Africa is home to some of the fastest developing economies and up-and-coming global leaders, as Ivy Phoebe Akumu ’15, an economics major, knows. This summer, Akumu is a corporate business intern with the Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd. (CBA), one of East Africa’s largest privately owned banks. Her internship is located in Upper Hill, Nairobi, Kenya, and is sponsored through the Summer Internship Support Fund.
Using the online search portal, African Careers Network, which was established in 2012 by the African Leadership Academy (ALA), Akumu discovered her internship and, after revising her cover letter and resume with help from the Career Center, decided to apply.
The ALA was established in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, “a $500 million, 10-year initiative to educate and prepare young people – particularly from Africa – to lead change and make a positive social impact in their communities,” as the organization’s site describes.
At CBA, Akumu assists her supervisor with credit analysis, portfolio assessment and management, as well as developing and maintaining relationships. She plays a critical role in the creditworthiness appraisal process of corporate clients, by deriving account statistics from internal and peripheral bank statements. She has also gained experience in financial spreading, which she described as “breaking down a client’ financial statements into more analyzable and readable data, such as percentages and ratios.”
Akumu also prepares credit proposals for the executive committee of the bank, “incorporating financial analysis of the data generated from financial spreading to assess the creditworthiness of particular clients and their risk to CBA if the bank decides to offer them credit facilities such as loans and overdrafts,” she explained.
Some of these clients will default, Akumu said, so she “[assists] in monitoring account activities of potential defaulters by drawing up a summary of their daily account transactions and cash movements.” Most, however, will not default, leaving Akumu to prepare call reports, “which are summary reports about site visits and meetings between clients and their relationship managers.”
Drawing on her experience at CBA, Akumu said that, “in corporate banking, one major factor of success is keeping abreast with macroeconomic changes as well as having working knowledge of various industries. Exposure to such volumes of information and insight is not only fascinating but also keeps you challenged and offers you room to make better judgments in investment, networking and career growth.”
Akumu has “broadened [her] knowledge of banking parlance and policies both within and outside of Kenya.” She revealed that, “networking holds the depth of wealth and success, because colleagues will be quick and willing to assist, and clients will often bring business in the form of acquiring more credit facilities under their portfolios if you maintain good relations with them.”
After graduating next spring, Akumu plans to pursue an MBA in management consulting or banking, or a doctorate of law.
Ivy Phoebe Akumu is from Nairobi, Kenya and is a graduate of the African Leadership Academy in Gauteng, South Africa.