My first month at Gumi & Company

Bonjour. I am Toluwalase Muse; always watching cartoons, reading and getting involved in teaching… and then work happened. One moment I am at a business summit with a friend and the next I am being convinced about applying to an innovation firm I had no previous knowledge of.

I grudgingly and confidently (both at the same time) submitted an application and got a call scheduling an initial discussion; this I assumed was going to be a routine HR officer — applicant session but it ended up being with a senior member of the firm. In his words this was to get a ‘feel’ for the candidate and I was asked questions that ranged from my understanding of the role to my thoughts on football culture. The call lasted about five minutes. Short and precise. Two weeks later, I got a mail… I made it to round two.

I anticipated a call to visit the company office for the second interview; till I was informed it was going to be via a Skype call with a Senior Executive at one of Nigeria’s leading indigenous professional services companies. I found this rather unusual but very convenient. She asked me several questions and we spoke with at length. The call however was so engaging I almost forgot it was an interview. I was really starting to like the company.

At the third and final interview, I met the Managing Director, who actually redefined my expectations of personalities holding such positions. To start, I was asked to refrain from dressing up like corporate lackeys but to instead mirror the firm’s dressed down style. This was surprising and the interview format amusing. As a newbie job seeker, the picture I had of a Managing Director was a curt, domineering figure; however, he was none of that. He was friendly and encouraged me to feel relaxed through the interview which was conducted in a conversational manner. We talked about business, the role — the need for a cultural and expertise fit, he shared the firm’s vision and we shared some jokes and some personal experiences. It was not like the normal stiff interview I had prepared to have. I admitted to myself that Gumi was going to be an awesome place to work.

I got offered the role and boom… I signed up to join this crazy firm as the new Information and Knowledge Analyst.

Previously, I had been responsible for the Speaker Management at the pioneering Tedx team in Delta state. A graduate of French and International studies, I was in search of a great organization, with great people hoping to do amazing work and that on a personal level will allow me express my passions and reach my potential, and I had teaching in mind (was not sure at the beginning how this tied with working in an innovation firm but it is all coming together now)

Early days

Day One- On boarding.

I was exposed to the unique meaning of Gumi (hint: Google your African language). For the orientation, I imagined sitting and taking in all the information that would be fed me but this was unique. I was asked to give my opinion and it was critical for my voice to be heard. I was taken through the firm’s objectives, my roles as an employee and the hierarchies of growth within the company. I was introduced to my assigned mentor, who would guide me in my growth both as a Gumie (a worker at Gumi) and as a person; my peer, who would help me get settled at work and my supervisor. Although I had a lean knowledge about consulting, I was made to understand that Gumi is a company keen on the learning and development of its employees. An added feature is the firm’s remote-friendly work configuration (super).

First two weeks

Admittedly, they were rough. I was provided with resources to digest as well as tasked with deliverables, and this seemed like a herculean task due to time management problems. I had a fear of not being able to perform due to my limited exposure to business design concepts and this caused me to panic whenever I could not complete a task on time.

I had my first mentor-mentee session and we discussed work issues. She chided me for allowing my fears to cage me from performing and let me understand that I was not hired firstly for prowess but for the ability to be open minded and a fast learner. During our talk, she encouraged me to be bold in the midst of the fear and do the best I can at every given task.

My supervisor, on the other hand, did not push me to a wall whenever I did not meet up with the tasks. He only stressed that if I was having difficulties, I should let him know and in his words help comes to those who call for it at Gumi (Harry Potter references ✔).

Getting the hang of this

Next two weeks

I got better at task handling (yay!). I let myself learn more and perform better. I learnt to make world-class (seriously) presentations and practiced with books I had been provided with. I have also been learning more about making white papers, the importance of researching wide, creating magic in consulting and new business models among other things. There is always new knowledge to be assimilated and this has tremendously widened my exposure.

At Gumi, future thinking is our focus. The work atmosphere is challenging and thrilling. During our free time, sometimes we play games and other times we banter about. The employee value propositions are off the charts. It also helps that I can approach my Chief; yea supervisors have nick names, whenever I need his attention.

Having the opportunity to work here is golden (and you’d probably agree with me on this). I have a list of goals that I would like to meet. By three months, I aim to write my first successful white paper (to be published December), in six months I want to have my confirmation as a Gumie, second white paper and first promotion (yea, it is possible) ; and in one year I want to have attained fluency in a new language and written my third white paper. Don’t worry about missing out on all the action; I promise to keep you posted occasionally.

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”

― Aristotle

Muse Toluwalase

Gumi & Company

Fun Trivia: The firm is always looking to hire talented people, drop us a line on and you are at least guaranteed a thoroughly enjoyable and professional screening process. And maybe more.

Business Design | Innovation | People