Rahman Rafiu - Looking Back at all his Accomplishments from Basketball to Banking

Tue 5th Jul 2022

Rahman Rafiu was born in Ireland to Nigerian parents. At the age of 13, he first started playing basketball after encouragement from his father.

Rahman went to his first training session with Liffey Celtics in Dublin and was hooked. His natural talent for basketball grew and by the end of his first season, he won the most improved U-14 award at the club. Rahman’s time at Liffey Celtics brought him many great friends and a love for basketball.

Rahman Rafiu 1

Rahman studied Economics at the University of Essex and continued playing basketball alongside his studies. Initially, he found this hard to balance but adjusted: “In my first year, I had a part-time job at Nando's, I was studying and also playing basketball. It was really hectic but I remained focused as this had been instilled into me since secondary school.” He further added: “I wasn't one to shy away from interactions with new people. I got into the mindset that, I'm going to introduce myself and network as much as I can. So eventually, I found a good group of people. It's about being self-disciplined, you have to be focused on what you want at that moment in time.”

Being amicable and charismatic are some of the abilities that Rahman has transferred from the basketball court to the office. He said: “Interpersonal skills are fundamental in any business setting, being able to communicate effectively and easily engage in a conversation allow me to always leave a good impression on people. Time management is also key as you have to be proactive, you can't just sit down and expect things or you’ll get left behind. It's going to be difficult but your job is just to figure out a way around that challenge.” 

Rahman chose to go into banking after completing economics in sixth form and was drawn to the applicable nature of the course. Studying economics at university reinforced this desire: “In my final year at university, I led a team of five to create a finance educational platform. That was when I knew for definite, I wanted to go into finance. I don’t come from a privileged background and money management wasn't ever talked about.”

There isn't a sufficient representation of ethnically diverse people in banking,” Rahman says. “It seems that unless you went to a Russell Group university or have connections it can be very difficult to get into banking. I'm really fortunate that add-victor helped me find my way and get directly into a job. It showed to people around and to myself the open doors & possibilities when given the opportunity.” Rahman wants to improve diversity in banking and has recently just joined the diversity and inclusion sector to do so. The sector gets young people from diverse backgrounds to consider a future in banking. Rahman feels mentoring would help diverse applicants: “I think mentorship programmes would be really helpful as everyone is different and there is no blueprint suitable for everyone. So having a mentor to guide you would definitely make finance more appealing.” 

For student-athletes going into finance, Rahman advises them to prioritise their work: “Don't be afraid to prioritise yourself, most student-athletes are disciplined in their sport but take care of yourself and body. Make sure also you experience new things and talk to people outside of your bubble. LinkedIn is a good tool for this. Grow your LinkedIn as it is a great tool to see someone’s educational goal, what they've kind of done and build your way up. It is great to look back and see all the things that you've done and accomplished.”