Google, General Electric, Microsoft, Proctor and Gamble (P&G), IBM, SAP; just to name a few multinationals (MNCs) that have a base in the country. This of course means more job opportunities for young Kenyans who get to work in a dynamic
environment that offers them a chance to improve and grow their skills. So what does it take to work for an MNC? What are these organisations looking for when hiring? myNetwork had a chat with four youngsters who are working for multinationals, jobs
they say are a dream come true. Find out what strategies they used to get here.
ABEDI KIVINDYO, 24
Distributor Team Finance manager
Proctor and Gamble (P & G)
“I started looking for a job before completing my degree because I knew that after graduation, I would be under lots of pressure to get a job. I was constantly on the lookout for job opportunities and I always applied for those I was interested in even though
I did not have the qualifications required. Months before graduating, I came across an advertisement about the Deloitte Graduate Trainee Program. As a student of commerce specialising in Finance, I knew that it would be a right fit for me, so I applied for
the audit position advertised. I had already applied for various graduate trainee programs without receiving any feedback, so I was skeptical but still went ahead and applied for the position.
The initial stage in the application process was to carry out an aptitude test. This was later followed by a group interview, then the manager’s interview. Unfortunately, I failed the manager’s interview and I knew all was lost. Surprisingly though, I was invited
for another interview for a role in financial advisory and business support. I think the reason for this was because I had fared well in the other interviews and they saw the potential in me. Luckily, I aced the interview and was incorporated.
Two months into Deloitte, I got wind of an opportunity to work for Coca Cola through a reference from a friend who forwarded me the advertisement. Fresh from campus, I had a lot of energy in me and I applied because I thought the position of a financial
analyst suited me well. I did a phone interview, which was followed by a skype interview with the HR manager and finally a face-to-face interview. I was successful in all the interview processes this time round and was confirmed for a placement. I was
surprised because I thought it was very difficult securing jobs with multinationals and here I was four months after graduation having worked with two of them.
The journey did not end there. A few months later, my mum came across an advertisement for an internship position at Proctor and Gamble, (P&G) which she forwarded to me. My mentors thought it would be a risky position to apply for because it was an
internship with no guarantee for a permanent job, but I went ahead and applied anyway. Everyone, except my mum, was against the decision because all was going well for me. I knew that resigning from Coca Cola would probably end up being a big regret,
but I chose to follow my guts; I felt I would enjoy working for Fast Moving Consumer Goods company. The experience I got from Deloitte and Coca Cola aided me through the internship at P&G. I did so well, that after the internship I was offered a job at
the firm. I am now a Distributor Team Finance manager for Tanzania and Cameroon and budget controller for Equatorial Africa.”
GRACE KIUNGA, 22,
Sales executive, SAP
“Securing an internship was a nightmare while in my third year of college. I got an internship on the last month to the deadline with the Ministry of ICT as an IT support intern. From this experience, I learnt that I had to do more to stand out from the pool of
job applicants. I not only decided to pursue a professional SAP course that was on offer at Strathmore University, but also pursued a leadership position in the student council, where I was elected head of sports. Exposing myself in that way opened up opportunities for me because I was privy to information on job opportunities and openings.
One of the facilitators of the SAP course I was pursuing forwarded us an opportunity on an opening at SAP, which I applied with much skepticism. From my research in the Internet, I knew that the odds of being called up for an interview were minimal because they receive thousands of application from more experienced jobseekers. I was quite surprised therefore on being shortlisted as one of the candidates.
The interview process was intensive. It started with a phone interview, which was then followed by a request to conduct a research on a topic that was sent to me via email, and which I was required to respond with a report. A presentation to the panel on the report followed shortly after. I was successful and I had a one-on-one interview with the managing director. I was up against experienced individuals and I knew that I probably would not get an opportunity, but was still excited for having gone so far in the interview process. When I received a call saying that I had been selected, I was over the moon.
For a long time, I had dreamt of securing a job that would give me international exposure and the opportunity at SAP fit the bill. The experience, learning and exposure that I have had so far is unmatched. SAP takes seriously employee growth and development, and so far, I have had the opportunities to attend training seminars in the US and South Africa, which really have enhanced my horizon, skills and knowledge.
My advice to those seeking employment opportunities is to invest in their personal growth because being an all-round individual appeals more to employers.”
ANTHONY KIMONDO WANJAU, 28,
Head, Career Development Program. General Electric
“After graduating from USIU in 2011, I immediately enrolled for a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) at the Eastern Mediterranean University in Cyprus and graduated in 2013. I knew it was risk because I had not yet attained work experience. On coming back to Kenya, I joined KCB as a sales representative and was posted to Kencom Branch, one of their biggest branches. While working at the bank, I felt the need for a greater challenge and was even willing to have a salary cut to get this. I came across the book Winning by Jack Welch. I was fascinated when he described his experience at General Electric (GE), ranked the fourth largest organisation in the world by Forbes Global.
I cultivated an interest in the company and I found myself researching more about it and kept an eye out for job openings. One finally came up and I applied, and was later called for an interview.
The first stage of the interview process was a telephone interview, which was followed by a face-to-face interview with the hiring manager. The final stage was an interview with the HR manager.
My initial days at the company were a steep learning curve. This is because I had to grasp a lot of content about GE and its various businesses. Despite this, the journey has been rewarding because I have learnt a lot and also have had the opportunity to work in South Africa, which was quite an exposure.
My future plans are to keep learning and growing in my current role. I also intend to enroll in a leadership program to complement my aspirations for higher management positions. My advice to those who would like to seek an opportunity in a MNC is that to take up any existent employment opportunities to acquire and polish skill sets that would position them whenever an opportunity arises.”
EMILY KIKALA, 24,
Associate Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC)
“I dreaded being idle after graduating from Maseno University. I am the first born in a family of three and I wanted to set a good example for my siblings. I was constantly on the lookout for opportunities and even subscribed to several career websites. I also networked widely, letting people know that I had graduated and was in search of a job.
PwC was where I envisioned working, therefore, I frequently checked their website for opportunities. Eventually, I got an internship placement and I applied because I knew it was an opportunity of a lifetime. During the internship period, I put my best foot forward and at the end of my internship, a performance appraisal was conducted. They were impressed with my performance and invited me for a job interview, conducted by the partners.
The interview was intense and was carried out in two phases. The first phase aimed at uncovering me as an individual; my career goals, strengths and attributes. The second was more technical and practical, aimed at establishing if I was a good fit for the team. It took three weeks to get feedback, a very trying time for me. I was quite excited on being informed that I had been successful. It was a dream come true! I was happy to be exposed to a challenging environment and I was aware of the growth and experience that would come out of this.
I now have been with the firm for almost a year, and the experience has been worthwhile because the onboarding process was spot on. In a nutshell, my job involves tax consulting. My future plan with regards to my profession is to rise up the corporate ladder and take up management responsi-bilities.”
WHAT ARE MNCS LOOKING FOR WHEN HIRING?
Mrs Mildred Okoth, a HR consultant with Five Talents Africa Solutions, points out that the era of having a degree to act as your secure passage to employment is long gone. She says that excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, computer literacy and the ability to interact in a multicultural setting are crucial in modern-day competitive job environment. Her advice to those who are seeking employment opportunities, more so in MNCs, is to network and enhance their personal brand.
“Such companies focus on the individual’s personality and potential as opposed to experience and academic papers, although a degree is a necessity.”
In addition to the significantly higher salary that some MNCs offer in comparison to local companies, other benefits includes international exposure and training that one undergoes. The perks are, but therein also lies a demand for results, which is a significant appraisal tool.