What a Long Testimonial! A personal statement by Abiodun Akinbola Ogundele

Just like several other thousands, or perhaps millions of those who fell to the blind theories of societal and ideological misconception of education from parents, also, I was a victim. The south-western region of Nigeria where I grew up is generally known for its distinctively adopted western culture; as it has through education, contributed to national development by building intellectual people more than any other region in Nigeria. Yet a strong resentment towards careers and professions tagged as irrelevant still fester and thrived in this region.  Doctors are worshipped like gods; Nurses are demi-gods while lawyers and engineers were but according to the Greek description of father of all gods—‘Zeus’. Then every other profession is considered as mere entertainment. Clearly, In the African mentality that revolves round my birth were set of rules that automatically dictates parent or guidance’s choice of education and career for a child’s topmost preference; this over the years got me doing the wrong thing- obsessively studying Biological science-the greatest mistake  I have ever made!.

During the time I got myself busy studying what I never loved, I have always agreed with absolute self conviction that there is more to life than what I am giving it; the thirst for this in-turn pointed to a vacuum that needed to be filled- the need for a self discovery. However, not until recently, six month ago, when a UK Business Doctor and a research analyst found interest in one of my write-up. To him, he described the creative reasoning embedded in the write up as a sound, critical and analytical manner of an expressed writing dexterity. Moreover, I have always had passion for writing but not for once did I consider it a talent, even amidst complement for a job well done. One month later, he employed me thinking with the weight my writing skills behold, I should gain a research experience. I have never done any research so I started learning on-the-job with him.

My first research assignment was to find out “The effects of oil price fluctuations on economic growth of the world’s top three largest importing and exporting countries.” This assignment coincidentally walked hand-in-hand with the international drop in crude price. Nigeria as an oil-exporting country suffers a huge blow as a result of the constant degenerating petroleum price, and I was fascinated to realize the relationship this had with the quality of life I lived as a citizen when making a comparative study to when the price was quite stable and good. As reality got dawn on me, I got more captivated after I identified with Hamilton’s (1983) “Oil and the Macroeconomy since World War II” study, that truly there is an existence of a co-integrating or granger causal relationship between the price of oil and subsequent economic recessions, as mostly displayed on the macro-economic and financial variables such as GDP and CPI, using the United State as a case study. Since that time four months ago, my career interest changed; I wanted to research econometrics as I enjoyed its practicality relating it to my contemporary activities and environment. I wanted to be an economist!

At first glance, my education doesn’t quite reflect my passion for economics. I am often asked how biological sciences and economics coadunate. But as a researcher, activities such as youth empowerment programs, business development, human resource management, research consultancy, management consultancy, project management and nation branding are related services which I got myself engage with, and have over the years horned my analytical skills, led me to the idea of studying economics in relation to human generally, and provide platforms upon which individuals including personality’s like myself, organisations and government can improve the quality of life of the people they are accountable to with the power of collective actions. Being a driver or a part of an initiative of such importance in several occasions has proved me gratifying on another level by giving my life and work a social consciousness.

I had participated in activism as a comrade, yet my present experience radically altered how I viewed the world and its potential for change, as I have given myself to various social courses; part of which young individuals who are yet to make clear career choice are educated in the career programmes which I organized through my “YOUTH change DRIVE-Africa (YCD-A) Project:” a scheme fashioned to help those who for any reason are becoming vulnerable or have fallen prey to the misperceived theories of education and careers from parents, committed to creating an awareness that educates youths and teens on career choices, in order for them not to make the same mistake as I made. Subsequently, this programme has recorded a great success as diverse of response is received from our out-reached students, thanking us for sparing time to spread our message. The kinds of responses that I receive are what makes me happy and motivated me to continue. They are great achievement which I performed justly as a moral obligation and with a high sense of responsibility.

Organizing various public events has also taught me successful leadership and teamwork skills, applicable to academic and social settings. I’ve learned the subtleties of integrating multiple perspectives into shared vision and a success through networking with various organisation and administrators, national recognized activists, congress persons, fellow research analyst and the general public. As head of Youth Change Drive-Africa’s 2015 “Operation Salvage,” attended by more than 1500 students of the Lagos Model College, Nigeria. I headed the committee which involves eleven school teacher-coordinators and three external individuals in distributing the “Rhapsody of realities”: A personal daily motivational material for self guidance- organizing has honed my critical thinking skills and prepared me for performing innovative and multidisciplinary undergraduate research.

