How I transitioned into finance is a monthly series that spotlights the stories of mid to senior-level professionals who switched to finance from totally unrelated first degrees and careers. We hope this series inspires aspiring finance professionals to make the switch.
In this month’s episode, we talk to Anthony Aigbokhan, a Data Analyst at Access Bank, a leading commercial bank in Nigeria. He spoke to us about how he crossed from acquiring his first degree in engineering to a finance-related role and career.
Let’s get right in.
At a Glance
Name: Anthony Aigbokhan
Current role: Business Data Analyst
Current company: Access Bank
Social media handle: Linkedin
How did you start out in your education and career?
I studied Mechanical Engineering at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA). With a knack for numbers, my passion for finance began when I started my career at Access Bank as an intern in 2016.
After the internship, I went through a series of training sessions, wrote several exams, and subsequently became an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Nigeria. I also passed my CFA level I exam in December 2020. Currently, I work as an analyst at Access Bank.
How did you meet finance? Or was it finance that met you?
I’ll say it met me, but it felt like we have known each other all our lives.
To familiarize myself with it at the early stages of my internship at Access Bank, I attended the Edubridge Academy where I was exposed to courses like financial analysis, modeling, and valuation.
I also saw a lot of finance-themed movies. I saw movies like Billions, Suits, and The Big Short a bit more than normal. LOL. All in a bid to understand some concepts and job roles better.
What is your current role, your typical job functions, and how has been your experience?
I am currently a Data Analyst at Access Bank where I gather, analyze and present data-driven insights to key business stakeholders across the bank. I also help teams deliver projects using agile methodologies.
This, combined with the customer experience skills I gathered as an intern, has helped me to not only understand the numbers driving business processes. It has also helped me hone the ability to communicate them, engage with stakeholders and recommend improvements.
When was your tipping point – when you knew you had to transition into finance?
The first person who told me about CFA during my internship said all her friends had failed it, so she said it was an impossible exam. I took that notion in until I met another colleague who had passed level 1. He encouraged me to try it, which I did 3 years later.
So, I’ll say the tipping point was after attending Edubridge and meeting a charter holder.
What resources and/or help did you get when you were making your decision?
First, I asked a lot of questions. I sought out old schoolmates in finance roles for advice. I also did a SWOT analysis on myself to understand my strengths and weaknesses.
Further, I followed individuals on social media, Linkedin especially, who occupied senior to executive management positions in finance-related functions.
I sacrificed my spare time on weekends to prepare for the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria’s exams and attending tutorials for CFA exams.
I am thankful to God that all the effort paid off in the end.
How did your friends, family, and former colleagues react to the news?
At first, they didn’t understand why I was writing so many exams and not spending quality time with them. Some were quite understanding and supportive though, but some others stopped speaking to me after prolonged periods of silence.
It hurts but that is life for you. The egg must break for life to begin. However, when the results started surfacing in form of promotions, completed exams, and so on, they began to be more understanding.
What keeps you going?
The challenge that comes with learning something new. I find it exciting.
Where do you see yourself in the next 3 years? Still in finance?
I see myself leading teams that make investment decisions for clients. I also expect to have completed all my CFA exams.
A lot believe finance guys are boring, what do you do for fun?
I watch football, hang out with friends at a bar or watch a movie.
What are your top 3 book recommendations?
Goals by Bryan Tracy, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Kunle Amida CFA, and Izuchukwu Okata CFA
That’s it for this month’s How I transitioned into finance series. What are your thoughts? Know someone you’ll love to see featured? Tell us in the comments. If you’ll love to get featured, please email us at email@example.com.
Abdulsamod Balogun leads Communications and Public Relations at Leonine Investment Services Limited. He's excited about new media, technology and public policy. When he's not working, he's catching up on movies and books.