Employee Profile: Vincent Kucherera
24 year old Vincent, one of Rift Valley's financial analysts, has just graduated from the Harare Institute of Technology. We asked Vincent to tell us his story, which is an inspiring tale of courage and faith, despite hard circumstances…
Tell us about your upbringing
I was born and grew up in a rural area in Masvingo, called Nyajena. My parents passed away in 2000, when I was aged eight and at that time I was in grade 2 at school. My grandmother Mrs Misi Kuchererah, became my primary caregiver.
It was through the Dutch Home based care program which supports orphans that I got financial assistance to pay for primary and secondary school as well as examination fees for ZIMSEC Ordinary Level.
For my primary education, I was enrolled with Garai Primary School and went on to Tugwane High School for my secondary education. I did my Advanced Level at Nemakonde High School in Chinhoyi where I got financial assistance from my aunt, who unfortunately passed away in 2011.
My uncle, Isaiah Kuchererah brought me to Harare where I applied for BTech Honors degree in Financial Engineering at Harare Institute of Technology “HIT”, but we were facing financial challenges even though we were selling confectionery in restaurants. In bid to secure funding for my undergraduate studies I applied for financial assistance from Old Mutual Group. I didn't get a good response from Old Mutual, but it was through this application that Pelvis Kwamukwamba (Old Mutual employee) came forward. He paid 36 % of my first semester tuition fees through his personal funds. I paid the other 36% from my salary (I was employed as a messenger at ZB Bank). I was supposed to pay for the full fees but I couldn't, and managed to liase with the Dean of Students in the School of Business and Management Sciences, and was accepted to attend lectures.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I have passion in financial mathematics and agriculture, such that as I was growing up, my desire was to work at the intersection of the two. My passion is to do agricultural finance, so that I can increase the efficiency and profitability of agricultural firms, as well as reducing the risk in lending.
What has been the greatest challenge you have faced in your life?
Lack of funds to pay for my exam fees at Ordinary Level, I was doing ten subject but due to lack of finance I ended up writing six subjects. Fortunately, I managed to procced with my academic education. When I got to University I couldn't pay for my tuition fees especially for year one and two. Year three was better as I was attached to Rift Valley, and I managed to save my allowances to pay for my fees.
How did you get an internship at Rift Valley?
How has it benefited you and what impact has it made in your life? I was introduced to Rift Valley by my mentor Richard Honey, who also advised me to apply for an internship position which I subsequently did and successfully obtained. I started working in the Business Analysis and Planning Unit under the supervision of Nick De Swardt. The Chief of Staff, Christian Westerlind Wigstrom was my company mentor.
I acquired technical, analytical and leadership skills. I learnt how to analyse and interpret financial statements, examining and interpreting data from different sources and understanding the impact this would have for investment decision making. I gained work experience as I had an opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge in real business environment. I learnt to be responsible and independent since I had been given the responsibility to analyse a contract farming business of the group. I am now a team player and my business communication skills have improved. When I went back to school for final year I was a guru in Financial Modelling and Simulation because I had learnt from a good teacher, Mr De Swardt. I do appreciate, RVC members for their professionalism, help and support.
This helped me in my education as it was part of my degree. I am happy to inform you that I got I distinction on my internship module.
With the Zimbabwe, economic situation and high rate of unemployment, I am one of the few graduates who got employed with a stable and growing company like Rift Valley. This has a positive impact on my economic wellbeing and academic progress. Now I can support my grandmother as well as giving back to the community I came from.
Describe the day you graduated
The emotions of accomplishing this chapter of my life was overwhelming and beyond description thou it's the beginning!
What advice would you give to other young Zimbabweans in your shoes?
I would like to say, work very hard and find business mentors who can support and equip you. Pay attention to their seniors in every business environment. Above all pray and Honour the Almighty God.