15 December 2016
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GE Africa (Lagos)

The Young Interns of Today Are the Business Leaders of Tomorrow

Successful people are like successful ideas. They don't happen overnight but need the right environment to reach their full potential. That's why every year GE invests over $1-billion in developing its people, and why GE is consistently ranked #1 in leadership development.

Looking for the next generation of pioneers, problem solvers, dreamers and leaders to drive change,GE have identified that leadership and mentoring is crucial for business success. Not only from the viewpoint that it affords senior leaders the opportunity to share their knowledge and ensure the continuation of successful legacies, but also because interns are considered the business leaders of tomorrow.

GE is offering young graduates an opportunity to gain hands-on experience and valuable skills training with a 12-week internship programme, run in partnership with the African Leadership Academy, to develop skills required to excel in fast-paced business environments.

Sheila Chukwulozie, who is currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Dance as well as an International Relations Certificate at Amherst College in Massachusetts, was chosen to be a human resources and corporate communications intern in the GE Nigeria office.

"I was looking for exposure in the corporate world and I wanted to intern at a company where I could scale up on a wide variety of skills in addition to my technical expertise. I chose GE because even though it's a digital industrial company, it was definitely not stereotypical in terms of what they do," said Chukwulozie.

She said she appreciated the GE Nigeria team's approach of focusing on the full potential of the candidate by taking all their skills and talents into consideration. "What's special about GE is the company culture and the people. The look for candidates with the right personality. As interns, we were quickly integrated into the working culture and we learned how to build meaningful relationships outside of those relationships with your co-workers and bosses. While it was important for us to learn new skills in a corporate setting, we also learned about how the world works, how economies work, and on a very basic level, how money works."

Chukwulozie added that the interns had to scale up quickly as they were immediately put into a work environment and partnered with buddies who they could reach out to for help. "Having a buddy lifted a lot of the new job pressure and I was able to just  focus on how to fulfil my tasks and do the job they hired me for well."

Given that there is such a low number of African women involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, Chukwulozie said she enjoyed working on one initiative where she had to actually go out and find women in these fields to attend a GE STEM networking event. She also enjoyed an initiative which pulled together previous participants in the GE Women's Network.

Chukwulozie discovered that companies such as GE encounter a great deal of bureaucracy which can delay critical processes. "A company like GE comes face to face with these  problems. I learned from the company to have integrity because GE never bent the rule or made excuses. It was refreshing to come across this approach and it taught me a lot."

 

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