Written by Business School Nederland   
Friday, 07 August 2015

“This achievement doesn’t belong to me alone, but to many other people as well.”

The last two weeks of July was fantastic for the students from Business School Netherlands Nigeria (BSNN) as an impressive 83 students prepared and delivered their viva voces – the official oral defense of their dissertations – before a panel of established academics. A lot of nerves and excitement was experienced in the Nigerian city of Ikeja!

Academic-Panel-for-July-2015-vivas

Of the 83 new Executive MBA graduates from Nigeria for this year, an impressive 18 will graduate with a distinction in their dissertation. Three students will graduate with an overall distinction in their MBA, another two with a Cum Laude in their dissertation and one student, Mr Okey Okere, will graduate with Cum Laude overall on the 19th of September in the Netherlands!

Okere, (40), the current chief operating officer for the professional services firm, Agusto Consulting, is a happily married father of two and feels, “Overjoyed and feeling truly blessed by God!” We spoke to him a few days after presenting his viva voce. “Getting here was no easy feat, but it is a very privileged position which I am grateful for.” The Cum Laude status didn’t come just like that, of course. Okere: “I really took the MBA very seriously. This achievement belongs to many other people who contributed to my success: the gifted BSN faculty that shared their wealth of knowledge and experience with us; my Set Adviser and my Internal Examiner, who gave me the confidence to reach for the stars; our BSN Nigeria Director and his team who did their best to help us focus on reaching the finish line; my Ikeja 8 subset mates who showed serious levels of commitment to our collective learning and created the healthy competition that produced this; and most of all, my family, especially my wife and children, who also had to sacrifice their time with me, and create a conducive home environment for this to happen.” And the story doesn’t end there: Okey’s wife – encouraged by his result – will also commence with her studies soon!

Greatest lesson
Grace Ivieovbo Uadia, the current senior operations manager in an USAID funded project (Nigeria MARKETS II), is another of the proud students who has just completed her viva voce. With distinction, that is! The fact that the end of the programme is in sight, allows her to reflect on the greatest lesson the MBA has taught her. Grace: “The greatest lesson learnt was during my Marketing Management workshop where Mr Lere Baale, CEO of BSNN, related marketing to our personal lives and work relationships. That was one of the greatest turning points in my work relationship with my colleagues and team members. I learnt how to market my ideas and plans to the 18 members in my team. This totally changed my management style and improved my work relationship with my colleagues. I never expected something like that from a Marketing Management workshop.”

Resolving the challenge

Co-graduate, Anthony, the managing director and chief executive officer of Unique Venture Capital (UVC),calls it a ‘relief’ that the MBA is finally behind him. “I have never been able to balance the work-study-life priorities shared before and even during this programme. My inadequacies were further exposed by the programme. I am glad that I was able to prevail and finish. Resolving the challenge is a work-in-progress for me, going forward,” he says when we spoke to him just after his viva voce. “I wanted to do well and am proud that I gave it my best shot. Graduating with a distinction was a bonus and a pleasant surprise. I accept it with all humility. Going forward it will certainly put some pressure on me to perform better in all my dealings to justify the grading’s given by BSN. This I intend to uphold.”

Relax, work hard and enjoy!
We asked him if he has valuable advice for future MBA students. “Take the programme very seriously. Manage your work-study-life balance effectively and it will all go well. It is deeply tasking, academically rewarding and very fulfilling. Relax, work hard, and enjoy it!”


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