Research experiences, such as working as a research assistant to the Nigeria Country Representative of the D4M Contact UK and Managing Partner of Edusearch, conducting research methods seminars as well as organising practical training on using computer simulated management programs for analysing relevant data, in Lagos Nigeria, have prepared me well for undergraduate studies in Economics. I am currently co-authoring an article on “The effect of promotional strategy on corporate brand equity in the Nigerian Telecommunication Industry.” Just as authors philosophy and views are not limited to influencing any research work. My expectation in conducting this research is to as well make my economic views and perspective speak, as I intend to make it drive and influence the research work. According to “Aaker’s 1991 Brand equity model study,” Brand equity refers to the ultimate incremental utility or value added to a product from its brand name.” I look forward to diligently expound on the research by giving a distinctive approach using an economic stance as my focus point—the amount of equity a brand commands in a market, especially Nigerian market. With confidence, I want to proceed with undergraduate studies at Middlesex University to gain a degree and greater research opportunities in the midst of British culture.

I believe that my personal interests, experiences, and social consciousness would contribute as much as my research skills to Middlesex University’s social and intellectual culture. Middlesex University offers me an opportunity to pursue a Degree in European Economics while taking supplementary courses in research and project management. Equally, I could have research guidance from staff in Accounting, Finance and Social Sciences, where deep Economic dynamics and behaviour in relation to human day-to-day-activities are being studied. At Middlesex University if given the opportunity, I could nurture and share a unique set of social experiences, explore my research interests, and contribute an innovative, informative, and multidisciplinary new approaches to my field. Ensconcing myself in British culture, intellectual environment, and the vigorous Economics and Research study at Middlesex University which is the chance of a lifetime. I hope to be able to seize it.

Additionally, my decision for choosing Middlesex University as my choice of higher learning institution was also critically informed  after going through an “employability and Educational survey conducted by Phillips consulting, Nigeria: One of Nigeria’s Largest Educational/management Consulting firm.” In this report that seek to determine the effect of the quality of tertiary education on the employability of fresh graduates in Nigeria; education and employability of Nigerian graduate is primarily focused on. The writer tentatively, described Nigerian educational system as a problem of national significance which demands government’s attention. Stating further that the development of this sector is hindered by a number of obstacles that prevent the country from attaining a healthy economic and societal development; Part of such problems are highlighted as inadequate infrastructure and lack of proper maintenance due to overcrowding; as numbers of available universities is quite low when compared to the number of students, Inaccessibility of adequate teaching facilities, and lot more. This deficiency over the years has made Nigerian graduate unemployable as the skill and knowledge that will enable them to function in the labour market, which every employer requires and look forward to having, is not found in most graduates because of the poor learning exposure and environment (Phillips Consulting, 2014). However, I believe the United Kingdom educational system and its environment, especially Middlesex’s offers me the ultimate priviledge that will help me get the best of education and prevent me from being a victim of what I term as “ungrounded education” of the Nigerian Universities. After wasting so many years, I do not want just any education. I want the best: my reason for choosing to study economics in the United Kingdom’s Middlesex University, out of the thousand Universities around the world.

I have found my mentor, and I’d like to tell you who he is and how this has come about. He’s a coach; whose under his tutelage I had consciously learn how to begin this writing. A proactive, result-oriented, multi-disciplinary business professional with experience in business and management research, strategy development & implementation, business development, strategic marketing and project management. He is an excellent self starter who discovered the talent I never saw in myself- the difference my writing skill could make. He co-researched on a comprehensive study of growth needs and support services available to UK local businesses, involving 2,263 sampled businesses in Barnet borough UK. His excellent works distinguished him when he became one of the top one percent Nigerian Management Consultant in less than two years of practice within the Nigeria market-Mayowa Tolulope Odunnaike: an international professional ambassador of Middlesex University through whom I found the quality of Middlesex (MDX) products and the Nigeria Country Representative of D4M Contact UK. The opportunity to work with him as a research assistant and then as associate has inspired me to pursue further research skills and enrich my understanding of field practice of economics and its critical theories. Mayowa has found his way, and I hope someday I would find mine- to the path of becoming the scholar I would always become- through MDX.

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