Graduates of Global Distinction Part 21: Toyosi Oni

Toyosi Oni
Associate — Frontier / SSA Equity Research, Renaissance Capital

Our latest Graduate of Global of Distinction is Toyosi Oni, a very special woman with a prodigious talent and leadership capabilities beyond her years. I first met Toyosi in October 2014 when I mentored her two teams that she led in the Universities Business Challenge competition to success in 2015 & 2016. Back then I knew she was something special and it was only a matter of time before the rest of the world caught on too! After her numerous successes at UEA and NBS Toyosi graduated and returned to her home  in Lagos, the capital city of, Nigeria, Africa to work in financial services. For the last two years she has worked as an Associate in Renaissance Capital, a Russian company headquartered in Moscow with offices across the world including: London, New York and Lagos. Her latest award is a continental financial award for being rated 1st in the African Equities (ex SA) category of the prestigious Financial Mail Top Analyst Awards 2020. We caught up with her last month when she shared her story with us.

Please explain how your career has developed since graduating?
I graduated in 2016 and I started off as a Trainee Auditor at a financial services firm. I eventually moved on to investment banking as an Equity Research Intern. After some time I was made a full-time Analyst, and was promoted to Associate in December 2019.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your current role or your greatest career achievement so far?
Being a part of an incredibly brilliant and supportive team, that greatly helps in providing value to our clients, is the most rewarding part of my career. Alongside the SSA team I was rated 1st for African Equities (ex- South Africa) in Financial Mail’s Top Analyst Award 2020. This is the most prestigious award for analysts covering African markets.

Image of the Financial Mail’s Top Analyst Award, 2020

What steps did you take in finding employment?
I actually interned at UEA’s careers services office where I helped build a database for Alumni. I knew of all the services available to students and used them, especially in developing my CV and cover letter writing skills. I won the employability prize for NBS in 2015 after a series of stringent assessments. This proved to be invaluable experience when I entered the job market.

Left to right: Professor Paul Dobson (Head of Norwich Business School), Toyosi Oni and Andrew Holdsworth, Careers Advisor.

What are the key skills you learnt as part of your course? Were there any modules you took that were particularly useful?
I learned how to think analytically which is very beneficial for a career in investment banking/research. The business finance, financial modelling and investment management modules stood out. The International Financial Services module was also great as I cover financial institutions in Africa.

How have these skills, or your course, made a difference in your career development?
Because of these courses, I did not feel like a fish out of water when starting out my career. This enabled me to hit the ground running, as I already had a good foundation to start building off on.

Did you develop further skills in other ways during your time at UEA? For example, as a member of a society/club, or through any volunteering you were involved with?
I was President of the Catholic Society, Events Coordinator for the Nigerian Society, an NBS student ambassador and was a student mentor. At NBS, under the guidance of Graham Manville, I participated in the Universities Business Challenge twice as team leader. The first time, my team and I travelled to Bristol as semi-finalists, and the second time, we travelled to London as finalists. We came 7th out of over a hundred teams across top universities in the UK. I was also selected to represent UEA at the “Shaping the future of British Higher Education” consortium in Leicester.

Toyosi and her team in the UBC Final 2016 at IBM’s UK HQ

Why did you choose to study at UEA rather than another institution?UEA offered me a hybrid degree where I could specialise in both Finance and Management. This was very important for me, as it created a differentiating factor from other more traditional degrees.

Do you have any tips or advice for current students or recent graduates, and in their future job search?
I would say stay tenacious and continuously improve yourself. Also do not be afraid to veer away from your comfort zone. Its not easy, but its worth it.

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