AmbassadorsAt Work

Reaching a Verdict: My Journey as a Legal and Compliance Intern

5 Mins read

Before Cowrywise…

I have always had a thing for volunteering. I just liked it because it kept me busy, I got to meet a lot of people and have fun. That was always the limit for me with “volunteering”. I was always afraid of taking it outside of volunteering because it allowed me to leave anytime I wanted and no one had high expectations of me. This was before I became an ambassador at Cowrywise. As usual, I saw an opportunity and jumped at it. 

As a Cowrywise ambassador, I met a lot of people who were doing amazing things, and boyyyy, I was inspired. ASUU strike had happened and I was very idle, this spurred my activeness in the community. During one of our usual monthly activities in the community, –the theme for that month was NETWORKING– we were grouped and encouraged to get to know each other. I observed a lot of learning and career paths and I tried to get into every single one of them but I’d always abandon them halfway, Until one day when Michael (our community manager at that time) spoke to me about trying out Legal and Compliance as a career path. But I didn’t understand what it meant, despite being a law student and I also felt underqualified. This pre-empted me to begin a bit of research and read articles on it which helped fuel my interest in this field, alongside arbitration.

Luckily, an opportunity for me to learn more presented itself (an internship opening). However, I was reluctant to apply because I still wasn’t confident in my ability and knowledge in this role, aside from having to be a legal intern at different law firms at different points in time. I asked myself what I had to lose viz-a-viz what I had to gain and I decided to apply for the internship opportunity. Luckily, I got to the interview stage where my learning process actually began.

Getting the internship…

I remember the thrill I got when I saw the acceptance mail, I might have screamed as well, but what followed after was the thought on “how to give a  good first impression” so I started to do extensive research, trying to guess what will be the first sets of questions I’d get from line manager. I had initially met Tolulope during the interview session and she had left quite an impression on me. I asked a couple of questions from compliance officers across different companies, read a couple of articles on Linkedin and I thought I was ready to go. 


I arrived early at the office and waited in the lounge before the onboarding session, alongside Sharon, a Co-Intern, but with the Product Management Team. We were shown around the office by Timi, our Community Lead. We met some of the staff from different teams and they were very welcoming and I knew instantly that it was going to be a didactic and fun experience. We concluded the onboarding session and I was taken to my office where I met my line manager, Esther. Hmm, Tolu wasn’t physically around but Esther quickly filled me in on everything expected of me, tested my basic knowledge of the legal and compliance field, and gave me my job description, I also had conversations with Tolu via Slack Phew! I knew that the real work was about to start. 

My learning process

Sequel to my onboarding session with Esther, she gave me a brief overview of tasks required of a compliance officer, like reviewing or drafting contract agreements, and partnerships, preparing expected filings from the regulators, and the various categories which are daily, weekly, annual, or quarterly filings and the various policies that fall under these filings amongst other important things to note. 
My first task was to review the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act and find areas of concern for Cowrywise, which I did. I felt I had done a good job and I was proud of myself till I was given my next task which was to write an article on the topic “Understanding the Impact of Regulation on Business: Compliance Challenges and Best Practices- How it Affects Cowrywise and benefits being derived by our business in being regulated”. I found it interesting and quite tough, to be frank, but I got to work and finally got the job done. The article allowed me to interact with some staff members like Tega and Blessing from the Customer Experience team where I tried to understand the effect of the regulations from the consumer angle as regulations have a way of limiting innovations which most times might not favor the consumers. I also spoke to Yami and Khose from the product team where I tried to understand the product and from the business side of things after which I addressed it from the legal angle. Researching the topic and writing the article was the beginning of another learning point for me.

I was given further tasks to do like research on the regulations applicable to Cowrywise. To successfully carry out the task, fully understanding the business, the services, and the product offerings of the company was a key component. Having an understanding of all these allowed me to get the task done and research effectively. For instance, Cowrywise as a company operating in Nigeria is incorporated and registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) hence,  regulations or laws enacted by this regulator will be binding on Cowrywise. While I was able to identify some regulators, Tolu was kind in filling me in about the ones I missed out on. I also learned how to review contracts, the red flags to look out for, and the importance of negotiations for unfavorable contract terms, I got to review T&Cs and privacy notices amongst other things. 

To further educate myself, I took several courses via Udemy and Forage, I also read several enlightening articles

The Experience

The opportunity not only shaped my career path, but also my personal development. Being in the environment shaped my mindset. Listening to the CEO, Razaq Ahmed speak about having a growth mindset and the need for consistency allowed me to re-evaluate my career and life choices, make informed decisions, and overcome imposter syndrome. Having conversations with Ebenezer, the HR Manager makes you think of the long-term or end goal before embarking on a career path, Tolu and Esther, whose positive attitude towards work allows me not only to try various strategies toward getting results but not to have a quitting mindset. They inspired, encouraged, and allowed me to learn and grow by accommodating me. Every suggestion, opinion, and question was addressed with additional knowledge and feedback hence, an opportunity to track my growth.

The verdict

Being the first legal and compliance intern at Cowrywise, with the best leaders in a professional environment and amazing work culture has impacted me, and given me a change in mindset about some career perception. Going forward, I plan to take this newly found knowledge and experience to make an impact.


Beyond the Canvas: Crafting Financial Narratives as a Creative Design Intern

In God I Trust, Everybody Else Must Bring Data. My data internship at Cowrywise


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *