My NextGen Experience – Ola

Saying goodbye has always been difficult for me. Growing up, I avoided connecting with people on a deep level because I never wanted to be in the position to say goodbye at some point. Leaving AFG has come with mixed feelings. I remember my first day in the company just like yesterday.  

On the 10th Feb 2020, I took my first step into Management consulting, a totally different path from my previous job. The first thing that struck me was the red-themed office, which seemed really bold and endearing. It was easy to see how AFG was a people company as everyone was welcoming and offered to make my experience in the firm unforgettable one way or the other. 

It did not take me long to settle in. I found myself in an environment where I had to quickly process information and constantly challenge my thinking. My first few PS (problem solving) sessions were the worst. None of my contributions were taken and I became even more stunned at how members of the team were able to come up with intelligent ideas on the spot. This gave me sleepless nights. I found myself reading several management consulting books and watching a lot of tutorials online. In summary, I did my 10,000 hours! After this, I took on several projects to apply my new skills and continue challenging myself. 

I would never forget the time I got my first co-sign. I was building a deck with one of the partners and I had just sent in my deliverable. 2hrs went by and I had not gotten feedback so I followed up. The response I got back from the partner marked the beginning of a new era in my career. The partner had shared the deck with the client and did not think we needed to change anything. In other words, my deck was the bomb and it could not get any better. 

This was how I learnt my first lesson at AFG; Never Give Up. Knowing this and my new found confidence led me to take on bigger challenges. Over the past 2 years, I have been exposed to a wide variety of people all over the world, opening up endless opportunities for my development. AFG has made me believe that anything is possible if you are willing to dream crazy, have an air tight plan and be disciplined enough to follow that plan. 

As I take on the next step in my journey to contribute to Africa’s development, I would continue to embody AFG’s values and carry on the lessons I have learnt. As we build the continent together, I want us to always remember this; “vitória é certa”, which means Victory is certain. AFG is just getting started and the growth is going to be astronomical. 

I want to use this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed directly or indirectly to “Project Ola”. Till we meet again friends, family and loved ones 🙂 

My NextGen Experience – Kwabena

“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” – Abraham Maslow

I was in search of a new experience – something challenging, meaningful and intentional about Africa. I wanted something that wasn’t going to limit me to one business function. I wanted the opportunity to do different things every day so when I read about the AFG NextGen Business Analyst Program, I knew it was the right fit for me. Cross-functional training? Working on multiple projects with different teams? Building African businesses into global champions? – sign me up! This was exactly what I was looking for and that is how my AFG journey began.

The application process was more rigorous than I was used to, involving multiple stages: providing information & responding to situational questions, a timed case assessment, a live video case interview and two interviews with members of the management team. As you can imagine, each stage got tougher. The entire process was a learning experience for me, as I discovered more about management consulting and what it takes to solve business problems.

The two months of training was holistic, building on skills like problem solving, communication, research, being an effective team player, networking and leadership, among others. I had the opportunity to work in different teams with members of my cohort (5 amazing people!) and also support the core team on a couple of engagements. The training was intensive, but the opportunity to put into practice what we were learning made the content easy to absorb. One of the things I enjoyed most was Friday trainings, where we engaged with top African business leaders and also had fun after work – We worked hard and played hard!

Three things I love about AFG so far: the people I work with, the projects I work on and the progress I am making in my professional life. At AFG, I have the opportunity to work alongside talented and brilliant people who inspire and challenge me to give off my best. All the projects I have worked on have been exciting and full of learning opportunities. There has been immense progress in my professional development ever since I joined, from an increase in responsibilities to building new skills.

Overall, the NextGen experience has been fruitful and worthwhile. If you are looking for a challenge, are passionate about Africa’s development and are conscious about creating positive impact, AFG is the place for you.

My NextGen Experience – Megan

As I reminisce about my NextGen experience, which began just over a year ago, I remember the excitement, anxiousness & hope rushing through my mind all at once. The excitement of spending 6 weeks in a new country where I would receive training in a field, I had always dreamed of working in, anxious about starting a new role and hopeful at the mere thought of making an impact within Africa. 

Post a total of 4 interview rounds, I finally found myself, alongside 3 of my South African colleagues, a part of AFG’s third NexGen cohort. We travelled to Ghana for a six-week training programme where we got first-hand training & insight as to what it takes to be part of a dynamic team helping to build Africa. We spent our days encapsulating the knowledge from the different training sessions led by AFG’s leadership and other experienced foresighters and we spent our evenings and weekends exploring the region, laughing ourselves silly and having deep meaningful conversations about our lives, experiences and what keeps us up at night.  

Shortly after I returned to SA when the training came to an end, I was staffed on my first engagement – an organizational design mission for one of Nigeria’s fastest growing FinTechs. The rest is history.  

I had always identified myself as a generalist – mostly because my curiosity has never aided in my ability to narrow down a single segment of speciality, and boy has this experience fuelled my curious streak beyond measure! 

Over and above facilitating various growth opportunities, the greatest experience AFG has facilitated for me would be the opportunity to work alongside various foresighters from dynamic academic backgrounds, walks of life and experience thresholds. My interaction from each and every team member has equipped me with skills and experiences that I will carry along with me for the rest of my career. 

As Marianne Williamson once said, “our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us” – stronger together we are, and together we will continue to shine our light and uplift our continent that is Africa.

My NextGen Experience – Marilyn

“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” – Abraham Maslow

When I saw the call for applications for the NextGen program, I was at a point where I felt almost stuck in terms of my career path. I had just done about a year in my role as administrative assistant which taught me a lot about myself. I could see a lot of problems and I could equally see a lot of opportunity those problems brought however, I had no idea how to start to solve those problems or which direction to go because I was in a role which gave me eagle eye view of the business. Fast forward some few weeks into the year 2020 where countries were on lockdown and businesses were crumbling, a good friend shared with me the AFG NextGen training program link which I decided to have a look at. Seeing the scope of the program was an eureka moment for me, because it was a training program to provide me with key skillsets I need to become a better problem-solver and provide business solutions to African businesses looking to grow and become globally competitive. I loved that, I went through the application process and here I am today, part of the 2nd cohort of AFG’s NextGen program.

The NextGen program is a yearlong business analyst training program that seeks to better the talent pool of young Africans and equip them to become top business analysts. Through this program, I have been privy to learn so much about the consulting industry and most importantly providing business solutions. I have received a wealth of knowledge and experience through the trainings and have been staffed on real-life missions for clients. We call all client work “missions”; “because project is just too boring and we are on a mission to deliver the best solutions to our clients”, I heard Rasheeda say one time during our call and that has stuck with me. I wake up every day, knowing that I am on a mission to provide a solution to the next multi-billion-dollar African business.

So far, this experience has been transformational. Though fast paced and intense at times, I am garnering a myriad of experiences and lessons that are fueling my passions to contribute to the development of my skills and the African continent, one business solution at a time.

The AFG team has been very supportive and they are a big family looking to achieve great things for this continent, they stand by their values are very focused in the delivery of their vision, mission and goals. One week into starting my training program, I lost my dad to cancer and I thought I had to figure out a way to do the training and keep up because it was just 1 week into my 2 week in-person training before we transition to virtual training. I was worried I had inconvenienced the team and my work, however the support I received was genuine and kind, that showed me I had joined a good place and it’s been a wonderful journey of growth so far. I love the feedback culture and I’m looking to learning so much more.

I’m sure you’d assume I’ve been with AFG for about a year or more, however I’m only 4 months into this program. The experience, knowledge and support through feedback I have received have been no short of transformational. I’ve been thrown out of my comfort zone and I literally feel the growth.