Oct 27, 2014

Pinebridge Investments’ Senior Portfolio Manager advises SFAE Students

Pinebridge Investments’ Senior Portfolio Manager Edward Gitahi gives a talk to SFAE students

In an informative and educative session, Pinebridge Investments’ Senior Portfolio Manager Edward Gitahi, the invited guest speaker of the day, spoke to SFAE students on working at his company. Mr. Gitahi shared with the enthusiastic students on internship tips and ideal requirements of a student in a well-established capital firm.


Drawing his noble examples from the most recent interns; Kigen Chelimo 4th Year BBS Finance student who worked at Pinebridge and Lilian Nzesya, BBS Finance graduate, currently at KPMG, Mr. Gitahi stressed the following tips and benefits of a successful internship:


Job Training and Exposure to Corporate Environment

Internships train a graduate on market expectations. Notably, he spotted a gap between class theory and practical job experiences and encouraged the students to take their internship programs seriously as this bridges the gap. He pointed out that students should brace themselves to put into practice the concepts they learn in class as those are the very concepts they would be required to apply on the job.


Secondly, he pointed out an aspect of professionalism in dress code and communication aspects that Strathmore University is already ahead at implementing. He identified smart dressing with fine colour codes with the finance industry. He also urged students to acquaint themselves with formal ways of addressing others, this includes channels like emails in an atmosphere of professionalism.


Interns would benefit from corporate mentors with the organisations they are placed in. He however urged students to be inquisitive and have the aptitude to learn while knowing when to stay humble.


Development of important analytical and communication skills

Students were encouraged to develop profound analytical skills in their fields of study. He reiterated that students should focus on knowing the latest trends in local and international businesses by reading business week magazines such as The Business Daily  and watching money channels and business oriented TV channels such as CNBC. “This,” he stated, “would help them actualise what they learn in class.”


Do in-depth research of the company

Mr. Gitahi sensitized on the need for students to do their homework and learn about the organisation they wish to be in. He discouraged the last minute perusal of a company’s website in a bid to catch some words used in describing the same. Instead, he encouraged the students to conduct an in-depth research into the company and know such things as; accreditations and alignment of the company, the industry it belongs and the industry leaders, innovations the company has had recently and the respected members of the organisations and what they have been feted for in carrying on the company’s business.


What kind of interns do companies look for?

  • Highly motivated/Self-motivated – He stated that interns should go for what they love doing and respectfully request for the same where they are not being given an opportunity. He discouraged students from getting bored while on the job. He insisted on students showing seriousness even in the CVs they send to organisations, as this often marks the beginning of sieving the ideal candidates for the job.
  • Team Players – He mentioned the need for individuals to have the ability of working with others in a team. He stressed on the fact that a background check could be performed by the company of prospective interns to be recommended based on team work performance.
  • Good organisation and communication skills – are an ideal according to Mr. Gitahi since business pitch would be common in the industry and communication would make the difference between landing a corporate deal or not.
  • Numerical Computations – He emphasized that students intending to work with Pinebridge and in finance should be good with numbers: a skill that highly dominates the BBS curriculum.
  • Integrity and high ethical standards – Mr. Gitahi stated that the financial sector is an area where relationships in business rely on trust from clients. “Just like a bank is a brand in itself that stands for integrity and wins the trust of customers, so should an individual be in order to win the trust of a prospective employer.”


What is the key to making the most of your internship?

Positive Attitude – added to the work place influences others positively.

Flexibility and adaptability – have a desire to learn and take on tasks at any level showing your worth.

Be proactive – always take initiative.

Ask questions – Show you care about what you are doing and want to learn more.

Be realistic – Show initiative and know when to be humble.


Contact Details

Madaraka Estate
Ole Sangale Road, PO Box 59857,
00200 City Square
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 0703-034000, 0703-034200