How I got my first banking job and rose to the top – Tony Elumelu

Tony Elumelu

            By Nehru Odeh
Mr Tony Elumelu, founder, of The Tony Elumelu Foundation and Chair of the Board of United Bank for Africa, UBA, has opened up on how he got his first banking job. He made this known on his verified Facebook account on Friday 3 February alongside his photograph as a young man during his youth service days.
Elumelu, who was named on Time’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2020, said he got his first banking job which he had applied for a few years after his Master’s degree programme even when he knew he did not meet the job requirement.
According to Elumelu, the bank had specified it needed graduates with at least Second Class Upper degrees. However, he applied for the job even though he had a Second Class Lower degree “because I identified what I wanted in life and I was going to work towards it.”

Tony Elumelu, right, with a soft drink, as a corp member in Sokoto, around 1985

He said he got the job and spent every day proving himself and earning his luck at the bank.
Elumelu said: “A few years later, after my Masters, I saw the application for graduates with a minimum of 2:1 in All States Trust Bank, this aligned with what I wanted for my life, but my 2:2 grade did not make me qualified, still,
“I applied because I identified what I wanted in life and I was going to work towards it. I put in my application and said ‘Even though I do not meet these requirements if you give me the chance, I will prove myself’. I got this job and spent every day proving myself and earning my luck in the bank.”
Elumelu also said in his uncertainty he was sure of one thing, that he would stand out whenever he found himself through hard work and brilliance.
He added that he had always admired the banking job because of the way bankers were impeccably dressed.
“I had always admired the banking profession, for one, I loved that the guys in the profession were always impeccably dressed… suspenders were a huge thing then, and I wanted to look like them.
Elumelu then used the opportunity to motivate the youths and corp members who completed their National Youth Service the day before.
“Do it afraid and do it unsure! To the young ones out there, especially those who just passed out of NYSC yesterday, this is my message to you. The world needs your courage,” he averred.