1. Welcome Nina to Namambe, please tell us about yourself?
My name is Nina Assamany. My mum is Namibian who hailed from Anamulenge in Omusati Region and my dad is Ghanaian. I speak English, creole and Twi, a Ghanaian dialect. I attended primary school in Namibia up until grade 5 and I studied at DHPS and Windhoek International in that period. After that I moved to Sierra Leone for grade 6 and then lived in Ghana where I completed my International GCSE’s with a distinction and A-Levels with 3As and 1B including an A in mathematics. Following my high school achievements I decided to pursue my further studies in the United Kingdom. I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Exeter where I graduated with a first class degree in BA Economics and Finance. Subsequently, I furthered my studies with a Masters of Science in Finance and Private Equity.
2. What is your highest qualification and where did you obtain it?
My highest qualification to date is my MSc in Finance and Private Equity, which I recently completed in July 2013 at the London School of Economics and Political science (LSE). The subject studied include: Private Equity, Corporate Finance, Asset Markets, Applied Financial Valuation, Portfolio Management and Fixed Income and Securities. I graduated LSE with a Merit qualification.
3.Having completed your MSc in Finance and Private Equity can you elaborate what this is all about?
The MSc in Finance and Private Equity aims to expose students to the different fields of finance from corporate finance activities which is popular as that affects every going concern to asset or portfolio management where an institution invests in different stocks and bonds with the aim of increasing returns for their investors at minimal risk. Private equity is the alternative area of finance where direct investments are made into companies in various forms. This can range from angel investments, where a high net worth individual invests directly in a business, normally a young one with high growth potential to venture capitalists that focus on SMEs and finally the more sophisticated specialized vehicle fund where select limited partners contribute capital up to the fund quota to invest in companies within a specific sector under the management of the firm in question. These are just some examples of the kind of private equity investments but are by no means exhaustive.
4. What type of job can a person do who did Finance and Private Equity?
The great thing about the degree is that it really exposes one to the different fields in finance from corporate finance to trading. Combined with knowledge in private equity, I believe that there would be a strong foundation in which ever area of finance a person that completed this degree wishes to pursue. Of course, a major factor to success is passion for what you do and the ability and willingness to learn and progress in the job. After all, what might apply to one country might differ significantly in another and adaptability is key to success in a dynamic environment with any job.
5. What makes the London School of Economics so popular to people who want to study Finance and Economics?
In my humblest opinion the LSE is an institution that lives up to if not beyond its prestigious brand name. It has an environment that fosters innovation and creativity in the field of finance. During lectures, each student is encouraged to participate and we had many case studies throughout the year which are graded by the thought process and applied intuition rather that what may have been taught in class. This encourages students to critically analyze concepts and grasp the fundamentals to vital issues. I must admit when I took my first class test, I had the whole course pack memorized and was shocked when I turned my paper over and saw the questions thinking “we never did this!” By the end of my degree however, I was able to go beyond what I had been taught in one field and apply a concept to various other issues. Above all, studying Finance and Private Equity at the LSE shapes one to take an active and independent approach in a problem-solving capacity.
6. What was the topic of your thesis and if possible you can consider giving us an abstract of your thesis?
The topic of my thesis is “Private Equity in Sub-Saharan Africa”. I decided to write my thesis on this topic because I wanted to challenge myself to apply what I had studied at the LSE, which was mostly based on developed markets, to my own background and area of interest. I particularly found this interesting because of the increased investor interest in the region, often referred to as the last “frontier market”. I take a broad approach in the most part to shed some light on how P.E has evolved over time in the region and then focus on different areas within the region to highlight key differences. The paper is categorized as follows: 1-Introduction; 2-Market Overview; 3-The Private Equity Landscape subdivided into Fundraising, Investment Trends and Analysis, Deal Structure, Fund Returns and Exit; 4-Considerations/Risks; 5-Interview results subdivided into Key Considerations, Deal Sourcing, Assessing Investment Opportunities, Valuation and Exit Overview and the Private Equity Potential; 6-Conclusion. For anyone who might be interested in reading my thesis please contact me on email@example.com and I would arrange for a soft copy.
7. What is your favourite quote?
MY favorite quote is “Believe in the beauty of your dreams and work hard to achieve them”. This is something I started telling myself whenever I was faced with doubt and I found that it helped me pull through difficult times.
8. If you are given another chance to study abroad, where would you like to go and why?
At my age, I believe that I have accomplished something great and I am thankful to God and my parents for helping shape that path. I would not wish to change where I studied because I believe each institution instilled values in me that harnessed the drive I have to excel. Someday I aspire to complete my MBA at the Wharton Business School in the USA because of the entrepreneurial and innovative approach to studying there. After that I intend to apply whatever knowledge I gain to improve the financial markets of our beloved continent Africa and Namibia especially.
9. What was the most exciting moment in your life?
The most exciting moment of my life was when I received a full merit Lord Dahrendorf Scholarship to study at the LSE and realized that my dream school was about to become a reality. I was especially proud to show my parents that their efforts were greatly valued and I would go on to aspire for great things.
10. Who is your role model and why?
My role models are my parents. My dad, one of ten children born and raised in a small village in Ghana was the only sibling to attend university by securing a merit based scholarship and broke all barriers when he created his own engineering company a few years later in Sierra Leone, Nimo Construction Ltd. My mother was one of the proud veterans who fought relentlessly for the freedom of our beautiful Namibia despite the associated risks. Throughout her life journey she has always taught me to fight for what I believe for and see the positives in every situation. While MY achievements are mine, I can never thank my parents enough for setting the path ahead for me.
11. Who is your favourite author?
My favorite author is Sidney Sheldon. I love the level of detail in his suspense books and the way the stories are thought provoking.
12. What is that you would like to share with our youths?
When you are young, it is easy to lose focus of the bigger picture and future prospects and indulge yourself in matters of the moment. We must remember that ones success or failure is a sum of the decisions we make throughout our lives. Please try to see past whatever distraction may stand as an obstacle be it peer pressure or an abusive upbringing and remember that nothing lasts forever. Believe in the beauty of your dreams and work hard to achieve them. One of the best feelings is that of self-accomplishment, lets work together to improve our lives and that of our nation and continent!
13. If you are given one million Namibian Dollars how are you going to spend it?
If I were given one million Namibian Dollars, I would look to invest my money. Firstly I would determine my risk profile at the given time and allocate a proportion to different kinds of investment. To begin with, I would put about 20% in a long-term sovereign bond investment. I would then invest the remainder between corporate bonds and direct investments, including private equity investments, to grow my capital until I am ready to employ it in a business of my own.
14. What are your future plans?
Within the next ten years I hope to employ all the skillset I have gained from my academic and work experience (internships) to pursue a career within finance. In the long term, after completing an MBA I hope to establish a private equity firm in Namibia that focuses on the region and promotes growth in both SMEs and large corporations that seek to expand further. It is my greatest hope that together African financial experts contribute to the development of our financial markets and the revolution of private equity in the region.
15. Is there something you are dreaming to do with your qualifications in Namibia?
With my qualifications I seek to contribute to the development of our financial markets to the level of that seen in more developed countries like the UK and USA. It is my dream that private equity reaches its full potential in Namibia and fosters business growth.
16. Finally is there something that you still want to share with us?
I would like to share my gratitude to you and all the readers for your time. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me via email on firstname.lastname@example.org and I would get back to you as soon as possible.