Grass To Grace: How Tony Elumelu Became Nigerian Billionaire

Everyone has a story to tell whether successful or not. Anthony Onyemaechi Elumelu, though a billionaire has also got story to tell and it’s from grass to grace.

It may interest you to know that Elumelu started his journey as a salesman.

He started his career as a copier salesman to be specific. He was one of the thousands of young Nigerian graduates who were eager to succeed.

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If success is measured by hardwork, one can be pondering that why are not all hardworking people successful today in our society. Let’s just say luck was on his side.

Elumelu’s journey to who he is now begins when he applied to join Allstates Trust Bank, a year after earning his Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

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He applied with his 2:2 Economics degree (Second Class, lower division) in spite of the bank’s requirement - a minimum 2:1 degree (Second Class, upper-division).

In his words: “I know I may not have met the qualifying criteria for the advertised roles, but I am intelligent, driven, ambitious and I will make the bank proud. My 2:2 degree does not demonstrate the full extent of my intelligence and ability, and I know I can do so much more,” his cover letter read.

These words caught the eye of the Chairman/CEO at the time, who decided to give him a chance despite being “unqualified”.
27-year-old Elumelu was hired as an entry-level analyst after passing the due process.

In 12 months, he became the youngest bank branch manager at the time. He credits this to his bosses Toyin Akin-Johnson and Ebitimi Banigo. “They took a chance in me by appointing me as branch manager after an incredibly short time in the bank. My rise to Branch Manager within a short period is a great story but I know in my heart, I was lucky, as well as deserving”, he writes.

As of November 11, 2015, he was ranked as one of Africa’s richest 50 people with a net worth of $700 Million, according to Forbes.

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