“I know Forbes and other people have called me a billionaire. But I don’t want to be a billionaire of shillings. I want to be a billionaire of dollars. That is the destination I feel I need to get to because I have the capacity to do it. And therefore I work many hours,” Businessman Chris Kirubi says while welcoming the second group of Centum Investment Graduate Program.
“Please follow the example of what some of us do. Why should I work twice as hard as you and then you say I am more successful than you?” Kirubi who is also the Chairman of the company and the largest shareholder challenges the young 22 participants.
Centum Graduate Program is an annual initiative that identifies fresh graduates, with a winning attitude and high leadership potential from a broad array of study disciplines and across East Africa.
This year, East Africa’s leading investment company has taken the program a notch higher by taking on board the 22 participants from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.
The participants were selected from over the 6,000 applications received after a rigorous selection process from an array of technical backgrounds including; engineering, actuarial science, law, commerce, economics, architecture and IT among others.
The company launched its inaugural graduate program in August 2013 with 11 participants from Kenya and Uganda.
Kirubi challenged them to take advantage of the opportunity at Centum of not only discovering who they want to be in life but working hard towards their dreams.
“My experience in poverty was the best school to train me. But I said poverty was not my destination that I was going to remain in. I always gave myself goals, targets; that even what I achieve today I call it a mirage because I always see a new target emerge somewhere,” he says to the attentive audience.
“I can assure you that so many have no idea of what they will do tomorrow. And if you have no direction, you never get lost -because you are going nowhere. But anyway, some people are happy to be going nowhere,” he says.
During the forum, Centum CEO James Mworia who has grown in the company from an intern to his current position echoed Kirubi’s words adding that it was time for young people to set goals and work extremely hard towards their goals.
He calls them to try and emulate some of his leadership principles which include leading oneself, always seeking to grow, reading a lot and practicing leadership by intentionally desiring to grow.
“The higher you go, the less your entitlement and the greater your responsibility,” Mworia says.
After a one year training, the successful graduates are later absorbed to serve in various Centum sections.