General, It happened to me

From Firewood Trading to Financial Risk Management: A Journey of Passion, Purpose, and Perseverance

Adnan Ismail Written by Adnan Ismail · 1 min read >

My path to a career in financial risk management has been an unconventional one, filled with twists, turns, and unexpected opportunities. It’s a journey that has shaped my perspective on the world, taught me the value of perseverance, and ignited a passion for using finance to address environmental challenges.

Growing up in Nigeria, I was exposed to the world of business at an early age. My grandmothers’ firewood business in Kaduna was my first introduction to the concept of trade, and I vividly remember helping my father manage his fish farm during the long holidays in Kastina. These experiences sparked an entrepreneurial spirit within me, and I even started my own design agency while still in the University.

Despite my passion for business, societal expectations and parental guidance steered me towards a career in sciences. As I prepared for my WAEC examinations, I was faced with the choice between the business or science track. Despite my high JAMB score, I was unable to secure admission into my desired programs of medicine or engineering.

My options were limited to Industrial Design, Meteorology, or Estate Management in a university far away from home in Akure. While I had no prior interest in meteorology, the prospect of studying climate change and its impact on human populations intrigued me.

My five years at university studying meteorology were an enriching experience that provided me with valuable lessons that continue to guide me today. Actively participating in student union activities honed my leadership skills, while various ventures I started, including a design agency, allowed me to apply my business acumen, I also learnt a great deal of lessons with a lot of heart ache from investing all my life savings in the famous MMM Ponzi scheme.

After completing my B.Tech degree, I served the nation through the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). This year of service was not about letting others dictate my path; it was about following my dreams and aspirations. I opted to serve at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, the fulfillment of a dream for any graduate meteorologist.

My time at the airport provided me with opportunities to develop my employability and entrepreneurial skills. During this period, I co-founded an immersive technology company that creates virtual reality solutions for brands and organizations, enabling them to engage and convert audiences through interactive experiences.

Transitioning to the Microfinance banking sector post-NYSC, my early fascination with credit analysis laid the groundwork for a deeper exploration of risk management. A confluence of experiences across banking and insurance sectors, coupled with my meteorology background, illuminated a new path. The realization crystallized – I aspired to be a Financial Risk Manager.

Driven by this revelation, I embarked on a journey of self-improvement, pursuing certifications like the Financial Risk Manager (FRM) charter and enrolling in an MBA program. Each step taken was a deliberate stride toward gaining expertise in the intricate dance of financial risk management. The grand vision that emerged from this metamorphosis is to become an Environmental Sustainability Finance Expert.

In this odyssey, I’ve embraced change, ridden the winds of uncertainty, and carved a path aligned with my passion. From meteorology to financial risk management, the journey continues, and each chapter unfolds with lessons, laughter, and a commitment to making a meaningful impact. #MMBA5

Written by Adnan Ismail
Seeking opportunities to collaborate, and eager to further refine my expertise at the intersection of finance and sustainability. Profile

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