Chronicles of an IJGB — 2

Andela — the early beginnings, friendship & growth

I had just come out of the Breakfast event at CcHub and was on the way to my next destination for the day, Andela.

The love was real yesterday when I visited Andela Nigeria (scroll to the end and you’ll see).

Malik was so surprised to see me; peep Ore behind me
❤ That brotherly hug
3 Musketeers

I had become friends with AbdulMalik and Ore_Olan (Fellows at Andela) and we had somewhat kept in touch with each other on Twitter.

Particularly, Malik and I had a special greeting which he still fondly remembers. We shook and hugged like 100 times. Then, Ore came to join us to make it an even bigger reunion.

N.B —All the 2018 pictures of me in brown T-shirt were taken by my friend, Rotimi.

In April 2016, I had written about what it’s like to intern at Andela, but I never really told the full story of how I got to work there. I summarised it with “… the rest they say is history”, in that April 2016 post.

So, today feels like a good day to tell the full story (to those who don’t already know). Who is ready?

The full story about how I got into Andela

I got into Andela, at a time when I had offers from Citi and KPMG, circa June 2015. Till date, I have not had cause to regret the decision.

My primary purpose of going to Andela then was to learn to code. I applied as a Fellow, the name given to the participants on their 4-year Technical Leadership Program. But because I was an undergrad I would either have to drop-out or forfeit the fellowship.

However, my original plan was to pass enough to get through the 2-week bootcamp and then figure out what next from there (perhaps, run away to school). But it didn’t work that way.

Considering the less than 1% final acceptance rate, I just wanted to give it a shot. Fortunately for me, I got past the online assessment stage and got invited for an interview.

May 27, 2015 at Andela’s Amity Campus Rooftop

On the day of my interview, while I was led up to the rooftop where the interviews were to take place, I came across one of the people I had trained with a year before, Temilade, she was now a member of the HR team at this young startup, Andela.

We hugged and exchanged pleasantries, then the big question: “What are you doing here”, she quipped.

Didn’t know whether to come clean or maneuvre. I answered, “I came for an interview to join the fellowship”. “But you are not done with University now”, she added. It was at this point that I broke down to her and before I finished talking she said, “Don’t worry, let me introduce you to my boss”.

Guess who her boss was?! A co-founder of Andela, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji (aka E), a then 24-year old Nigerian serial entrepreneur.

Iyin Aboyeji

Coincidentally, of the staff billed to interview candidates, E was to interview me. It went thus, “You are so young and you are in University, do you want to drop-out or…”.

“Drop-out?!”, I thought to myself, “There is no way I am going to drop-out with just a year left of undergrad to go”, I continued to myself. While, I was still processing the information, I saw Temilade sprinting across the room to remind E that I was the person she had told him about.

Sigh, I was relieved because that saved me an almost awkward situation.

E adds something of this nature, “Oh, I can work with him, he’s smart, but I think Ebun was looking for an intern to join his department, take him to Ebun and if Ebun doesn’t want him, I’ll have him”.

Fast forward and Ebun, the then Director of Success was the lucky guy to have me 😉

So, she took me downstairs to meet Ebun, a Nigerian American with the American accent. I had a 20-minute “chat” with him and I got invited for a “proper” interview with someone from HR, Sayo and himself.

To my surprise, the interview lasted a whole 60-mins. After which I got offered the internship which my friend, Temilade earlier suggested. Thank you, Temi! Read what I learnt at Andela here (if you have not already):

Fast-forward to 2018: Growth & Friends

Between Andela 2015 and now, the following things happened:

  • Completed my BSc. at Covenant University, NG
  • Interned at stutern
  • Started my Masters at Lancaster University, UK
  • Engaged in a Google Internship
  • Completed my Masters and even
  • Grew my Twitter following by over 600% from ~700 to ~5000

Also, I grew a beard and increased in maturity.

Let’s take a look at these epic throwbacks plus comparisons.

Me and Malik

2015; 2018

Me, Aivee and Sayo

The bright pictures represent 2018, and the dark ones represent 2015. Remember, Sayo, the HR lady that interviewed me?

Visiting Andela’s EPIC tower, February 6, 2018

Prior to visiting Andela’s EPIC tower, I had visited Amity and M55 in Yaba. Adding EPIC tower was like mission-accomplished because I can now boast of visiting all of Andela Nigeria’s offices since 2015.

While preparing to visit Andela from CcHub, I messaged Rotimi to let him know I was on my way, man was shook, he was like “Just like that”. Thinking back, I’m sorry for barging in on him, LOL, I just thought, why not?

At the top of my priority list at Andela was to take a picture here! It’s where famous people like MrEazi took theirs, so yes, I’ve unceremoniously joined the ranks.

Which of the three is your favourite?

Met with some of my other friends at Andela, including Ebun, my former Manager.

Ebun, Gbenga and Deborah

Had lunch with a few folks, one of which was Bayo, a fellow CU Graduate. We’ve been interacting on Twitter but had never met in person. So, this was a great opportunity to meet!

Left: Bayo, when he heard I was eating their food. Right: When I told him, “Smile, Jesus loves you”

Likewise, Bolaji.

Shot with the Pixel

After lunch at Andela, I said my goodbyes and off I was to TechCityNG to meet Miss Iyere-Okojie (aka BellaRose).

Watch out for the next episode and never forget:

Brilliance is evenly distributed

See you by my next blog post!