Date: 9 May to 15 July, 2016

I am immensely grateful for the opportunity of interning in an overseas country, let alone being in Africa. The past two and a half months have been nothing but a self-exploration journey. From the moment I touched down at Kotoka International Airport, the friendliness and politeness of the Ghanaians never ceased to amaze me.

Africa is a misunderstood continent with people that think the whole of it is a country. The continent has 55 countries with diverse ethnicities, language and culture. After 10 weeks here, I’ve known more about this country and this continent to tell people that Africa is not the place that they thought it might be due to the negative portrayal of the continent by the Western media outlets.

My supervisor is Mr Manish Iyer from India, a glance in the office and you will realize how diverse the nationalities in the office are. From India to Senegal, China to Nigeria, the mixture of nationalities is indeed a hallmark of a multinational company. Being given the role of a Marketing intern, I was given the chance to work hand in hand with the vendors and my fellow marketing executives in execution of sponsor activity and vendor management. Having done event management for my diploma education, this would be the first time I am working as a client which gave me a brand new perspective of the dynamic relationship between media partners, market research firms, event management and communication agencies.

(Giving out Prize at Tema Excellence Awards representing Wilmar Africa Ltd)

My main project of the 10 weeks was to be the preparation for the launch of a number of new products. First, the company have earmarked a few products and I was given the task of estimating the market size before other feasibility studies. Using import data and external market research company reports, I was able to tally both reports and find out what is the estimated market size of the particular product. I was also involved in the launch of a new product that have completed the above exercise and is ready to enter the market.

Ghanaians by nature are pretty soft spoken but friendly, however, their nature of being easily satisfied and passive can be seen as lazy. Things move pretty slow over here and can be frustrating at times. It was said by one of my supervisors that working with the locals can be seen as choosing the best from the worst. I have to say that there are definitely certain locals that showed urgency and have great attitudes but most of them are just trying to scrape through. In a fast paced environment in oil trading, it might get too exasperating for the traders from the other countries.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality and this internship in terms of my both personal and professional development. With this short stint, I feel that I am ready to step up and contribute to my future employer in the years to come.

I would like to thank Mr Manish and all my colleagues for their support and guidance over the past month. Mr Thomas for the visit and concern, Ms Pauline for dealing with our questions and administrative tasks and the very start. And not forgetting Wilmar International for giving me a chance to come to the exciting world of Africa.

Contributed by: Sim Pin Yi

Published : 21 July 16




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