Yay! I got into Heirs Holdings as a Graduate Trainee. I mean, I’m going to work in Tony Elumelu’s organisation and I’ll probably see him physically. I’ll be chilling with the big boys. For the first six months, I’ll be undergoing both classroom training and on the job training in different subsidiaries across different functional areas. Let’s take it back to a few years earlier.
Nigeria’s unemployment rate has been on the increase for over a decade now so it’s definitely not a secret amongst young individuals. Even before the end of my university education, I was already thinking of organisations I could work in, what my career path would be like and praying for a miracle job, lol. The fear of unemployment is the beginning of wisdom.
I discovered that Graduate Trainee Programmes were my best bet in getting into a good company and building my career since I had little or no experience. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic delayed my NYSC and career by a whole year, I eventually served my country, and it was a great experience. A month before the end of my NYSC, I drafted my CV and was able to highlight the little work experiences I had gotten. For example, I had actively worked with an NGO in my secondary school and successfully executed two projects.
I knew about Tony Elumelu Foundation but not Heirs Holdings, so when I saw the advert for the graduate trainee programme, I applied because I heard it was a good company. Fortunately, I was invited for an online aptitude test, which I did and passed. Shortly after, I underwent an assessment which required me to create a power point presentation and trust me, I was quite nervous. I had not done a PowerPoint presentation alone. With the size of my class in the University (over 200 students), all projects involving PowerPoint presentations were done in groups, so it made sense to just assign the creation of the PowerPoint to those who had learned it professionally or were just good at it, leaving the data gathering and actual presentation to me. Well, that wasn’t an excuse, so I went to YouTube and quickly learnt how to do a PowerPoint presentation.
The Assessment consisted of 3 stages; the PowerPoint presentation, group exercise and competency-based interview, all of which were done virtually. I had really prepared for the assessment and at the end of my PowerPoint presentation, I was commended by my interviewers. During my competency-based interview, I could also tell that my answers were well received so overall, it was an exciting experience.
The first mail sent by Heirs Holdings stated that the entire recruitment process would last for 4 to 5 weeks. When I got the mail for the Assessment, barely 2 weeks after writing the test and with the positive feedback I got, I was looking forward to a favorable reply.
Unfortunately, it took longer than that to get any sort of information after the Assessment. I sent a mail to find out what was going on with the recruitment process but I didn’t get a reply. Although I had been quite confident, the delay in getting a response affected this confidence, then I found out that a friend who also did the assessment had been sent a mail to upload some documents. I felt bad, which is normal but I was in the final stages of the recruitment process of several other companies so that was some form of consolation. Almost two weeks later, I got a mail from Heirs Holdings to upload some of my documents and I was ecstatic but after this it was radio silence again. Again, I found out that this same friend had been sent a congratulatory mail and an offer letter to resume the next Monday, another disappointment. I mean, if I hadn’t passed the Assessment I wouldn’t have been told to upload my documents. What could have been the problem? Where did I fall short? So many questions running through my head with no one to answer them but as an optimistic person, I just concluded that maybe it wasn’t meant to be.
I was wrong, it was meant to be. I got a call from Heirs Holdings congratulating me on successfully getting into the Heirs Holdings graduate trainee programme. I was asked to go for my medicals that same day or the next day and then resume the next week. Imagine my reaction, dazed would be the right word to use. I was so surprised that I replied saying “Congratulations to you too” after I was congratulated, lol. From this point onwards, everything was fast-paced and the rest as they say was history.
Just kidding, there’s no way I’m skipping the juicy parts. The inaugural ceremony was attended by very knowledgeable and successful people. Guess what, Tony Elumelu himself addressed us and said that he was looking forward to producing CEOs from the graduate trainee programme with 5-10 years. Yes, in 5-10 years I’m definitely becoming a CEO. The event ended with cocktail party; it was truly memorable.
For the classroom training, different subsidiaries of Heirs Holdings came to enlighten us about their companies, what they do, their growth and challenges, their vision and people and many more vital information. This session opened my eyes to the possibilities in the group, we had a panel interview with young professionals in the group and it was so encouraging. I was and am still motivated by their various stories and successes.
The core values of Heirs Holdings: Enterprise, Execution and Excellence were and are still being imbibed in us. Every facilitator had infused the core values into their presentation. It’s amazing how in tune everyone is with the vision of improving lives and transforming Africa, you could tell that they truly believe in the philosophy of Africapitalism..
Now, I’m currently with the Partnerships and Policy department of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. It’s a journey that started a few days ago but I’m pumped to work with the team. Everyone has been so helpful, and the work has just begun.
One great thing about this training and Heirs Holdings is the food. I mean, who doesn’t like to eat? The quality of meals is amazing, breakfast is also great. Did I mention that there were also spontaneous gifts given out by the facilitators, either generally or to winners of some exercises? A good example would be when Somachi ordered crispy creme doughnuts when a good number of the class admitted to not have heard about the brand. Chilling right?
At Heirs Holdings we work hard and play harder. As you can guess, I’m definitely looking forward to the playing harder.
~ Author: Opeyemi Ayodeji
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