coreldraw and other design applications. These tools can help you to create a print or PDF version of your portfolio. You can also use several online platforms for creating e-portfolios that are accessible on the internet. Most sites have a ready-made template you can use and edit to your taste to make your portfolio stand out.

  • Make your Portfolio visually appealing

Ensure you select a design template that will appeal to your audience (clients or employers). It entails selecting a good, friendly and interactive design. Ensure the contents are well-arranged – sort all your information into categories and put them in a precise, easy-to-follow sequence.

You can learn more here and here.

Here are some tools or platforms to build your portfolio:

Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, Photoshop, CorelDraw and Canva. It is recommended that you create a PDF version of your portfolio and make them available online so that you can also share the link.

For online portfolio creation, you can use: Google Sites, FolioTek, FolioSpaces, Weebly, OPResume, Wix, Behance (Designers) and GitHub (for programmers).

You can download this template for general use.

For specialised portfolios, you can visit the following links:

https://www.getresponse.com/blog/online-portfolio-examples

https://www.glorialo.design/

https://www.hostinger.com/tutorials/web-developer-portfolio

Checklist

Here is a list of questions to assess the readiness of your project portfolio:

  1. Is the design and layout, and table of contents properly done?
  2. Is the outline describing the entire collection and its sections properly articulated?
  3. Is the list of skills and capabilities (Resume) included?
  4. Is the introduction to each sample concise, focused and clear? 
  5. Is the creation of each project properly stated (e.g., project description, inspiration, programs/software used, credits etc.)
  6. Does it contain your best work?
  7. Does the portfolio pop, is it aesthetically pleasing?
  8. Does it Include your identifying information and contact details on every page?

Online Presence

Overview

An online presence is a collective impression a person or organization makes online, which can be found through an online search. This is often a combination of a person’s presence on social and professional media channels, blogs, websites, forums and features on websites owned by other individuals and organizations.

Social and professional platforms, individual blogs and websites, forum accounts, and other online presences are no longer just for you; as recruiters become more tech-savvy and are looking up potential employees’ online footprint, it is crucial for any student considering an employment career to have a strong, professional-looking online presence. Your online presence can leave a good or bad impression, even before a prospective employer or professional meets you.

Here are a few tips to create a great and healthy online presence

  • Google yourself
    Make sure to Google yourself right now if you haven’t in recent months. Use an incognito tab and a web browser that you don’t typically use to search. Pay close attention to what appears on the first page of the search results as a job seeker because prospective employers and clients will do the same. Your social media accounts will likely appear on the first page of search results if you don’t have a very common name, so make sure you’re completely comfortable with whatever you share on social media.

  • Establish Accounts in Multiple Places
    You should reevaluate your internet presence if it is solely Facebook/Instagram-based. It is not a professional network, and having an account here rather than, say, LinkedIn, suggests that you are more concerned with personal issues than professional ones. To boost your name, consider additional social media platforms such as Behance, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Tumblr.

  • Keep Your Online Presence Consistent with Your Profession.
    Some social media are better suited than others for particular professions. Accounts on Pinterest or Flickr will work perfectly if you’re a designer, photographer, or artist. Not that much if you’re a lawyer. Do a quick research on what platform suit your profession and harness such platform to your advantage.

  • Optimise your profiles.
    It’s crucial that anyone who stumbles across your page can recognize you right away and be able to understand your brand, hence the need to optimise your profiles. The word “optimisation” can imply a lot of work but it is simple and essential to make your profile stand out on social media. A social media page with a half-finished bio and information and poor pictures won’t gain much traction compared to a well-optimised page. Ensure to fill every part of your profile with the necessary information, high-quality pictures/videos, well-written content, etc as this contributes to the traction your profile gets.

  • Enjoy in Moderation–Control your Content
    As exciting and entertaining as it may be to use social media to develop your brand and increase visibility, the secret to maintaining a healthy online presence is to set time limits and pay attention to the information you publish/post, like, and even how you comment on other’s post. Before you jump on a trend, always think of its impact on your brand and what it will communicate to visitors. Recruiters might go beyond your well-optimised LinkedIn page/ porLinkedInor even your blog and check your social media interactions – ensure to always leave a good impression.

