Cosmas Maduka: From apprehentice to multibillionaire
The Africa of the 1960’s is no longer the Africa we have today. Gone are those days when every graduate had a job waiting for him. We are living in a time in Africa where ‘ready-made’ jobs no longer exist. Times are different now as being a university graduate doesn’t open up the doors to many rewarding careers, as it did in past generations. Gone are those days when getting a higher school education provided more opportunities and better career options. Your certificate is just a proof that you are teachable. It does not suggest what you are totally capable of doing. Business doors are now being open today through mentorship and apprenticeship and not necessarily through our degrees and certificates.
The world is filled with many poor graduates but rich opportunists. I have watched pitiably many graduates with degrees and certificates languishing in poverty, looking for jobs to eke out a living while people with keen eyes for opportunities reach the pinnacle of success in the most unlikeliest of ways.
A year spent with a mentor is worth far more than a graduate degree followed by post-graduate study! Before you look for jobs, look for mentoring. The problem of jobless graduates is not joblessness, it is lack of mentoring. Our greatest problem is not money but mentoring. We should stop looking for money and look for mentorship. Unknown to many degree holders, your earning increases with your learning and exposure, not just with your certificate. I have observed with pity how people who pile up certificates without connecting themselves to mentors struggle through life. That mentor can reduce your learning curve by 10 years for every year spent working and learning in his shadow. The earlier a person recognises this concept, the more advanced his career and skillsets will be.
There are many indigenous ways of learning and equipping the youths to face the future and the one that I will like to talk about in this piece is the Igbo apprentice scheme that has evolved over the years to produce multi-billionaires, business magnate and industry giants. If an indigenous system can catapult a man from N200 seed money in 1975 to a N250 billion Coscharis empire in 2022, then we need to rebrand this unique apprenticeship and mentoring system to liberate the African youths. In the face of certain failure in our educational system, we will definitely need an indigenous school of mentoring and apprenticeship to revolutionize Africa. This indigenous business school can be redesigned to compete even with Harvard and other business schools in terms of delivery all over the world.
Dr. Cosmas Maduka is the Founder and Chairman of Coscharis Group of Companies and sole distributor for BMW in Nigeria. What can you possibly learn from a man that did not complete primary education? The unique story of how this business guru moved from an underage apprentice to a multi-billionaire, is both intriguing and inspirational. A story that all Nigerian youths need to identify and relate with. The basic truth for all African youths is this: regardless of your educational status, opportunities to learn abound everywhere!
A man formed from the crucible of life intricacies and misfortunes. From hawking bean cake at the age of five to being withdrawn from Elementary Three to serve as an automobile apprentice to a maternal uncle in Lagos. Metamorphosing from being an apprentice at the age of seven to owning one of the biggest automobile wholesale outlets in Africa is no doubt a huge accomplishment in a country with an economic environment that is both choking and unsavoury for start-ups.
Maduka once said: “Apprenticeship is the best school for any young man, as it teaches unprecedented discipline for the challenges of the future”. Choosing a mentor is the most critical step to success in life, whether it is in business, career, relationship or politics. A mentor challenges and stimulates you to be the best at all times. A real mentor helps in discovering and nurturing the gift and potentials in others. Mentoring is the most monitored, measurable and sustainable way of ensuring youth empowerment.
As a youth, reach out to someone that is already where you want to get to in life. Book an appointment with them; buy their books and listen to their messages. Someone already has the experience you desire, locate them and glean from their wealth of experience. The digital age has actually made accessing mentorship very easy.
Today, you can follow and connect with distant mentors on social media. There are mentors you may not be privilege to meet one-on-one but you can glean their thoughts on social media. Send them a friend request on Facebook, connect with them on LinkedIn, follow them on Twitter and Instagram. Subscripe to their You-Tube channels and learn consistently from them.
Mike Murdock once said: “Pay any price to stay in the presence of extraordinary people.” Look out for career coaches and mentors who will guide you on the path to success. Paying for a session with a mentor is an investment, not an expense. Paying to join a mastermind session or an inner circle is an investment, not an expense. Until you have a proper approach to the benefits of accessing mentorship, you will live a larger part of your life committing grave, avoidable and expensive mistakes. Success is elusive without a guide. My candid advice to youths is to get quality education, then good exposure via internship and mentorship.