Thursday August 27 2020

 

My Network feature today with Joseph Thuku

I wouldn’t be here if not for my lofty dreams and ambitions

Joseph Thuku holds two undergraduate degrees, one in law and one in accounting.

·       Every day I have a briefing session with the chairman and CEO about ongoing projects.

·       My idea was to leverage on technology to serve clients, and we identified a gap in the alcoholic beverages industry. 

Why do you have two undergraduate degrees?

When I was choosing my career path, I really benefitted from the advice of my family and friends. Also, I consider law and accounting essential life skills which everyone should have, regardless of class or creed. I mean, the law applies to us whether we like it or not. Similarly, everyone must learn to effectively manage his or her personal finances. In the corporate world, all decisions have both financial and legal implications. I realised that being competent in both law and accounting would give me a competitive edge.

How were you able to pursue two degrees at the same time?

It took considerable sacrifice on my part, but my lofty dreams and ambitions kept me going. My family and friends also provided a strong support system and encouraged me to finish what I started.

What is the advantage of having two degrees?

I believe that our careers shape our worldview and influence our approach to issues because of the people and ideas they expose us to. Therefore, having more than one degree enables one to see things from more than one perspective and as a result, you may be able to make better decisions. This is a valuable skill, which is in high demand in all facets of life.

What have you achieved so far?

The two degrees enabled me to get my current job at SGA Security and to excel in it. As you can imagine, it is not easy to come across someone who has professional knowledge in both law and accounting. They say that lawyers do not like crunching numbers, so I chose to be the one who actually does.

My accounting degree also enabled me to work as an auditor in a popular accounting firm, and this helped me gain valuable experience in how companies are run.

I think I gained more from my experience at the audit firm because I was not only keen on learning the accounting aspect of the company, but its legal aspects too.

Additionally, as a young person, having diverse knowledge in different fields earns you more respect from older colleagues who may have many more years of experience, but in only one area of expertise.

Finally, this combination really helped me when I was starting my businesses because I had to do everything by myself as I waited for the business to grow.

What does your role at SGA involve?

I support the group chairman, the CEO and the board of directors to make sound decisions and implement good strategies for the company. I often lead a number of our company’s projects which are run by our teams in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Every day I have a briefing session with the chairman and CEO about ongoing projects.

I also attend board meetings, take minutes and engage senior managers on the progress of our initiatives. I also coordinate company secretaries and legal advisors.

What do you love most about your role?

I get to learn a lot by being involved in different projects and initiatives and by interacting with talented and experienced board members and senior executives. It is never a dull day when supporting top level managers.

Tell us about Mobar…

Mobar is an alcohol delivery app. My partner and I created it when I was still in university, at a time when I was thinking about getting into business. My idea was to leverage on technology to serve clients, and we identified a gap in the alcoholic beverages industry. 

 We made the access of alcohol safer for consumers by reducing risky late-night alcohol runs. Additionally, we saw convenience as an emerging trend. Nowadays, everyone wants to get everything at the snap of their fingers. Mobar solved these two problems. If you have the app, all you need to do is place an order and you’ll have it delivered wherever you are.

Creating Mobar was one of the most exciting and challenging experiences of my life, but I am no longer involved in its day to day management.

Between running a business and being employed, which one do you prefer?

I am an entrepreneur at heart and I think entrepreneurship can be pursued both as a career and as a hobby. The important thing is to develop innovative solutions to solve the salient problems. At my place of work, I am part of an entrepreneurial team that is focused on inventing high-tech security solutions for our clients.

What are your other interests?

I had developed an interest in hiking, but the Covid-19 pandemic has made it difficult for me to do that. I am still looking forward to climbing Mt Kenya this year. I also enjoy reading books that touch on personal development. I am also considering pursuing an online Master’s degree.

What advice would you give your younger self?

To never shy away from stepping out of my comfort zone because that is where great opportunities lie. You may just discover something new. Also, set audacious goals. Who knows? You might actually achieve them!