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.
Previously in the How I transitioned into finance series, we spoke with Anthony Aigbokhan, Business Data Analyst at Access Bank Plc.
This month, we caught up with Habeeb Olusanya, a financial analyst at Leonine for another exciting switch exposé.
Habeeb is what you can call an efiwe – a genius. He graduated with a first-class in mechanical engineering from the University of Lagos in 2019. At the time, He had also already started his career with an initial internship at Chevron Nigeria. Midway into the internship, however, he decided to reroute his ship and sail for a new destination – finance.
Why? I’m curious too. Read on and you’ll see.
How did you start out in your education and career?
As a kid, I always had my eye on the oil and gas sector. It was and probably still is a prestigious industry to work in. Their employees received great monthly salaries, drove exotic cars, bought beautiful houses, and enjoyed other additional perks. All of these were enough to convince me. I mean ‘who no like better thing?’
I masterminded my plan to get into oil and gas, and mechanical engineering was the course I chose.
I chose mechanical engineering rather than petroleum and gas engineering because it was broader and I could easily still pivot into manufacturing engineering, aeronautic engineering, etc.
In 2019, I graduated with a first-class in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Lagos. Before then, I interned with Chevron for 6 months as part of the compulsory Student Industrial Work Experience Program (SIWES).
Now, I work as a financial analyst at Leonine.
Interesting… So, you got your foot in the door?
Yes, I did. Finance happened and the story changed.
How did you meet finance? Or was it finance that met you?
I ran to meet finance. LOL
During my 6-month internship at Chevron, I joined an eye-opening conversation with my superiors. There, they shared their experiences investing in Nigeria and key lessons from their early investment mistakes.
Then, they discussed how they grew their investment portfolios deliberately. Eventually, they dabbled into finance and one of them recommended Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich dad poor dad.
After reading the book, all I thought of was how to never end up like the author’s poor dad. As a result, I read even more books on finance and business. I became more interested in finance and enrolled in more finance courses online.
I got my first role at Leonine as a financial analyst after concluding my first degree.
What is your current role, your typical job functions, and how has been your experience?
Currently, I am a financial analyst at Leonine. Leonine provides financial advisory and training services to businesses and individuals to help them reach full potential.
My role involves helping clients analyze their business in detail, prepare business plans, financial models, and information memoranda that would help our clients facilitate capital raising, strategic planning, and decision making. I also build business intelligence solutions to help clients keep tabs on business performance.
So far, it has been challenging and exciting. No two businesses are entirely the same so there’s always something new to learn.
When was your tipping point – when you knew you had to transition into finance?
After that conversation with colleagues during my internship, I researched the field more extensively. I concluded that the best time for me to launch a career in finance and business was immediately after school.
I didn’t want to get caught up in the complexity of having to leave a well-paying engineering job for perhaps an entry-level role in finance months down the line.
So, I guess the tipping point was after joining that conversation during my internship and concluding additional research into the field.
What resources and/or help did you get when you were making your decision?
I had a lengthy conversation with an expert in finance during my internship at Chevron. That was a major eye-opener. I read a lot of books as well.
Rich dad poor dad, cashflow quadrant, increase your financial IQ, and before you quit your job by Robert Kiyosaki are notable examples. I also took some short courses online to internalize some finance concepts.
My early business experience co-founding VIbujor, an ad listing startup in the university also proved valuable.
How did your friends, family, and former colleagues react to the news?
They were super surprised! A number of them even thought I was joking. They kept asking what I was looking for after spending 5 years studying engineering and excelling exceedingly in my academics.
Their concerns dwindled, however, when they saw how passionate I was about pursuing it.
What keeps you going?
The fact that I am doing what I am excited about. I am helping many businesses grow while gaining valuable experience in the process. It is also comforting to know that I am not threading the path of Robert Kiyosaki’s poor dad.
Where do you see yourself in the next 3 years? Still in finance?
I see myself in a strategic leadership role in the finance industry, managing people and leading teams. Also, I expect that I’ll have completed all my ACCA exams by then.
I see myself helping more businesses and startups raise external capital, solve business problems and actualize business goals.
A lot believe finance guys are boring, what do you do for fun?
I play chess online and watch documentaries and history movies. My top picks include World War 2, Seaspiracy, Vikings, The last kingdom, and Hercules.
What are your top 3 book recommendations?
Rich dad poor dad by Robert Kiyosaki, The intelligent investor by Benjamin Graham, and The richest man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Samuel Affar. Like me, he graduated with a first-class in mechanical engineering as well and currently is a financial analyst at Fritova partners.
Catch up on previous episodes in the series:
That’s it for this month. What are your thoughts on this episode of how I transitioned into finance series? 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.