Martin Benjamin is a young man from Coronation in Johannesburg. He is only 32 years old but he has many ideas and is not afraid to test them. To some, Benjamin is a smart worker in love with the new digital world. To others, especially those in the know about telcos, Benjamin is a worthy skills investment for the future at MTN, Africa and Middle East’s mobile phone powerhouse. By Gugu Lourie
Benjamin joined MTN as a data contract agent three years ago and has fast become a star employee with potential for greater things.
MTN is an “awesome company”, says Benjamin.
“It does have its flaws like any company, however, it has given me a platform to achieve greatness and the goals can seem overwhelmingly huge, daunting and just plain hard to reach, but the success will be awe-inspiring.”
Benjamin has a good reason to sing MTN praises. He has been given a chance of a lifetime by the mobile phone
operator to develop his own app that could be used and commercialised by the firm if it’s successful.
His MTN FirstStep app, which is still in testing phase, is likely to make Benjamin popular with MTNers and his community in Coronation.
Benjamin’s innovative app is inspired by problems and challenges faced by MTN customers.
The interactive app, once it passes MTN scrutiny, is likely to be used by both prepaid and contract customers.
Understandably, Benjamin is reluctant to give out details about the app at this stage.
He says he can’t disclose much about the app until it reaches the commercialisation stage.
“The chance given to me to develop the app is a great spark and it can motivate me to do more,” Benjamin explains.
TechFinancials.co.za spoke with Benjamin about his daily responsibilities at MTN and his views about the company, and how is it changing his life.
How has MTN empowered you to achieve your goals?
I was scared of rejection when I proposed my app idea to MTN management. As an ordinary worker I wondered if they would listen to me. To my surprise they did and they encouraged me to perfect my idea. I was given a task to revamp the app. I took the liberty to learn from the MTN e-learning programme. I am still empowering myself and there is still much to be done before I can reach my goal. The support from MTN has inspired me that one day I might be able to start my own app company and provide solutions to them.
What do you like about working at MTN?
I enjoy the company of my colleagues they really bring out the best in me. Working at MTN is a step forward for me and I have a glimpse of where I might find myself in the next few years. I do believe that having good family values is the strongest weapon to have when you are faced with both personal and business problems. So MTN has become my extended family.
What is your role at MTN?
I am a data contract agent (some may know it as MTN Data Support Agent). My main duty in is to assist with technical data connection support, whether it is on a feature or new generation smartphone, Ipad or Tablet, modems and routers. I also provide computer and operating systems support for these devices. I also provide support to our clients for products they are already using in cases where they don’t fully understand them. I also assist clients to understand why a particular product is the best deal for them.
How long have you been working at MTN?
I started my journey at MTN in October 2012. As you can see I have not been here for a long time, but it feels like I have known this company for quite some time; even if it is almost four years and still going strong.
What really excites you about your job?
I will not say it’s the job that excites me, but it’s the challenge to maintain a position like this that keeps me excited to be able to do more and learn more. I have met many different types of people at MTN and they have encouraged me to empower myself by learning more about this ever-changing ICT industry.
What’s the secret of your success?
I have an inquisitive mind. I always try to look for new ways to do better things technologically in order to empower ourselves as humans so that we can make a difference to other people’s lives. My success has not yet been achieved. It will be attained when my app has been approved and has contributed to bettering the needs of people and help make life with technology a little bit more convenient and cost effective.
How do you handle work-related stress?
Well I believe getting the job done accurately and using all resources available will minimise the stress at work. I tend to keep myself busy and spend a lot of time learning to improve my capabilities to solve problems.
What is your favourite smartphone?
I love the Samsung S4; it is still the best Android device for me because of its endless capabilities, However, I do not own one anymore, but I am looking forward to getting the S6, which has similar capabilities.
Do you consider MTN the best company to work for?
MTN is the best company for me to work for because it provides better and comprehensive benefits like no other company I have ever worked for.