Sep 27, 2022
Franklin (known to some as Franko) is a 22 year old Business Development Executive in one of the worlds largest Investment Management Firms and FTSE 100 listed companies. Born to two Nigerian parents who migrated to London in search of a better future for their children, Franklin has navigated the humble beginnings of growing in Hackney, East-London to now embark on his next journey of navigating the challenges and politics of high finance in the City.
As well as his educational and professional triumphs, Franklin has also been successful within sport, specifically basketball where he represented his University Men’s First Team and now plays competitive Basketball England Division 2 National League basketball.
We caught up with Franko in the area where he grew up with his mother, and later took a trip to his workplace to link up with his friends in Finance to discuss the ins and outs of conventional corporate attire and the creative and corporate world where we find ourselves divided by but brought together by our third culture kid experiences.
How would you describe the relationship between you and your Mother?
My mum is my everything. She’s always motivated me and believed in me before anyone else did and instilled a “can do” mindset in me that can be rivalled by no one. I know her prayers every morning are what’s keeping me safe and on this path I’m taking to success, and I will continue to work hard and keep pushing through whatever is in front of me to repay her as best as I can.
I can’t think of any better feeling than laughing and spending precious quality time with your mother, aside from the fact that she’s a Chelsea fan I support United we get along like good old friends and I know that she’s always got my back no matter what.
What is your fondest memory together?
I’d say it must be when I was a kid and getting a remote controlled car for my birthday, I remember how much I used to nag and beg to get one. I vividly remember how happy she was to see the joy on my face when she took me to Argos to buy it for me. I was over the moon yet completely oblivious to the fact that such a purchase was being made at the expense of what she would’ve bought for herself or treated herself to.
Looking back in hindsight its funny to talk about how we bonded over something so small but it was the feeling of being looked after and being listened to that made this one of my favourite memories growing up and demonstrates her selflessness of how she will always provide for me and my siblings no matter what.
How and when did you decide to begin working in the Investment Management industry?
I decided in my second year of university (The University of Manchester), me and my best friend would just throw ourselves into different opportunities and internships in different industries. Yet it was within finance that I felt challenged enough, compensated enough and moved at a speed to always keep me engaged and excited.
Finance is constantly evolving and is a part of everyone’s life one way or another. It’s a privilege to be able to interact with some of the largest and influential companies on a daily basis – its also not bad for my network for whenever I do decide to move away from the industry and explore something different.
What career path did your mother envision for you?
My mother wanted me to be an engineer or a doctor – I think even now despite being settled into Finance that if she was to hear that I made a last minute career change to those professions she might be a little bit more happier. I know she’s proud of what I’m doing now and where I’ve come, I just assume that careers in science and engineering were the main jobs that she knew about, that she thought paid well and that she’d seen her other nephews pursue.
There’s often a big divide between creatives and people working in the Corporate world, what do you think causes this and do you think the two can coexist?
I think its down to the way people think and the perception each industry has of one another. For me specifically, I would say I’m a very logical and objective thinker – things just need to have an explanation or chain of reasoning for it to make sense to me. I think the misconception is that people who think like me have no place in fashion or even the creative industry generally.
The artistic and logically inclined mind can compliment each other and it's all about working in the cross section and the communication of both sides to get the benefits of both types of thought. I personally know I have the ability and energy to contribute creatively and offer another valuable perspective to critically analyse the creative processes and ultimately positively influence the final work of art produced.
If you wouldn’t be in Investment Management, what would you do?
I would have tried to either become a professional basketball player or entrepreneur or any career within the cross section of the two. I love basketball and I love entrepreneurship - I still do. Who knows what the future holds for me but I’m very happy with the decisions I’ve made in my life leading up to where I am in my career now and the people I have met.
Nevertheless, I will always be keen to explore all my options and will be constantly be evaluating my position in my career to optimise my potential and sense of fulfilment.
How would you describe your personal style?
If I was to sum up my style in a word it would be “composed”. I love my suit and ties almost the same way I love my tracksuits but the middle ground is probably where I’m learning to embrace adulting, find who I am and how I want to present myself to the world the most. It’s all about having the range and being comfortable in any part of your fashion bandwidth which is what I would say I am learning to be.
The composure come from my sense of not feeling to always wear the loudest colours yet not blending into the masses with regards to fast fashion. I pick my fits in a way to present myself maturely but also deliberately allow myself to be influenced by the different people in my life, cultures I’ve embraced and icons I admire.
However having said this I do acknowledge some days I can be in bondage with wearing grey, black and white so potentially styling with colours needs some work on my end! I definitely need that Daily Paper hook-up.
Can you give our readers one indispensable piece of style advice?
My one piece of advice I would say is enjoy yourself! It shouldn’t be a chore to get ready nor should it be mentally draining trying to pick fits to impress and stun the whole room or party. I’ve learnt to only wear what makes me feel good and comfortable, the energy you leave your house with is what people pick up on, and making sure that I enjoy the fit creation process and that my comfortability is being maximised is priority No. 1 for me.
If the process feels laborious and you’re not excited by the challenge of making a certain look you imagined in in your head work then it’ll be hard to ever be satisfied with the version of yourself you present to the world that day.
If you could say anything to the people of your generation, what would it be?
I would tell my generation to be adventurous, we’re in a time and at an age where starting a business or picking up a hobby is so easy. Go out into the world with good energy and good energy will always find you. Grab a couple of your closest friends and go travel the world – or do it alone. Embrace culture and expand your mind outside of the ends or the block.
There’s no such thing as prescribed “steps to success”, its completely subjective but by being adventurous and a little bit spontaneous you open yourself up to opportunities, experiences and relationships that someone else may not have access. We’re young enough to take the risk and bounce back with fairly limited blowback on the rest of our lives, its only right we take full advantage of such a privilege before it expires - especially considering that the upside potential is limitless.