Yannick Kounga – Risk Controller, Schlumberger


I’d like to describe myself as a very straightforward person… Life is quite exciting to me as it has so many opportunities and experiences to offer. Here lies a man who has run the race of life with the full intention of making a difference. He has created his own experience, acknowledged and accepted accountability for his life through a forward-looking mindset. “He was a lifelong learner, with the sky his only limit.” I try to live by this epitaph knowing that this is how I want to be remembered. Far from being cynical, I’m a very positive person with a ‘do what it takes’ mindset. Some of the values governing my vision are:
• I believe in God.
• I believe in intelligent hard work.
• I believe the more I put in, the more I get out.
• I believe life rewards action: make careful decisions and then pull the trigger.
• I believe in team work. RAY KROC (Founder of McDonald) says it so well when he acknowledges: “Not one of us is as good as all of us.”
• I believe solution-minded people are the most valuable people in any organization; instead of worrying about who did what and who is to blame, they ask: “what do we do now?”
• Yes we can! Believe in your potential and all things become possible.

I love Google, everything they do is always in beta – because it’s never finished. It can be improved. This helps me to keep a growth-oriented mindset!
My latest passion is to observe and learn about Entrepreneurs.

What is your occupation and academic background and how did you come to work in this field?

My name is Yannick Kounga. I am coming from Cameroon; I was born and grew up in Douala. I studied Accounting and Finance at University of Douala in Cameroon and ended with a double master in Accounting and then Finance. Later, I topped up my academy background with an MBA in Finance from University of Wales in UK. I am certified in multiple fields as well (Audit, Risk, Controls, Fraud, Controller etc…)
Today I work as Risk Controller for Schlumberger, and I am based in Houston. It’s a very challenging role as it requires not only a high level of communication and organizational skills, but also a broad knowledge of processes and systems. Without being an expert in any of these fields, I consider myself up to the task provided my background and achievements.

What is the biggest challenge of your work?

Working in a very dynamic company, the biggest challenge in my work is the ability to adapt in a new role and sometimes new country as fast as possible. In 10 years with Schlumberger, I have worked in 12 countries and changed job position 9 times.

Identify one or two of your proudest achievements?

I once worked in our largest Financial Hub (Malaysia) and I was in charge of a team of 10 financial experts having 10 different nationalities and overseeing Europe and Africa. At first it was a difficult experience because having to manage some of my formal peers and seniors, in two years, I ended up with the best team out of 800 financial professionals. As a team, we mainly brought tremendous improvement to processes, office fun with zero attrition rate.

What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most?

For me, this question is a bit difficult to answer, but I will give it a try. There are three people/groups I admire the most:
• Jesus Christ because having to give his life for others has been something complex for my mind.
• Google because everything they do is always in beta – because it’s never finished. It can be improved.
• The entrepreneur.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Nowhere else than somewhere in Africa.

What would be your advice to young people who want their careers and life to have an impact?

I don’t think I am qualified to give advice to anyone. I will only encourage our young people to work intelligently hard, to set goals, to learn from the best and own mistakes, to read more, to think positively, to grow confidence, to develop respect, love and responsibility.

Did you have a mentor or do you mentor someone else? How has that experience changed you?

I have had mentors at different stages of my life and career, and I will say their support, and advices help me to be who I am today. They helped me to build self-confidence. Today, I mentor few entrepreneurs.

Why did you join the CPS?

I Joined CPS first on LinkedIn in 2011 and later when I moved to Houston in 2013. As far as I know, CPS is and remains the most important Diaspora organization of Cameroonian Professionals, thus for me an opportunity to not only learn from peers but also share experience and insights.

What are you currently working on in the CPS?

I recently volunteered to work in a team dedicated to organize the CPS Scholarship Program which aims to help talented Cameroonian students across Cameroon, in the United States and hopefully someday in other countries. I like the concept because the program is completely crowdfunded; the process fair and transparent.

Any final comments?

Thanks for the invitation. It’s was a pleasure for me to answer these questions!