From intern to employee

Nicolas Ngon Kemoum

"There’s a lot of opportunities once you’re in, and when you understand what you’re doing, it’s very fulfilling. "

  • About Nicolas

    Position: Area Sales Manager (Central/Western Africa), MAKEEN Energy France
    Education: Advanced Masters in Energy Management
    Intern: 2018
    Employee: 2020

How did you end up as an intern at MAKEEN Energy? What did you do before?

I started at MAKEEN Energy in October 2018 as part of a French program for graduates at higher educational institutions. I come from a commercial background and I was studying an advanced master’s degree in Energy Management, so I knew that I would like to find an international opportunity combining the technical with the commercial. The program that I joined basically means that you volunteer to work for a company abroad – so you sign a contract with a company, but they send you abroad first. So, I went to Nigeria for a little over a year, and this was my first experience with the company.

What was your first experience with MAKEEN Energy like?

We work with concrete materials at MAKEEN Energy, the equipment and the machines that we produce are things that you can physically see and understand. It was very interesting to work with concrete material, and to see the back-office of our company was interesting as well. I really liked that it was an international atmosphere – I was introduced to my team in France, but also to one in Denmark.

Can you describe your journey to where you are now?

It has been a very interesting and rich process. As part of the “internship”, I went to trainings in both Portugal and Denmark. Coming from a French background, it allowed me to merge into different cultures – I also learned much more about the products that we are selling. After these trainings I went to Nigeria, working in the front sales team. Although it was a training programme, I was working on the ground, being in the country, prospecting for new projects and developing new contacts. I had to come back to France a bit earlier than planned due to COVID-19, but in the end that wasn’t so bad, because everyone else was in the same situation. I continued working with the same tasks in sales back here in France, and then I was offered a permanent contract.

What is the best thing about your job – and the most challenging?

I am very happy about the product we’re putting on the market and how we can change things on the ground. It really gives me the motivation to give my best and to stay with MAKEEN Energy. Africa is still developing, there’s still a lot of things to be built and to be put in place. Energy access is very different compared to, for example, Europe. When I was in Nigeria, I experienced a lot of power shortage. You can spend several days just working to fix a generator, and knowing that I’m in a company that is looking at improving energy access to people – and doing it the right way – yeah, that is the best.

One of the biggest challenges right now for me is adapting to different situations. It can be different countries, different types of customers, different ways of living. But I also think the challenge is made worse by current movement limitations because of the pandemic.

What would you say to someone considering applying for an internship with MAKEEN Energy?

To have no hesitation. If you’re someone who is willing to have an open mind and push comfort zones, then it’s the place to apply. There’s a lot of opportunities once you’re in, and when you understand what you’re doing it’s very fulfilling.

Coming as an intern or trainee, you have very little professional experience. MAKEEN Energy is a really good option in terms of training and enhancing your skills. For a young professional, it’s really a good opportunity.