Summer associate 2021
My long-term career ambition has always been to work for an organisation playing a meaningful role in Africa’s development. Actis’ summer associate programme provided me with an opportunity to work with a well-respected investor on the continent, and to gain experience within an asset class that is a key economic building block serving all segments of society.
At Actis no one size fits all. I had the opportunity to work closely with various team members valued for their diverse background, education, experience and expertise. Personally, I read for a MA (Hons) in Economics with Finance from the University of Edinburgh and recently completed the Masters in Finance programme at London Business School. My early career was predominantly in corporate and investment banking at a leading pan – African bank. The summer associate programme provided me with an opportunity to leverage this experience whilst working in a highly engaging, fast-paced yet collegiate environment.
In terms of recruitment, I was able to attend Actis’ presentation at London Business School and appreciated the opportunity to learn more about Actis and the Africa Energy Infrastructure team. Throughout the application process, I found myself inspired by the passion and dedication demonstrated by the interviewers. At the final stage I was fortunate to have an interview with the Head of Africa for the Energy Infrastructure team and hear about her experience and key focus areas for the team.It was her vision for the team that stood out and ultimately led me to accept my offer to join the team as a summer associate.
During my time over the summer, I was most thankful for the high exposure to different opportunities. I had a personalised work plan and – from the onset – the team involved me in various live transactions, where I was able to contribute meaningfully by owning important deliverables for my assigned workstreams.Day-to-day, the team was highly conscious that I was starting during the pandemic, and made sure that I felt engaged and included in all activities, maintaining a frequent level of communication.
The summer associate programme team was also able to respond to the ever-evolving global COVID situation to deliver a best-in-class summer associate programme. They were able to assist in my home office set up, facilitated virtual training sessions, organised coffee chats with various professionals and guru sessions with partners across the globe. Guru sessions were a summer highlight. The sessions could be likened to fireside chats where we were able to garner insights into the partners’ professional experiences to date and thoughts on various topics.
Through Actis Acts, the firm’s foundation for supporting charitable activities, we were able to engage with management teams of portfolio companies to identify any possible projects that could benefit from funding. We were tasked with working with other associates to select one project to draft a funding proposal for. I was partnered up with a summer associate from the Sao Paulo office with whom I prepared and presented a proposal on the implementation of a basic healthcare system for the community surrounding Eolicas Babilonia, 137 MW wind farm in Northern Brazil to the Actis Acts Board of Trustees. This was a great opportunity to work with other associates, interact with senior leadership (outside of direct investment teams) and most importantly leave a positive, sustainable impact on the communities surrounding Actis’ investments.
Once COVID restrictions were lifted, we had the opportunity to finally meet in person at various scheduled events across London where we could interact with fellow summer associates, team members and key stakeholders across the organisation. Social highlights included kicking off the summer on Madison’s rooftop terrace taking in views of St Pauls and London’s skyline; drinks and canapés at the Four Seasons penthouse and lastly attending a cruise on the Silver Sturgeon along the Thames River – a spectacular way to end the summer!
All in all, Actis’ summer associate programme was a truly rewarding experience and provided unparalleled insights into investing in Africa. I appreciated the support and efforts made to retain the culture and learning opportunities despite the pandemic restrictions, and look forward to joining the team in a permanent role.Contact Us