Summer Internship in Nigeria
GUEST POST FROM ANDREW OLALEYE T'13.
“Las Gidi” or hustling city is a common nickname for Lagos, Nigeria and through my one-month internship I soon learned how appropriate the term is. My experience in one of the world’s most populated cities and a growing business hub was truly eye opening, shedding light into the promising business and social future of Africa. Lagos is an enormous machine that continues churning, with over nine million people working in various capacities, and I was thrown right into it.
After my formal summer internship at Colgate in New York City, I did another mini-internship in Nigeria at Promasidor, a fast moving consumer packaged goods manufacturer with products in over 30 countries across Africa. Promasidor is known for its innovative products and was the first company in Africa to introduce powdered milk sachets into the market – a revolutionizing development in the dairy and food industry. As a research fellow for the Center for Global Business and Government, I am currently analyzing bottom of the pyramid marketing strategies with Professor Peter Golder. Undoubtedly, my time with Promasidor provided a great environment to observe those learnings in practice.
I worked on a cross functional project where I had to assess the Nigerian market for future products in the dairy and food enhancement segments. Given the lack of secondary research available, I collaborated with marketing, sales, retailers and distributors to get acquainted with the behaviors and insights of the Nigerian consumer. The most rewarding part was actually visiting some of the largest and informal open markets in Nigeria. Speaking with consumers and shop owners about their preferences, in addition to other products they aspire to sell and consume, painted a clear picture for the future of consumer goods and distribution channels. I even got a chance to haggle over some local items and came out with a few bargains myself (or at least I thought so!). Working with supply chain, packaging and production, I was able to recommend a go-to-market strategy for two products that was well received by senior management.
My Tuck experience absolutely equipped me with various frameworks and perspective to succeed and provide value during my internship. Competitive and Corporate Strategy, Strategy in Turbulent Environments and Executive Communication are just a few courses that assisted in me providing a comprehensive strategy. However, my Tuck experience also taught me to appreciate how business is conducted in other countries and to articulate my thoughts in ways that influenced my stakeholders during the course of my assignment.
Socially, Nigeria was a very welcoming place that is home to many expats. In my short time here I was able to meet people from all walks of life – two Swedish entrepreneurs, a British movie score composer, Slovakian journalist, French photographer, American Art Gallery manager and a family of Italian immigrants who have lived in Lagos for 40 years. I also can never forget the many Nigerians I met who are hungry for progress in their native country and were truly inspiring. My time at Promasidor confirmed my interest in working in Africa and I look forward to observing and actively participating in Nigeria and Africa’s bright future
Pictured at left is Drew at the Promasidor plant holding up packets of Onga seasoning, and in the image at the top, he's at a Cowbell Milk event for kids to promote healthy lifestyles. Both Onga and Cowbell are Promasidor brands.
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