The GE Reports Africa blog has launched a series known as “A Day in the Life Of” which profiles GE SSA’s unsung heroes, highlighting their contribution at GE.
Louis Ndesingo, currently a commercial proposal specialist at GE, based in Dar es Salam, was born in the South-Western part of Tanzania with his family and later moved to the North-Eastern part of the country to live in Arusha, where he completed his schooling. Louis was the second of four children and he grew up with a great passion for computers that started from playing video games as a child. He was a big fan of video games and he hoped to one day end up in a profession that involved computers.
His parents had a very strong influence on his life, guiding him into the commercial field he currently works in today. Both Louis’ parents have business backgrounds and based on what the environmental landscape looked like at the time, Louis realised that the commercial space would be very fruitful as a career.
The two things Louis’ parents taught him about business is proper time management and the importance of hard work. These guiding principles encouraged Louis to follow in his parents’ footsteps and to study accounting and obtain a degree from Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya. Louis later completed a masters in finance and investment at Coventry University in the United Kingdom.
GE was Louis’ first job after he completed his Masters. He joined GE through a leadership programme, the Early Career Development programme (ECDP), a 12-month programme designed to give recent university/college graduates challenging work assignments, training and development as well as exposure to leadership. Louis was exposed to a combination of hands-on tasks as well as formal classroom training that equipped him with the tools and knowledge to grow in GE. Upon completion of the programme, Louis graduated into his current role of commercial proposal specialist. It has now been two years since Louis joined GE and he has found the experience invaluable.
“GE helps to build you up as a personal brand and exposes individuals to a variety of opportunities that one needs to develop and grow in their career. These opportunities help build and prepare you for survival in different environments. What GE exposes us to is not something that a lot of people get the opportunity to be exposed to and to top it all, GE also has a lot of good leaders within the organisation who you can learn from so it is a great place to work and grow.”
With Tanzania being one of the emerging countries on the continent in the oil and gas sector, Louis’ primary role is to identify opportunities in the oil and gas industry, and develop them through the different divisions within GE. His role is a major one because currently, the Tanzania region does not have specific people who look after specific areas within the oil and gas division. Louis’ role covers the entire supply chain of oil and gas, and he has learned that one of the best ways of getting the job done is through networking. He needs to continuously network with stakeholders from different industries because GE offers solutions to customers across many industries.
A typical day for Louis starts with a 30-minute workout followed by preparation for work. His day in the office typically starts at 8am and the activities he engages in range from customer visits to customer calls and following up on leads.
“The first impression counts with customers as this will help seal the deal. The impact of what you can do to improve their operations needs to come across strongly and we have to ensure that the right facts, and details are shared with customers for the solution we are hoping to provide. This can prove to be a challenge at times.” GE often deals with international customers and this means that follow-ups can prove to be challenging but Louis always finds a way to get the job done.
GE’s East African region is currently in a growth phase and there are frameworks, legally and physically, that have not yet been established, and that makes the job more challenging. Having these frameworks in place would guide opportunities to flow smoothly in the supply chain from start to finish. To counter this challenge, the GE commercial teams in this region participate in regular internal telephonic conferences that add an immense amount of value and Louis sees this as an opportunity to get ideas about the other prospects one can explore in the region.
Louis’ work day usually ends at 5pm and sometimes, at 8pm, depending on the tasks at hand. And afterwards, he attends school to complete a professional course in his speciality, accounting. Louis wants to become a certified public accountant.
So, what excites him about his job? The exposure to people in different industries, which means that he is always getting an opportunity to learn something new. Another thing that he loves is the prospect of being able to provide solutions and products for customers within GE that are tailored to their needs. The opportunities to expand and grow are endless, empowering one to eventually become an expert.
Louis recalls an experience that he had while attending a training course in the US last year that helped shape his thinking about himself and how he viewed his life. The training was focused on business and was technical in nature, and he had not had technical training before. It was quite a challenge to understand the technical aspects, but he completed it successfully, overcoming the challenges he had. This is when he realised the importance of stepping out of one’s comfort zone.
“You will only realise your full potential when you are pushed out of your comfort zone and this is very important. We sometimes get too confined within our comfort zones and we do not realise our true potential. This is what I enjoyed about my hands-on experience at GE as it gives you the impactful picture of what you are doing.”
As a result, Louis has been guiding colleagues, sharing advice and imparting knowledge on how to pursue opportunities within oil and gas in their region.
“GE has good leaders that do not hesitate to advise or mentor. Challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone. This is the beginning of realising your full potential.”