In 2008, Konstantin Makarov became, for the second time in his life, a pioneer of sorts. He left a secure job at Morgan Stanley in New York to found StratLink-Africa, Ltd., a financial advisory firm based in Nairobi, Kenya, with the mission of originating financing transactions in emerging and frontier markets, with a focus on Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) for investment banks, private equity firms and family offices.
Konstantin is an old hand at starting a new life. His family emigrated to New York from Belarus in the early 1990s, when he was in middle school. “Like children of most immigrants,” he recalls, “I started working as soon as possible to have spending money. My high school jobs varied from working at a fish store, telemarketing, the production department of a newspaper, and even at the Gap.”
After graduating early from an experimental inner-city high school, Konstantin majored in marketing at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He went right to work on Wall Street after college, first for Lebenthal & Co. and then for Morgan Stanley’s wealth management division. Finance turned out to be the right niche, he says: “I understood that some of my natural skills were being put to good use and I never looked back.”
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