10 questions with Manasseh Egedegbe on Blogging

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[Ed. note: We’re taking a break from the usual format of guest posts to include Q&A posts such as these. This is the first in the series and is a conversation that Ayodeji Adewunmi from Jobberman had with Manasseh Egedegbe, Senior Investment Analyst & Assistant Portfolio Manager at First City Monument Bank]

It’s a story of personal branding at its best, if you are reading this post, it’s story of how a young professional got hired from blogging right here in Nigeria. It’s not safe to assume social media has no role it plays in hiring or recruiting. Believe it or not, Social Media (Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook or Blogs) is more than a platform to let your friends know where you travelled to in December. When used correctly, social media helps you paint a clear of yourself to employers and clients, demonstrate your understanding of your field and promote yourself to people who can open doors to your future.

Manasseh got hired away by First City Group 1.5 years ago while blogging as a Guest Contributor at StockMarketNigeria.com. He is a registered Medical Doctor with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and an Alumnus of the Obafemi Awolowo University. Today, Manasseh is one of the most respected Investment Analysts in Nigeria.

So when Manasseh offered to do an interview with me, I jumped at the chance because I wanted him to share his remarkable story.

Here is the interview:

Q: I just finished doing some research on you via multiple sources and it all pointed to you as one of the most respected Investment Analysts in Nigeria. What’s your reaction?

A: That’s incredible. I don’t think I am, not yet. I am still on the learning curve currently a candidate in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams. I have barely spent one and a half years in the industry. But to be less modest there are certain institutional investors both foreign and local who depend heavily on some of my analysis of the Nigerian economy, sector and equity/debt/money market investment vehicles.

Q: You have completely undergone a career transition. Tell me a bit about the challenge of moving away from practising Medicine and ending up being an Investment Banker. It sounds like an out-of-the-body experience…

A: It is indeed an out of body experience. Wait a minute! What does that mean really? Newton’s first law of motion says that any body that is stationary tends to stay that way until a force is applied to move it and any one that is moving will also need a force to stop it. It was very difficult leaving the medical profession I must confess but all the odds were stacked against me and I had no choice. I must tell you the truth, it is a very long story that started right from my third year in medical school and it was a very gradual process until it reached its crescendo at the tail end of my internship year. I practically got fed up of the way things were in the medical profession and I either had to leave it or leave the country. I chose the former.

Q: Let’s talk more about the career move. How did you end up blogging for StockMarketNigeria? How long did you do that? Tell us about the experience

A: I was introduced to StockMarketNigeria by a friend during internship, the period when I really went deep into investments. I started by just registering and reading comments on the blogs. I learned how to do simple valuations on the blog and my interest was piqued. I simply loved it, it was something I could do all day without eating. I was in my element, I was myself and time always seemed to fly when I was at it. I started contributing actively at the beginning of my service year in November 2007. I went for a few seminars by Ayo Arowolo and it really opened my eyes to stuff I had no idea of. I still contribute actively on StockMarketNigeria and I love it and the challenges. There are so very many fantastic people with a wealth of experience that I learn from there.

Q: What do you think interested First City Group in coming for you?

A: My CV. I met someone on StockMarketNigeria who was shocked to know that I was a medical doctor and was doing a career shift. She asked for my CV and she sent it to her friends in First City Group and two other investment houses. I got a call for interview and I met my present boss there and I made up my mind that I was going to work with him. I guess it was “like” at first sight. He said the passion in me was just too much and that he had talked to some other guys who claim to have several years experience in investment banking but they had no clue of half of what I knew. I was requested to come back for another interview (where the real investment analysis was to be discussed) but unfortunately I got there late because I had to leave Ife to Lagos on the same day. My boss refused to see me and well, I refused to go. I sat at the reception and then one other guy who was supposed to interview me with him saw me there. He called me into the meeting room and said he would love to talk to me because he loved the analysis I did on a company that I sent to them that I was supposed to defend. He said I will have to prove myself. I think I must have done that because he recommended me highly to my boss and he even told me he was really impressed.

Next thing I knew I was called by HR to resume work as an equity analyst. All the formalities of having to do a third round of interview with the head of investment banking group was skipped.

Q: What are the key lessons from this career transition?

A: Passion and love for what you do will always, always stand you out.

Q: Ok, let’s talk about you personality now. I just think you are different, right from been your Junior in Medical School, I have always been dazzled by your knowledge of IT (seriously). How many programming skills do you understand?

A: Laughs. Java, Javascript, HTML, SQL and Linux.

Q: Back then, I almost always spot you carrying a book. What is your palate like (Fiction vs Non-fiction)? How many books do you do a year? How many books have you read so far?

A: Of course I always carried books around both fiction and not fiction and my notes. Never textbooks. I hated textbooks with a passion. Before I entered the financial industry I read about 24 – 30 books a year but ever since I got here, I have cut it down to about 2 – 3 because of the CFA exams and work.

Q: Blogging has change your life. What are some ways to use Blogging to get a job? Any other tips for using Blogging for first-timers?

A: Sincerely, I have never thought of that. When I blogged, I did it for the fun of it not to get a job. I will say I was just fortunate. But my tip would be get interested in what you love and just do it. Get all the knowledge you can and attach yourself to an online group of like minds in the country you reside. Somehow your passion and the skills you have developed will find you out. When you have something in you that create value the heavens will put you in a place where you will create the value. Water always finds its level. When a bottle filled with hot air keeps increasing in pressure a time will come when it will burst and the world will take note. So keep building that pressure.

Q: On Investment, what makes an investment high quality?

A: High investment quality depends on the entity. For pension funds and other entities that have liquidity needs, a high quality investment will be the one that provides a steady stream of cash flow that will meet that need. For a young chap that just started their career a high quality investment will be the one that grows in value rapidly over time without paying anything out. In summary, anyway, what we do as investment analysts is to discover investments that are selling below their real value and are likely to stay around for a very long time or for the specified time required. I hope I have not complicated things.

Q: Finally, I must say you have done pretty well for a 31 year old. You have been staying and working in Lagos for a while now, what is so magical about Lagos that you simply love?

A: Lagos. I don’t like Lagos. The problem is I love what I do more than I detest Lagos or I would have shipped out of Lagos a long time ago.

Thanks

Manasseh blogs at http://myequitymarket.blogspot.com

Lola Olakeye