Internship Bliss

Joseph Foray
Class of 2008

It could not have been a better opportunity than the chance to work with Databank for two months during the summer break. Databank is the largest investment banking firm in Ghana and manages one of the biggest mutual funds in sub-Saharan Africa. With seventeen years of experience in investment banking, the company has created a very powerful brand name in Ghana and abroad. I consider the opportunity to work with such a firm a unique one.

 

Working with the research and information wing of the company was challenging and exciting. Ashesi’s mission of excellence in scholarship, leadership and citizenship did come to bear on my duties at work. I efficiently managed 3 projects at the same time. The courses I took in investments, marketing and Organizational Behaviour proved very useful in everything I did. There were, for instance situations where clients needed explanation about different financial instruments in the money and capital market. I gladly offered my services.

 

Ghana is gradually becoming an emerging market on the global scene and the need to consistently increase my knowledge base became very evident. I was charged with compiling market information on the stock exchange in Ghana and Africa and a daily update of the currency and commodity markets.

Being a part of a group to have been awarded the best research team in Africa for 2007 by the AI Index magazine was no mean feat. Considering the level of competition in investment banking from the likes of Citigroup, UBS, EFG Hermes and African Alliance, it was the best time to be a part of a group of intelligent, ambitious and hardworking people.

My most memorable and interesting moments with the company were three important projects assigned to a team of four interns. The most challenging project was to gather primary data and compile a report on the real cost of the energy crises on businesses and households in Ghana. I led a team to interview several financial controllers, accountants, chief executive officers and administrators of the top twenty-five companies in Ghana. The category of business included banking, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, trading, food and beverages, construction and the hospitality industry. The final report of the project will be released to the public in a few weeks’ time.

 

Another interesting assignment was the Young Investors Community Online Project. This was about creating a website for young investors in Ghana which will provide up-to- date financial information to participants of the inter schools and colleges investment competition. This website was also meant to make available to young investors educative materials on investments in Ghana and Africa. I was instrumental in developing the web content and design of the interface. The good news is that the young investor’s column can now be accessed through databankgroup.com.

 

Apart from assigned projects, there was a couple of training programs embarked upon by the research department. The technical analyst training program was meant to assist participants in corporate Ghana sharpen their skills in financial statement analysis and mutual fund management. I was personally responsible for marketing this program to corporate bodies and individuals in Accra to win as many participants as possible. I was also charged with arranging the supporting materials for this program. The training was a great success with about forty participants attending. Interestingly, I did earn a certificate in financial statement analysis upon completion of the program.

With all these projects and programs, the activity I regard as one of my greatest personal accomplishment was to discover a better medium for accessing up-to-date market information on the African financial market. Previously, the website used to access relevant market data did not provide very current information as was needed. The newly discovered site is currently being used by the research department for detailed information on investments in Africa. It will interest you to know that my username and password is regularly used to access information from this website.

Overall I feel much fulfilled for achieving success on all projects undertaken. My internship enabled me to improve my marketing and communication skills as well as develop a strong team spirit and attention to detail. My experiences in selling programs and projects to corporate executives have helped me develop a creative flair and the ability to be innovative and cooperative.

Apart from the work load and responsibilities, there were periods of relaxation and refreshments. We occasionally had Friday get-togethers where we ate, shared jokes and enjoyed the company of the executives and all staff members. There were also some conferences which I attended during my internship period that broaden my horizon and make the summer season very enjoyable.

Investment banking I believe offers a lot of opportunities to students who would desire to pursue a career in that direction. The volume of information available on the markets, the economy and from sources abroad could be taken advantage off. If I am to mention one outstanding lesson form my internship as a young man, it would be that there is much wealth to be created from the volume of information in the system. Information is crucial to becoming a successful entrepreneur as well as a professional.

Joseph Foray Junior
2008BA