Tell us about yourself
My name is Emmanuel (I like the meaning!) Alex Asiedu. I work with Stanlib, an investment firm. I’ve been working in the investment field for almost 2 decades now. But beyond that, I love hanging out with family, gardening and music.
I was in Achimota Secondary School and the University of Ghana for high school and university. In between I was an exchange student in Copenhagen, Denmark and that experience shaped my early adult years. But more about that later. After Legon, I studied at Queen’s in Canada for a Masters in Economics, and then added the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) designation to my CV. I’m also a Yale World Fellow.
Walk us through your early career journey (first 5 years)
My first job was as a national service person with the American Field Service (AFS) in Accra. Afterwards I joined Databank for a year. I also spent some years at Ecobank, honing my finance and investment skills.
What values/skills would you say you demonstrated in your early career journey that have contributed to your career success?
I’ve been blessed to find myself working at places where I mostly enjoyed what I was doing. One word for that is passion. Apart from that I’ve always striven to be the best at what I do and so I invested quite a bit in personal development. But you can’t rise with technical skills alone. In the end, people matter more than anything else and so learning to get along well with people without compromising your values is key.
Did you always know you wanted to do what you are doing now?
No I didn’t. I was a confused mix of future lawyer, engineer, doctor. If anyone had told me 30 years ago that I’d be a banker I might have cursed the person! But then this is where I find myself and I’m happy about it.
What were some of the mistakes you made on the career journey?
There was a time I counted my chickens before they were hatched. I went for an interview with another firm (South African Airways) while doing my national service at AFS and promptly assumed I’d be given the job. Of course, I did not and I’d already turned down an offer with AFS thinking the SAA job would go through. Lesson learnt, a bird in hand is worth more than two in the bush!
If you had the opportunity to change one thing in your early career/work experience days what will it be?
Maybe I would have been more flexible and been more open to gaining experience outside of my comfort zone. I decided early on to be a specialist at what I did, investing. I loved it and still do but the journey may have been easier with a larger portfolio of skills.
Any advice to someone who is confused about their career planning?
He/she should take in a deep breath and relax. And after they’ve done that they should go out and enjoy the journey. What do I mean? They should be open to learning as many things as possible and not just academic stuff. They should pick up transferable skills; teamwork, leadership, time management, communication, listening, etc. These come in handy as one charts one’s career path. At a point they probably matter as much if not more than the core academic skills that we work so hard on at school.
If you had a minute to coach/advice a tertiary student about work readiness, what would it be?
The answer is the same as that for the previous question. They should pick up transferable skills.
Knowing what you know now as a high-profile professional, what would be your advice to a rising young professional you are mentoring?
Enjoy the journey. Keep an open mind and learn as many things as you can. You never know where you will end up. Stay humble. Everyone matters. Don’t think about enriching yourself, be more focused on making the world a better place. The money will come if you do whatever you are doing well enough. There are rich bankers and very comfortable carpenters. Be focused but find a balance. Family and your loved ones are important. They are an incredible support group. Be honest, your technical skills may get you to the top but it’s your character that will let you stay there. And finally? Be in tune with God and Christ. In a world of changing norms and values that’s the one standard that will keep you sane and grounded.