Being a young boy, with big hopes and dreams, starting very young in St. Peters, scoring overwhelming results in my West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, business option, and going on to the University where I saw no other option than to pursue Business Administration at the University of Ghana Business School.
The gap between university and senior high school doesn’t despair much. It is just a wider view of study. Just like any other student I started out from scratch, passed the usual matriculation; felt the excitement rushing my blood as my heart pumped it throughout my body. Aside my vigorous study I also had my fair share of fun and made myself famous among my peers.
Going back in time to the days to the University of Ghana Business School, the long lecture periods and the late night studies, I must confess that it did cause a great impact on my life then and now.
Concerning my undergraduate life, it was quite an adventure, I had met and made lots of friends within that period and a few unlikable ones, but such is life.
The years run by and finally, graduation was around the corner. Having scored a gentleman’s grade point, I could never miss the hand shake of the Vice Chancellor plus everyone else on the high table on the day of graduation.
But the common statement, ‘last days are dangerous’ rung repeatedly in my mind, so I was conscious not to fall victim to any act that will cost me my hard worked achievements. In my suit and gown, I finally graduated with honours and it dawned that after that very moment, ‘life after school’ begins.
And the immediate test from life was National Service, but I still felt relaxed since I had some few months to myself before starting my duty to my country. Fortunately for me, I got posted to one of the reputable insurance companies in the country, Star Assurance Company Limited, the relief I felt for not going to the ends of Ghana was unimaginable.
Thanksgivings were in order, the Sunday after, because without God all these wouldn’t have been possible. It was a moment I never saw coming so soon but it gracefully did.
My break suddenly run out and service begun in September. A fresh graduate in the industry, meeting up with the big players, a huge challenge was poised to me, would I survive or it is another success story waiting to happen in my life?
It started out with the usual training on the job, the head of the Retail & SME Unit tutored me on the work at hand. He introduced me to insurance proper and the rudiments of the insurance business. The training was both in-office and on-the-field assignments. This made it more challenging, since going to the field meant I had to polish my communication skills in order to win over clients. At start it was difficult, the difficulty posed by some clients and their tenderness to show off, but I was not perturbed, after all everyone had a start.
Gradually I got a hang of it, and I had to be meeting clients on the field on my own and report to the office after to make reports. Every day was a new experience and I got to learn a lot from both my superiors and the clients I interact with.
The thing also with the insurance industry is that, everyone can be a part of it. In theory it seems very complicated, but any individual given a platform and little guidance will flourish in no time. Indeed the certifications do count, but personally I believe training and guidance is the key, anything else is as a result of one’s capacity to develop himself or herself academically and professionally. Not to mention, everything comes at a cost.
So as a service personnel, I realised I had an opportunity should to prove myself worthy in the industry. The way forward was to advance on the educational ladder as I worked. My tenure as national service personnel was great but it had to come to an end eventually. But thankfully, luck was on my side as I saw a bright future with stay. With my enormous contribution and hard work, I had the opportunity of being employed in Star Assurance as an insurance officer.
I applied to be a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute (UK), since having chartered means you become recognised as a true professional within the industry and among various stakeholders. It also set you apart from your peers. This notwithstanding comes with untold remuneration and incentives which do not accrue to a normal degree holder.
As early as possible I wanted to be rolling with the big guns, feeling a part of a group where everyone has chartered. The start of CII brought back my old school days, studying all day and burning the midnight oil. I had exemptions alright but I never took the course lightly. I was determined, pushed hard and God graced my efforts as I became a young chartered insurance practitioner after 2 years of leaving UGBS, Legon.
In order to understand the proper financial industry of which insurance is a part of, I enrolled in UGBS again for a second degree in Finance that is a Master in Business Administration, Finance Option. I started the weekend programme and it was quite helpful, a worker in the week and student during the weekend. In a short time, I had covered lots in the MBA programme which I completed in June, 2014.
It can be viewed as my gain in the insurance industry. Personally, insurance has had a great impact on my life. Being on the field, you would realise the hustle people go through to make ends meet, then out of the blues an unforeseen accident occurs which leaves the victim penniless. So I think to myself, if insurance wasn’t there to rescue the insureds, what would a normal individual had done to cushion things up?
My accomplishments were acknowledged. It will surprise most individuals outside the industry to learn that I manage a branch of an insurance firm before I turned 30.
I have been through many life experiences but the crown of it I believe is managing the branch. It’s a young branch, that is poised with meeting targets month after month. At the branch, we started production at zero premium and annually we are able to achieve a probable target of seven hundred thousand Ghana cedis in a particular year. Trying to maintain a clientele is challenging but very possible with the right ATTITUDE. No skill or vocation is the exclusive province of the elderly or a white man. Everything is possible.
The basic facets of achieving your targets are determination, perseverance and character, plus in all these you will need people. The key is ATTITUDE. A single person can’t do all by himself; you need to have trust worthy team in these journeys. This reminds me of the quote “The difference between success and failure is a great team.” It means that the potential to grow only comes from when we have people working together, and that’s how insurance is, a pool of people with a common objective.
So basically, the young should pride humility and take their studies more seriously, because on the field, when it comes down to selling to your clients, your knowledge will carry much weight.
Michael Adomako, ACII.
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