In my search for new opportunities, I came across the Authority’s Young Professionals (YP) Programme in the local dailies. As is often the case for many interns, I was worried that a majority of my time would be spent running errands, fetching tea or by the photocopier making millions of copies, with minimal pay, as opposed to actually learning, gaining experience and expanding my network. This was far from my experience at CAK.
Right from the interview process, the boarding to being assigned cases to handle, the Authority’s professionalism stood out. The YP’s were highly regarded, included as part of the team and actively involved in meaningful work throughout their one-year period. In addition, the rotational nature of the programme afforded me a unique opportunity to understand the organization, its mandate and closely interact with different officers.
I started my first quarter (three months) programme in the Mergers & Acquisitions Department where I gained valuable experience in the analysis of various types of mergers and acquisitions and interacting with various corporate entities and their legal representatives.
After three months, I moved to the Consumer Protection Department where I handled consumer complaints as well as actively participated in various consumer sensitization for a such as the World Consumer Rights Day. While attached to the Enforcement department in the third quarter, I was involved analyzing in cases where parties are suspected of participating in anticompetitive behavior to their benefit and to the exclusion of consumers. I participated in conference hearings, where the accused parties and their legal representatives, are given a chance to orally make submissions. I was also involved in a dawn raid of a key input manufacturer in the agriculture sector.
To cap off my internship, I joined the Policy and Research Department where we conducted desk research and field work for market inquiries and sector studies. The Department also organized various stakeholder engagement functions key among them being the annual training and symposium.
If asked, I would be hard-pressed to select the Department I enjoyed the most as each had its unique learning experiences and challenges. The technical on-the-job training was complemented by specific training sessions provided by professionals in competition and other relevant fields.
This included training by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), the University of Nairobi, and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), among others.
Over and above the technical training, I was also empowered by the dynamic team members were always ready to assist and mentor us. They provided guidance and took time to explain the various concepts.
The management had an open-door policy, ensured the YPs were included when they assigned duties and regularly followed-up on our progress. I would also like to acknowledge the support I received from my fellow YPs who always made it exciting whenever I was on duty. A network was built with the staff and YPs which continues to exist to date.
Looking back, applying for a YP Programme slot at the Authority is remains one of my best decision in my career thus far. Aside from the technical expertise gained, the programme enhanced my time management and inter-personal skills.
By Linda Kirigi----(a beneficiary of the CAK’s Young Professionals Programme)