My Life After Uni shares life hacks from some of Ghana’s brightest business professionals on career success after University.
Meet Alexander Dankyi Asare, the young graduate who became an ACCA Affiliate at 22 years. A graduate with First Class Honors at the University of Cape Coast where he offered Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting)
- Current role: Experienced Audit Associate, KPMG
- University Attended: University of Cape Coast
- Program studied: Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting)
- Location: Accra, Ghana
- One word to describe your experience of Life after Uni: Full of Learning
How will you briefly describe your university life and its impact on your life currently?
Well I’d say my university life was actually interesting for me and it really had a huge impact because for my first job I was actually recommended by someone who I had worked with at the university. For me it was my experience with him that placed me in a better light for him to recommend me. So I’ll say university really helped me a lot.
What influenced your choice of program studied in the university and is the choice still relevant in your career today?
Oh yeah! I think choosing Bachelor of Commerce wasn’t something that I would say I sat down to think about. At the university of Cape Coast the best course you could actually do is Bachelor of Commerce so I just aimed for the best and that was my goal. When you come to UCC the top business course would be Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) so that was what I aimed for.
It is actually relevant in my career. I am with Auditing and Assurance and with that you need a very good foundation of accounting. This makes the work a bit easier.
How was your National Service days, what skills did you learn on the job?
For me I did my national service serving as a teaching and research assistant in UCC. With that, one thing I learnt was knowing how to step in or manage things for my boss especially in his absence. My boss was more like working part-time so he moved from Accra to Cape Coast probably once a week so largely things were dependent on me to do. But I tried my best to organize quizzes and stuff. Obviously, I had to communicate with him a lot to keep him up to date with issues. So I think managing things in his absence really helped.
And then relating with people as well because I was handling the final year students and they have different maturity levels so being able to handle them was something I really enjoyed. I really wouldn’t say national service was challenging because I enjoyed what I was doing. I was teaching Corporate Reporting which was something I enjoyed so much so it wasn’t really stressful.
How did you transition into the work world after school?
Well, naturally for me I like to work a lot, I mean I enjoy working a lot. But then you realize that when you are in a working environment especially where I work you need to put in extra time so you get a bit stressed but I think UCC actually gives you a good foundation for you to withstand such situation. After service I had a job with Deloitte around June so I waited to finish my national service and then moved there.
Initially, one of the challenges I faced when I went there was that I was placed at Advisory; International Taxation, that is how we call it. For me I always say that your first 2-3years of your work life will be a very challenging part of your work in terms of your technical capabilities. As you climb up what will be expected of you is the managerial capabilities. So your 1-3 years is truly the difficult part of your work because at that stage you are trying to learn how to adapt to the work environment, the system, your work itself and how it is done.
You realize that after 2-3years you become conversant with the technicalities surrounding your job; how to send an Email, how to go about the work you actually do. So your 1st to 2nd years you will be quite frustrated and if you don’t take time you may actually make some wrong decisions which you will obviously learn from subsequently.
But then for me I think generally the first 2-3years of your working life is quite challenging in terms of one’s technical capabilities
What are the skills and tools you think matters the most in this current work life?
For me in my line of work I think some of the things you need probably is mastery in excel, if you have a good understanding of your accounting as well its good. But generally I think what everyone needs is how to handle people and it’s key because at the workplace there’re relationships and sometimes you go to work and there are segregations. So it actually is a bit difficult trying to pick sides. The good thing you actually should do is to learn how to deal with everyone on a good level so that you don’t associate with a particular group because at the end of the day if you stick with a group you may be tagged with it which might lead to some consequences. So for me I think relationships are quite key, build good rapport with your work colleagues and not try to pretend, you need to be genuine with them.
Office politics cannot be done away with but it is important how you handle it. If you do handle it well it will be good for you but if you don’t it will have a negative impact.
What advice do you have for students/fresh graduates about life after university?
Well I think life after university is quite interesting especially when you have a good job that actually pays you and can afford what you couldn’t back then, it’s quite beautiful. But I think for me building relationships is key and constant learning; never stop learning. So,
- Constantly Learn- whether you will take a professional course or you take up something but just develop yourself as an individual and it will go a long way to help you.
- Connect with people who are ahead of you. For me every step I try to take I do my best to actually reach out to people who have had experience in that area I wanna go. I have communication with them, I open up to them, share my intentions with them and take a piece of advice from them so that I do not repeat their mistakes and it’s been very helpful. In my journey, I recall that I actually took steps in most cases to contact people who have been there and they were very helpful.
Life in itself is not like a competition, personally I learn from colleagues and those ahead of me. I just take pride in learning from people, asking questions about things I don’t understand, it’s key.
Who will you like to hear their story about life after university?
Charlotte Forson ( Partner with Deloitte)
Alexander Dankyi Asare is an Experienced Audit Associate at KPMG Ghana, a solution oriented individual and an innovator who is blazing the trail for the youth to aspire to reach greater heights.
The, ACCA multiple award winner; Alexander Dankyi Asare also won the following awards at the 5th edition of the ACCA Annual Students’ Summit;
1) Overall Best Affiliate, Ghana
2) Best Advanced Audit and Assurance Student in Ghana and eleventh globally
3) Best Advanced Financial Management student in Ghana and thirteenth globally