Voices@Athena- Twaambo Hamusute

"Two weeks after completing my last examination paper at the University of Zambia, I was offered my first formal job."

Twaambo Hamusute
Chief Executive Officer
Zambian Home Loans Limited

Executive MBA-Business Analytics Batch 2020

Beginning of an exciting career

Two weeks after completing my last examination paper at the University of Zambia, I was offered my first formal job. I joined Aon Risk Services Zambia Limited as a Graduate Trainee – Insurance Broker. It was a typical start for a fresh graduate but I was excited, the feeling was exhilarating which made me sign the contract minutes after being handed a copy without even thoroughly reading through it, an act I was to later regret.

I was new to the insurance profession, a profession very few of my fellow citizens understood. Luckily, I was assigned to a Division Manager who turned out to be more than my manager. He was a true leader. I asked him all manner of silly questions on insurance terms, reasons for insurance and situations several times but he took it all without being ruffled. A patient, humble, father-like figure – he was my leader, my mentor and I grew to respect him a lot.

In my nearly two years at Aon, I became a fully-fledged insurance professional, studied for a Diploma in Insurance, learning from my superiors and handling various client situations. We dealt with business development, sourcing new business on behalf of insurance companies, managing claims from clients, ensuring quick turnaround time to guarantee customer satisfaction. We worked on risk surveys and handled several challenging and exciting assignments.

In my second year at Aon, my passion and love for the job were slowly fading away, mostly due to low pay and frustration from unfulfilled promises. Promises are given to me and my colleagues (we were three of us) as the first graduate trainees in the company. One fateful Friday evening, while enjoying a monthly drink with the entire team and some board members, I overheard our Managing Director commenting disdainfully on the plight of the company’s first graduate trainees. Clearly, he had had a bit too much whiskey that night; nevertheless, that moment of carelessness exposed his true feelings. To a young and ambitious employee, the comment was heartbreaking and on that very evening, I made the decision to leave the Company.

Shortly after that fateful Friday, a former lecturer of mine invited me to join his research team on a research project assessing the social and economic impact of the International Monetary Fund’s structural adjustment programme in Zambia. I got a few days annual leave and left for Mongu District, the Capital of Zambia’s Western Province. While at Mongu, I got a call from a friend I had met while searching for employment. He was a Marketing Manager at a subsidiary of the global giant, Barclays Bank. At that time, he was running a TV programme on Economics and Finance during which he interviewed prominent personalities – mostly government officials. I used to help him with research in preparation for the programme. 

On that day, he called to check on me and when I informed him I was in Mongu conducting research, he asked me whether I would be interested in a temporary job as a Project Researcher at the Bank. He informed me that the Bank was looking for someone to conduct market surveys in preparation for their network expansion project. The project was a GBP25 Million endeavour that saw the bank more than double its branch network and recruit over three thousand sales agents. With my frustrating experience at Aon, I did not hesitate. I answered in the affirmative and a few weeks after that, I got an offer of employment letter from the bank. I was ready for a new challenge. 

My new challenge was even more exciting.

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