Welcome to another episode of our intern series. We would like to apologise for our recent inconsistencies (we missed last week, and the week before the week that came before last week). Moving forward, we will do everything we can to not let you down.
This week, we present to you FMN intern and lead correspondent of this interview series, Titilope Banji. No, she did not interview herself; that would have been weird.
Read on to find out how her internship has been so far.
Hi. Kindly introduce yourself to our readers.
I’m Titilope Banji, a 400L student of Mechanical Engineering. Currently interning with Golden Sugar Company, a subsidiary of Flour Mills of Nigeria
How did you get this internship?
The HR team visited UI for a test and thereafter interviewed some of us and I was opportune to be among those who were selected. The selection process was gradual as we reduced in number with each stage. The funny thing is I was not really interested in going to FMN but I just gave it a shot.
Why were you not interested initially?
Well, I happen to be among those who were more interested in power generation than manufacturing… so I was trying oil and gas all around.
Oh. You were finding oil money…
You can put it that way. But to an extent, yes.Great experience + good pay was the goal. It’s still the goal.
It’s a great goal. But now, you’re in FMN, manufacturing. How have you found it?
It has been great, really. I was wowed by how much the company has to offer an intern. The mentorship, scheduled outline of work and most importantly, the technical know-how opportunities are mind blowing. Even the power generation I craved initially is included. Almost all aspects of mechanical engineering that is needed after school is here to practicalize.
Sounds amazing. So, does it fall under the great experience + good pay category?
(Laughs) It’s highly good experience. Fair pay.
Fair pay could certainly be worse. What exactly do you guys do at FMN?
I work at the Golden Sugar Company which is the subsidiary of FMN that produces refined sugar. The mechanical team ensures smooth running of the machines and systems involved in this process by both preventive and corrective maintenance measures. We also look for better ways to do things by research and implementation of ideas.
How did you find settling into the FMN setting? Tell us about your first two weeks.
The first two weeks were actually exciting and we couldn’t wait to start working. We took tours and took lifts and staircases to really high elevations. We were thrilled to be a part of something that big; the “we” actually includes me and 2 electrical guys from UI. I met new people and they kept telling me that it would be great. I was introduced to the various sections and the people there. The first two weeks was a time of introduction and familiarization. However, one major thing for me was the learning of three different routes from my place of residence to my workplace. I studied, and am still studying, how the traffic goes.
Lol. Lagos traffic is a course on its own. Have you had any difficulties in FMN since you’ve been there?
Well, the fact that I’m female has posed a challenge at one point or the other. Everyone seeing you in the blue mechanical coverall wants to talk to you and ask you why you are there. Then, some things are left to be figured out by we the interns and at the beginning it was a bit challenging. Also, everyone expects that you know all the engineering principles, so questions are easily thrown at us. I answer to the best of my knowledge, though at first it was challenging. Another challenge is that there are reports to be typed and submitted in time intervals, but it has helped me learn some skills so far.
What’s the ratio of men to women at FMN?
It depends on the department. Generally, it’s like 1 woman to 7 men. The mechanical department which has like 60 employees, has only me as a female. The departments that have females to balance things are the HR team, the Quality assurance department, the account department.
Wow. 59-1 is even worse than the male dominance in Mech.
Yeah, it’s that bad.
Other than the natural inclination to ask what you’re looking for, has there been any other problem that has come with being in such a masculine environment?
Lol… UI mechanical engineering department already prepared me for the problems I could encounter. The gender ratio in school is also poor though not as bad as this. The work culture at FMN is cool so most people respect and relate with people accordingly. There may be a few extreme guys who want to say things to make me uncomfortable but I went prepared and I am being of best behavior.
But are they being of best behavior, these extreme guys?
With time, yes.
Glad to hear that. Word has it that Mech guys from UI who have recently interned at FMN are quite popular in the company, for good reasons of course. How has that fact influenced your internship program?
It has pushed me to strive to be better than the mark. Everyone mentions their names and it makes me wonder how they gained so much influence.
So, would you consider a job opportunity at FMN after school?
Yes, I would.
Alright. Let’s talk about Mech for a bit. Do you look forward to getting back?
I do, I really do. It’s like home and being away is taking too long.
What is it you miss most about school?
Being in control of what I use my time to do…I also miss all those who know me in UI and those I know.
That’s a lot of people to miss. So, what’s the first thing you’ll do when you get back from IT?
Get back to studies and meet my goals alongside helping others around me reach theirs.
Rounding up now, tell us your top 3 internship moments so far.
When I started talking to people freely after being teased over and over.
When I first got to handle the device used for condition monitoring myself.
When I took a wrong route to work and it turned to an adventure. (Laughs)
Yayy, adventure. Tell us more.
I hope my definition of adventure fits though. I took a bike to get to the right place (when there were still bikes) and the man took me through all that part of Ebute-Ero and Marina only to get to somewhere that was one-way and so he had to turn back and go all the way through TBS and back to my destination. All the while, I enjoyed taking in sights and asking the man funny questions even though I was very late already.
It does sound like an adventure. I hope you weren’t suspended for showing up late?
I explained the situation but I still got the “why are you late” talk. I wasn’t suspended.
Thank God. Do you have any final shout out?
Yeah. Shout out to all the families and groups I am part of in school, my classmates inclusive. I miss everyone
We miss you as well! Thank you for your time, Titi.
Thank you too.
And thank you!, for staying with us. See you next week.
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