by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Ngozi Francis is a Forbes Under 30 Scholar
- Francis with 3 friends formed non-profit organisation Gennovate
- In 2019, will intern at Goldman Sachs’ Investment Banking division
At 19, Grenada-born Ngozi Francis has embodied values of Forbes’ entrepreneurial spirit which has landed him the opportunity to feature as a Forbes Under 30 Scholar.
At this year’s Forbes Under 30 Summit, held in Boston from 30 September to 3 October 2018, Francis was among 7,000 young entrepreneurs, visionaries and innovators, given the rare opportunity of learning from the world’s most influential world-class speakers, including investors, celebrities, musicians, sports stars, cultural icons, world-renowned chefs and political and business leaders, all of whom represent the entrepreneurial spirit of the Forbes Under 30 franchise.
“Attending the Forbes Under 30 Summit was one the most amazing and impactful experiences of my life,” Francis said. He told NOW Grenada that the Forbes Under 30 Summit serves as a platform to learn, network, collaborate and exchange ideas of the future.
“I met and connected with awesome individuals doing a great work in their respective industries. It was an eye-opener to be exposed to advise that didn’t follow traditional paths. In school, we are influenced to get a degree and then use that to get a high-paying job or start a business. Many of the individuals I met didn’t follow this path; some were high school and college dropouts who were able to start successful businesses! One of my biggest takeaways is that we should run our own race, not that of our parents, friends or family. Everyone will have their opinions about what you should be doing, but you shouldn’t allow that influence the decisions you want to make. Some individuals will be more successful than you, or smarter, or richer, but we should not allow that to deter us from finding ourselves and doing what we want. Perspective is everything!”
Born in the US to Grenadian parents Shirley Francis and Ulrick Scoon, Francis moved to Grenada as a baby. He grew up in Grenville, St Andrew. He migrated to Brooklyn, USA at the age of 13, after attending the St Andrew’s Anglican Primary and Secondary schools. He currently attends New York University on a full scholarship, majoring in Economics.
One of the achievements that got him recognised by Forbes was his involvement with 3 friends in the formation of a non-profit organisation called Gennovate.
The non-profit organisation introduces on-demand skills such as design thinking, provided mentorship and instilled a go-getter attitude to over 100 high school students in New York City through project-based work, panels, workshops, and events.
Francis who has a passion for a lucrative career in the financial market admitted that while growing up, he had short-lived dreams of becoming an anaesthesiologist, but decided to pursue a career in economics.
“Growing up, I wanted to become an anaesthesiologist, but I quickly realised it was just a career I chose by searching up ‘highest paying jobs’ online. I decided to do a little bit of soul searching; after speaking to various individuals, I decided to major in economics, a very universal degree that I can use in a number of careers. I am grateful that I did so because I actually developed an interest in the field. I am fascinated by the global economy and the role financial institutions play in allowing businesses to grow and the global economy to expand. I still do not know exactly what I want to do in the long run, but I do have some goals and initiatives that I want to accomplish. After college, my plan is to do investment banking and see what happens from there.”
Francis has had the experience of being an intern at some of the world’s largest financial firms and will be selected in 2019 to be an intern at Goldman Sachs.
“I do have an interest in the stock exchange market. My interest stems from hearing about the market on the news and in my school, and not knowing exactly how it worked, and not having an understanding of the aspects of the industry. I have a strong intellectual curiosity and have taken it upon myself to learn more about the field. I am part of a career development program called Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), in which I gained the technical knowledge of the financial services industry. This past summer I interned at one of the four biggest accounting firms in the world, Ernst and Young (EY), within their Financial Services Organisation division. There I built on my knowledge of the financial market. In the summer of 2019, I will be interning at Goldman Sachs in their Investment Banking division.”
Francis told NOW Grenada that as part of his future goals, he would like to establish a mentorship firm that offers Grenadians and other Caribbean students the chance to access the necessary resources and opportunities where they can intern at some of the world’s successful companies and connect with career professionals from around the world.
And for people wishing to pursue their dreams of entering into the financial services industry, Francis gave some advice on how to make those dream a reality.
“Firstly, read books or watch YouTube videos (YouTube is my preference) to gain an understanding of the industry, both the ideologies and the technical aspect of it. Stay updated with the global news and what is happening in the financial market. When you see a topic, always ask yourself “Why?” — like “Why did this happen?” “Why did interest rates raise?” “Why is XYZ economy doing badly?” etc. This will enable you to get a deep understanding of what is happening and you will be able to apply your knowledge to various scenarios. Secondly, reach out to as many individuals as you can to learn about their experience and how you can gain a deep set of knowledge and skill set within this industry. By doing this you will also be exposing yourself to opportunities that you may not have known about. To get started, I would say the first step should be to create a LinkedIn and connect with individuals that are in the industry or have something in common with you. Get to know about their experience and ask them to connect you with other individuals: this will allow you to build your network. Lastly, you need to be hungry and have a strong drive. You need to be ready to work really hard for what you want and expect there to be down times, but since you are so driven, have the confidence to know that you can get through these moments.”
Francis is expected to graduate from New York University with a Bachelor’s in Economics in 2020.