I was in my first year as an Analyst at OCA and was excited about the opportunity to ‘embed’ within Rainsun Nuts, a macadamia processing & export business. It meant working every day with Rainsun’s two co-founders, brothers from a Kenyan family that’s been in business for a really long time. They had both explored different jobs and businesses throughout their careers and eventually started a macadamia processing & export business because of the great market opportunity. Most people don’t know this, but Kenya is actually the third-largest producer of macadamia nuts in the world, after Australia and South Africa.
As Rainsun grew, one of their biggest challenges was not having sufficient working capital to pay farmers on time at harvest. All of their revenue came in after export and the investor they found to consider a loan wanted the brothers’ to spend more time building their internal systems and defining their strategy, most of which was done by hand or lived in the brothers’ heads. That’s where I came in. In addition to completing my degree in finance, I had training and experience from my practicum work at OCA which gave me a good sense of what the brothers at Rainsun needed.
Arcadia’s fully embedded model was a great fit as I could sit with them and their team every day to help them address areas of concern.
I wasn’t sure what to expect since this was my first placement – it’s very different to work for a client on a consulting team and joining the client team directly, full-time for 3 months! I would compare it to singing a solo as opposed to singing in a choir. You still get a lot of support from your manager back at OCA but at the end of the day, it’s really you driving the work at the client site and forming relationships with the client team.
Now, looking back, it was a really exciting period for me! Not only did I work closely with the Rainsun team, but also built new tools and systems for inventory management and production monitoring, restructured their accounting system. I also built a financial model and organized all the relevant documents necessary for their loan application. Throughout the entire process, I worked closely with 5 members of their team and tried to pass along as much learning as I could about what I was doing and why, for their own growth. It was really gratifying to see the investor approve Rainsun’s loan, which now sets up the company to keep growing – I look forward to cheering them on and hopefully working together again in other ways.
Jebett Birir, OCA Senior Analyst
To learn more about Arcadia, click here.