Here is a list of questions to assess your online presence:

  1. Can you easily find your profile when you Google your full name?
  2. Do you have any of the following social media accounts – Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Instagram?
  3. Will you be comfortable with the content associated with your account when searched for by a recruiter?
  4. Do you have informational content on your online pages?
  5. Are your contact details and about available on your blog/medium account?
  6. Are your social media accounts name correctly?
  7. Are your content and images consistent across all social media platforms?
  8. Are your profiles well-optimised to be attractive to employers?
  9. Do you have a customised LinkedIn Url?

Interviews

Overview

The job consideration process includes an important phase called an interview. The interview gives the employer the opportunity to ascertain whether an applicant’s qualifications, background, and personality match those of the position, and it also helps the applicants to know more about the role, and the company. 

The interview stage allows the employer or hiring manager to assess whether an applicant would likely fit in with the organisation’s culture. It also allows an applicant to ask questions or clarify doubts or questions raised by the hiring manager that stems from their experience, qualification or CV, Cover Letter, and other application documents.

  • Research the Company
    Spend a couple of hours gathering as much information as you can on the company from as many sources as you can – this will help you know more about the values, and vision of the company. You can also reach out to current and former employees of the company through LinkedIn to learn about the work culture and ask for a few tips that may be of help to you during the interview.

  • Learn everything you can about the job role
    Knowing what the interviewer is looking for in a candidate is necessary before you can impress them with your knowledge and experience. Most companies have a list of what they’re looking for in a candidate, so go back to the description you used before you applied. These are the things you should highlight in your interview.

  • Practice Possible Interview Questions
    Search for general and technical interview questions that align with the role you’re applying for and make a list of those. Begin rehearsing your answers to them once you’ve jotted down all of the questions you’ll likely be asked during the interview. You will feel more at ease throughout the interview if someone else is asking the questions.

  • Learn to Introduce yourself
    Oftentimes, to start conversations in an interview, the hiring manager asks the applicant to tell them about themselves. You must be able to introduce and interestingly present yourself – You can do this by telling a unique story that captures your growth as an individual and why you choose your career path or why you’re passionate about the job you applied for. This will make interviewers relate with you better rather than the formal “I am passionate, courageous, etc.” format.

  • Good Communication and Body Language
    Whether it’s an online or physical interview, one of the most crucial things a hiring manager or team looks at is your communication skills and body language. Always approach the interview session as a two-way conversation and make your responses direct, honest, and concise. Avoid using jargon or giving out the wrong body language while you speak or listen in an interview. It is okay to ask the interviewer to rephrase questions if you are unsure about what is being asked during an interview.

  • Ask Question(s)
    Do you have any questions for me/us? is how most interviews end, and you should have some questions to ask. This is the part where you get to ask questions that are pertinent to the position and business. You can write down your questions ahead of time and tick the ones that have been addressed as you discuss them during the interview – you can raise the rest of your questions at the end of the interview.

Here’s a list of questions to check your interview (virtual and physical) readiness:

  1. Have you researched the company?
  2. Have you googled or searched LinkedIn for the profile of the company’s hiring manager?
  3. Have you studied to understand the job role?
  4. Do you have an idea of the relevant skills needed for the role?
  5. Do you know how to get to the company’s location?
  6. Can you introduce yourself in one minute?
  7. Can you communicate how your skills fit the job role?
  8. Do you have follow-up questions for your interviewer?
  9. Do you know the dress code for the company you’re interviewing with?
  10. Do you have formal wear for a physical interview?
  11. Do you have a good internet connection?
  12. Does your device have a good camera that can show your face well?
  13. Does your device’s mic sound well?

Briefs and Concept Notes

Overview

Briefs, similar to an Executive Summary, are one-page documents that provide concise information on an idea or proposed project. This could be a business venture, research work, or initiative. A concept note is a summarized document written by an innovator, researcher, or mobilizer to communicate the key ideas of a project to decision-makers. This can typically span two to five pages.

These documents provide an outline of an idea or project to get support in funding, collaboration and any other form. In addition to conveying the thoughts of its author, it also aids clarity for the author.

Though Briefs and Concept Notes are usually written to an audience of decision makers, the first benefit it offers is that it helps an innovator to clarify and articulate her thoughts on an idea or project before committing resources to it. 

Potential areas of complexity to communicate can be an early indication on the complexity of information. Therefore, helping the innovator to streamline and focus on the simplest means through which the project objectives can be achieved.

