Gerald Soko

Credit Suisse Asset Management
Global Real Estate

Master student in Economics, University of Zambia
Feb 1 – April 30, 2018

Im Moment nur in Englisch verfügbar.

At work

More than I expected, the people around me especially my mentor and team members were very helpful. My mentor was always there for me and he made sure I learnt as much as I could within the time the internship program allowed. I was lucky to be assigned to the division I wanted (research) and loved what I did. Before coming here, I was skeptical about whether a banking environment had serious research to professionally grow someone with ambitions of a career in the field of research but the experience took all that skepticism away.

For a reasonable period in the recent past, my greatest fear has always been not being able to apply what I was taught at the university in my career days. However, the level at which economics is applied in the business world is amazing as far as research is concerned. I love to be challenged in everything I do and having being able to handle independent projects will forever remain one of my sources of pride so far as this internship was concerned.

I may not be right to say that I am an exact replica of my mentor as regards global real estate research expertise but saying that I am his prototype is no exaggeration. I cannot ask for a fuller basket of both technical and soft skills given the allowable period.

My Swiss host family

An environment where someone feels welcomed, safe, free to decide what they want to do, the owners are more than willing to help you integrate and where a visitor instantly becomes part of the family programs is the best way I can describe my stay with Philipp and Elena. They always took interest in what I was doing at work and how my stay was in Switzerland and if ever I needed their help. Having outlined to them, they treated my objectives and affairs like theirs by helping me achieve them.

Highlights and challenges in Switzerland

Coming to Europe for the first, it was an exciting three-month stay in Switzerland. I observed a lot of differences in terms of how people live here ranging from food culture to gender roles including the efficiency of the transport system. Unlike back home, the kitchen is not considered as a place for a woman and I was lucky to be taught how to prepare a number of international dishes predominantly by male host. While I found Swiss people as reserved, the level of trust they have for humans is astonishing.

Coming from a different climatic environment, winter in Switzerland was quite challenging in the early days as I had to adapt to extremely cold weather. Over time however, I took advantage of the snow to try a new sport called skiing - something we do not do in Zambia owing to absence of snow. Though not at home, language differences made it difficult to interact with random individuals especially on the street.

My future plans

First of all, what I learnt has affirmed my decision of being a researcher and this opportunity provided me with the necessary tools and primary experience at a big stage for one to thrive in a research field. In the immediate future, I want to deepen and broaden my research skills and therefore plan to get a job in a social and economic policy think tank or the central bank without ruling out research divisions of such international organizations as the UN, IMF and international business houses.

Having broadened and deepened my research expertise, I plan to formalize and grow my micro consultancy firm focusing on research. The ultimate goal of this is to help raise funds which will help in fighting poverty through offering education opportunities to orphans and children coming from disadvantaged families.

Personal message

As the world, especially Africa, grapples with the problem of youth unemployment amid tight experience demand from employers, the work B360 is doing is more than commendable. This does not just give the alumni a higher employability probability, but it also (and maybe most importantly) provides those with entrepreneurial drives with the startup financial capital through the allowances that partner organizations offer. Zikomo kwambiri (thank you very much) for supporting the vision of the Southern African youth!!!

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