Kunle Ojo, Senior Reporting Accountant
'My experience in the corporate world has given me the platform to achieve great things outside of employment; for instance, by the Grace of God I was able to purchase my first property'
Tell us about your journey into the corporate world.
My journey into the corporate world has been tough to say the least. I wasn’t fortune enough to land a graduate position straight out of university, even though I achieved a 2:1 in Accounting and Finance from Brunel, so found myself trying to work my way up. I found this quite difficult as I had a lack of direction from the start in terms of what field I actually wanted to pursue. However, one thing that stayed constant was my hunger to get my foot in the door and establish a corporate career. A formula that worked well for me was embarking on the CIMA qualification which I fund myself privately, whilst gaining as many technical skills as possible to enhance my CV. Although I've had a number of strong positions, my most reputable one being an Asset and Fund Analyst at UBS,I went through extended periods of unemployment, the longest being 9 months. When I was in work, I found myself changing positions every year so naturally stumbled into contracting. In each role, I built on my current knowledge and used this to move onto more experienced, better paying contracts.
How has the BYP Network impacted your professional and personal life?
Through attending a few of the BYP Network events, I’ve been able to connect with a lot of students and upcoming professionals who I’ve helped in terms of advice and general navigation of the corporate world, seeing as I’ve had a couple of years experience. Having downloaded the BYP Network App, I’ve been able to connect with some like minded individuals and discuss potential business opportunities as well as get linked with other business men and women. Personally, I’ve been able to really connect with people who may not have taken the traditional route into a corporate setting and forged some long lasting friends.
I never really had anybody to tell me what steps to take to ensure my journey in the corporate world was smooth so had to rely heavily on friends and all of us sharing our experiences and the BYP Network has enabled me to be this person for newer professionals.
What are three pieces of advice you would give Black Young Professionals?
My first piece of advice would be to take heed of your parents words! As a black individual you have to work twice as hard to be noticed and taken seriously, and nothing is handed to you so you have to take it.
Secondly, don't ever stop picking up skills. This is imperative because the more technical skills you have, the more desirable you will be to your current as well as potential employers. These skills give you value, and give you more choice in deciding your path in the corporate world
Finally, always keep an eye on the job market as this allows you to become familiar with the requirements for certain jobs. Although you may not be ready for them just yet, they give a good understanding of what you need to be learning and tasks you need to be engaging with in your current role.
Tell us about your plans and what you have coming up in the future.
My experience in the corporate world has given me the platform to achieve great things outside of employment; for instance, by the Grace of God I was able to purchase my first property. Contracting has allowed me to raise capital faster than if I was a salaried employee (not to say that there aren’t disadvantages to being a contractor such as no paid holidays), and I’m currently in the process of raising capital for a second property. I’ve also been using crowd funding tools to invest in companies that are yet to be listed, as well as dabbling in cryptocurrencies.