ICT entrepreneur and graduate student of Roehampton University’s online MBA programme, Chikelue Oji, speaks on the institution’s online MBA programme as a means of equipping graduates with skills of leadership and strategic analysis.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Chikelue Oji. I work as a Software Architect/Senior Programmer at Cyberspace Network Limited, an ICT solutions provider company with specialty in two areas – data connectivity, and educational portal solutions. I am responsible for designing software before the software implementation is carried out. I am also responsible for project management at the organization. I possess a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic and Computer Engineering from the Lagos State University, Lagos State, Nigeria.
I am a self-motivated person. I have been able to achieve quite a number of milestones in my career, including successfully leading the technical implementation of the largest Coca-Cola SMS promotion in West Africa while working at Imagine Concepts Limited, a wireless applications service provide that won the contract to provide the technical platform for the project. I own and run an Information Communications Technology (ICT) consulting company.
When did you enrol at the University of Roehampton Online?
I signed up for the University’s Masters in Business Administration programme in September, 2013.
Why did you choose this particular programme?
I chose the MBA programme because I had become interested in business, prior to, and after having founded my own Information communications technology consulting company in 2008. After the recession of 2008, 2009, and 2010, I became increasingly interested in ethical business leadership and came to the conclusion that the recession and various business failures was as a result of a lack of sound business knowledge. This has prompted my enrolment for the university’s Masters of Business Administration (MBA) programme to invest in getting the requisite knowledge.
Why did you choose the University of Roehampton to earn your advanced degree?
I chose the University of Roehampton because the institution has proven itself as one that caters expertly to the needs of busy professionals who cannot leave their jobs and home countries to travel to the UK for the conventional programme.
When do you expect to graduate?
The university’s MBA programme spans three semesters. I expect to complete the programme on or before September, 2016
What would you say has been your most enjoyable experience with regard to online study at the University of Roehampton?
What I enjoy most about studying online with Roehampton include the flexibility of learning, easy access to information and learning materials and the global diversity of students. I am able to go to school on my laptop without the commute associated with the traditional brick and mortar educational institutions; this suits my busy schedule very much.
Tell us about the online learning experience. What has surprised you the most about it?
What has surprised me the most about my online learning experience is the fact that we learn for ourselves. Our instructors also learn from us and we learn from one another. That, I think is the most effective way to learn.
Have you collaborated with fellow students? Has the international nature of the classroom offered perspectives that furthered your studies or impacted your career?
Yes, I collaborate with fellow students through the shared activities. This means of learning from the vast and diverse experiences of my fellow students is invaluable.
Can you share an example of how the faculty at the University of Roehampton has pushed you to learn more about a topic?
I really enjoyed learning under the instruction and moderation of Dr. Cynthia Phillips in the module Learning and Leading in a Dynamic Era. She always had very explanatory examples and illustrations to drive home a concept. I especially appreciate the way she taught us the need to tie whatever work we did to the academic concepts that we were taught. She also challenged us to be ready to critique hypotheses and theorems and also to analyze various concepts in the light of our own experience and ascertain whether they hold true.
What student services have you found to be most useful and invaluable
I have found the institution’s student support service, enrolment support service and the library to be very useful in my learning process
How do you balance your responsibilities to your work and family with your studies at the University?
Many of the university’s students are working professionals who are committed to their families and I fall within this category. I am a working professional, married, and a father. I also own a technology consulting business on the side. Presently, finding balance is still a challenge for me but I manage to pull through all the same. I have a plan on this which I am working on fully implementing. I recommend either setting out time, 2 hours early in the morning before work or getting to work about 2 hours earlier and using that time to study. Having your study materials on your smartphone or tablet can really help a great deal in situations like during commute, if you don’t drive or when waiting to attend meetings.
Have you been able to directly apply what you are learning to your career?
Yes, I have been able to apply what I am learning to my current career, for example, my concept of leadership has changed significantly. I have also learned how to communicate my expectations effectively and influence people whilst applying different leadership styles and the Pygmalion effect, a phenomenon whereby the greater the expectation I place upon myself and others, the better we perform.
How has your degree helped you meet your career goals?
The Programme has equipped me with the knowledge I need to properly carry out my responsibilities in the management role that I currently occupy.
Have you ever referred friends, family or colleagues to the University of Roehampton Online?
I have referred a friend and past school mate to the University of Roehampton Online. I enrolled at the university because I had been looking for an opportunity to study for a MBA degree in an internationally-recognized University, without the hassle of leaving my job, business, family, and country to travel to the UK for about two to three years. Fortunately, when I came across a colleague that was doing an online MSc programme at the same university, I decided to check it out. After running my checks on the suitability of Roehampton to my requirements, I made the decision and enrolled.
Who (or what) inspires you?
I am inspired by the numerous successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs that have created value and a business out of their passion.
What do you hope to achieve after you complete your degree? Do you hope to impact your organisation, your community or the country where you currently live?
On completion of my degree, I hope to have a successful career in business leadership in the technology sector. I also hope to transform my technology consulting company into a one-stop shop for both business and technology solutions.