The need to provide succinct and concise information helps an innovator to priorotise and select the most important ideas on a project for communication with decision makers and potential partners.

It also helps decision makers to quickly assess if a project is in alignment with their interests before an innovator commits a substantial level of resources into projects with an expectation of support. Some may provide feedback on how the project can be tailored to their interests which are more easily implemented if provided before the project.

  1. Is the concept note appropriately titled?
  2. Does the introduction or ‘background’ of the project clearly state the problem you are trying to solve?
  3. Are the goals and objectives clearly stated?
  4. Are the expected results clearly stated?
  5. Is the uniqueness of the idea highlighted?
  6. Is the budget properly stated?
  7. Is the document concluded with the desired call-to-action?

Business Plans and Pitch Decks

Overview

A business plan is a written document that describes in detail how your business or startup will achieve its objectives for product development, service delivery, marketing, sales and profitability. It provides a well-thought and researched roadmap for entrepreneurs to communicate to bankers and investors a feasible path to the profitability of their business.

A pitch deck provides a snapshot of the essential information about a company. This may include the company’s product, team, market size, and traction. For a majority of startup investors, the pitch deck is the first document in evaluating a startup they are considering investing in.

A business plan checklist includes:

  1. Is your business properly described?
  2. Is the problem you are trying to solve articulated?
  3. Is your solution to the problem stated?
  4. Who is your target market and how large is it?
  5. What is your competitive advantage? 
  6. How will your product get to your customers (will it be directly, or via a storefront, distributors, or a website?)
  7. What marketing activities will you use to attract customers?
  8. What is your business model (what are your revenue streams?)
  9. What are your starting costs? 
  10. Are your primary goals and milestones stated?
  11. Who is on your management team and what people do you want to hire to help you launch your business?
  12. Who and what are the partners and resources you need to help you launch?

A pitch deck checklists include:

  1. What problem are you trying to solve? a description of the problem and how the company solves it – concept & key elements
  2. What does the company do, for whom and why it’s compelling? 
  3. Who are your Key Players: founders, key team members, and key advisors, with industry backgrounds and expertise?
  4. What is the market Opportunity: market size, growth characteristics, segmentation?
  5. Who are your competitors?
  6. What is your Go-To-Market Strategy? 
  7. What are the stages of development? product development, customer acquisition, partner relationships
  8. What are the critical risks and challenges? 
  9. What are your financial projections?
  10. What are the funding requirements: how much, what the company will use it for, and what milestones it expects to hit?

Proof of Concept and Prototypes

Overview

When you come up with a brilliant idea, it is advised that you first prove that your idea is practical, useful, and commercially viable, thereby worthy of your investment in resources and that of others. A Proof of Concept is a piece of evidence that this idea can be technically implemented to deliver its intended benefits.

A Proof of Concept can be a prototype for physical products (as a design or tangible object), minimum viable products (MVPs) in software, and pilots for sizeable projects. For large-scale projects, it is important to uncover their prospects of success and the conditions that will be required. A feasibility study helps to make this assessment and can be extended further to estimate the resources and timeline that will be required for the success of a project. The best feasibility studies are those that are not only theoretical but also put into use a Proof of Concept.

For visual representation of products, graphical tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and CorelDraw.

For physical products, they can be designed with CAD Software such as AutoCAD, Revitt and Solidworks. Your design can be produced and replicated with 3D printers.

For software, web and mobile apps, you can use tools such as: Balsamiq, Figma, Sketch and Visio. To develop the applications, you can start with low to no-code tools such as Bubble, Microsoft PowerApps, and Mendix.

Included in the checklist of an appropriate feasibility study are:

  1. Is there an existing clear need for the product or solution?
  2. Can you find quantitative (data) evidence or qualitative evidence (real stories of people) to support this need?
  3. Is there any effort by those affected to meet this need? 
  4. Do you have the resources needed to make the product or have a means to access these resources?
  5. Is the cost of developing the product/producing the product affordable to the payers?
  6. Do you have the personal capacity or someone you can team up with to develop a prototype?
  7. Is there a willing payer for the solution you are providing? Either by those who will be using the solution directly or another person or group connected or interested in them?
  8. Can you generate revenue or profit that can sustain your continual development of the solution?