Alum of the Month

Frank Okafor

Frank Okafor

August 2018

New York Program

August 2012 Intake

Current Role: Director/AVP Institutional Securities Group Projects Organisation at Morgan Stanley

What and where did you study before your Mountbatten internship?
MSc. International Marketing, Coventry University, UK.

What made you apply for the Mountbatten programme?
A quest for career development. Having started out in Retail Banking, I wanted to give myself more scope for career advancement and the internship presented the perfect opportunity.

Describe your sponsor company and your role within it.
I interned at Investment Banking firm – Morgan Stanley as an Operations Analyst.
Morgan Stanley provides investment banking products and services to its clients and customers including corporations, governments, financial institutions, and individuals. It operates through the following business segments: Institutional Securities, Wealth Management, and Investment Management.
A consistent industry leader throughout decades of dramatic change in modern finance. At its foundation are four core values — putting clients first, doing the right thing, leading with exceptional ideas and giving back — that guides its more than 55,000 employees in 1,200 offices across 43 countries.

What was the highlight/most memorable moment of your working experience during this year?
Being part of a great team and meeting and working with incredibly smart and exceptional people.

What was the social highlight/most memorable moment during this year?
The iconic New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in 2012 was an incredible spectacle to witness. The experience is still vivid in my mind - standing on the balcony of a high-rise on a very chilly night that saw over 3 million people snake their way around Time Square in New York city. The first ball drop was in 1907, and so it was interesting to witness the continuation of that tradition.

Please share a little wisdom/philosophy that you acquired during your internship
Focusing on small wins can make a big difference. I sat for my Project Management Certification exam during my internship year, giving myself just 6 weeks to prepare. The successful completion made a difference in my work and was a contributing factor to the firm’s decision to consider me for full-time hire.

If you could change anything about your internship, what would it be?
I would have liked to see more interaction between the Alumni community and serving interns. I believe learning about their experiences would have gone a long way.

What happened after completing the year - what did you do next?
I returned to Nigeria where I established a Consultancy practice, delivering business enterprise solutions.

Where are you now in your working life and what do you do?
I now work full-time for Morgan Stanley, and since August of 2014 as a Director/AVP in the firm’s Institutional Securities Group Projects Organisation. 7 months after completing my internship I was invited to interview for a permanent role, despite only having the internship year as my only investment banking experience. Subsequently I was offered a middle management position. This was in consonance with 2 successful performance reviews during the internship year that put me in the firm’s top percentile and feedback from my line Manager expressing confidence that I could operate successfully in a managerial capacity.

Based in London, I currently serve as the EMEA & North America Projects Lead with responsibility for delivering Listed Derivatives project commitments to our Clearing and Financial & Collateral Operations partners. This role has afforded me the opportunity to work on some of the biggest regulations and events shaping financial markets such as The EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and BREXIT.

What achievement have you been most proud of so far?
In November 2014 I was a recipient of the Morgan Stanley Global Excellence Award for successfully implementing a significant piece of EU regulation, ensuring the firm’s compliance to new trade settlement rules across 31 EEA markets. It is one of my proudest moments as a Project Manager having only come into the role 2 months prior to the regulation’s go-live and having to quickly learn and figure out how to mitigate some really significant risks with substantial consequences, had the firm failed to be compliant.

Do you have any future plans that you would like to realise & what are they (career & social)?
I am currently augmenting my skill-set to focus more on Solutions Design with technology as the driver. My belief is that this will enable me realise my vision of identifying innovative ways to solve some of the most critical problems bedevilling African countries. A Consulting firm I founded a few years ago (Neuts) is already involved in delivering Start-up Business solutions and Enterprise Training to entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

Is there any other information that you would like to be included?
I have a passion for human capital development and I use public speaking as one way to realise that. I have been a guest speaker at Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) events here in the UK and available for guest speaking opportunities.