Ugonnaya Igwilo was named Social Impact Award winner for Sub-Saharan Africa in this year’s British Council Alumni Awards for her work supporting public health campaigns against Ebola and AIDS.Ugonnaya said her studies at Essex helped her develop all the skills vital to work in high pressure situations.“The unique practical learning experience from Essex tweaked my way of thinking, addressing challenges and improved my communication skills.”During her time as a student at Essex, Ugonnaya served as the student representative for her class, joined the United Nations Model Society and the Human Rights Society.She said: “Being a member of the Human Rights Society at Essex built on my knowledge base and changed my perception of my role as a public health physician.“This was a guiding principle for my volunteerism, community outreach planning and implementation and my health service delivery.”Ugonnaya is currently undergoing a six-year residency training program at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital in Nigeria as a Senior Registrar and works in a clinic providing maternal and child health services to over 10,000 patients a year.
I remember thinking my course would be more academic than practical but it’s been a good balance of both. All my lecturers have real world experience outside of academia, and learning typically involves case studies, group work, and presentations, together with lecture sessions. The level of non-academic support is amazing. The greatest benefit of my Essex experience has been gaining international exposure from learning in a multicultural environment whilst making lifelong connections from all around the world!
I studied Financial Economics and Accounting for my undergraduate and stayed on for my MSc at Essex. I always heard of Essex Startups but didn't become an active participant until the year of my MSc and haven't looked back since. Even now, two years after finishing, the Essex Startups team is still being very helpful. During my MSc through Essex Startups I was able to attend bootcamps and meet with students outside of the university with similar entrepreneurial interests. This has helped me in my current place of work and I gained transferable skills that I've been able to apply in my own business planning. I love that the Essex Startups team don't work in a one size fits all setup, but help each student individually, maximising the potential of our strengths and improving on weaknesses. They make business planning easier with their thorough guidance, whilst giving room for utmost creativity and letting you be and feel in charge of your ideas and your business at large. They also help utilise other university facilities and events, especially in the areas of funding for business. They set up extremely helpful and practical bootcamps and events that leave you feeling challenged and ready to soar. Essex Startups is a true backbone for any student and graduate entrepreneur.
We also have information available on our other careers and employability services, and the new Graduate Immigration Route, which offers the opportunity for new international graduates to remain in the UK to work, or look for work, for two years after completing their course.