Oluwafemi Adedipe MSc Business Strategy and Innovation Management, graduated in September 2016
My proudest accomplishment may perhaps be the person I became by being a student here. I came to Southampton to learn about business but I am leaving with a bagful of so much more: a new worldview, new concepts, toolkits, mental frameworks and an incredible network of friends spanning the globe. Coming to Southampton was hands down one of the most transformative experiences of my life.
Why did you choose to study at the University of Southampton?
As a member of the Russell Group, the University of Southampton is a juggernaut within the UK higher education space. That alone was enough attraction for me. But far beyond this is how well attuned the school is to the changing needs of students and employers, especially in the world of business education. No wonder the university has some of the most modern and well-designed academic programmes in the UK, several of which are unique to the school. For example, my own specific Master’s programme (MSc Business Strategy and Innovation Management) is not offered anywhere else in the UK. As I wanted to master not only the innovation process but also the strategies required to bring the resulting products and services to market, I found myself irresistibly drawn to this University.
Other things I considered include the linkage between my postgraduate programme and the contemporary world of business and work. The fact that my Programme was deeply associated with a full-fledged, university-based research centre (Centre for Inclusive and Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CISEI)) was also a big plus for me. This meant I had ready access to industry-leading research that is relevant to today’s world of work.
And for someone like me who is fascinated with everything technology, being able to brag that Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the legendary inventor of the World Wide Web, was a Professor at my University was not an opportunity I was willing to let pass!
What were your first impressions of the University of Southampton?
My first impression of the University was one of an institution that was exquisitely well organised. From the admission process which was fast and seamless to the accommodation application process to the ‘Meet and Greet’ event for new students, everything was organised to pitch perfection. In fact, the school was so well organised that one had the impression that they had all things planned out in extreme detail.
And when I came in, the deepest impressions on me were made by the passionate professors who taught me. They were extremely bright, friendly and doing fascinating work at the cutting edge of business and management. Combine this with the world class learning environment, the incredible breadth of resources students have access to for study and recreation, all situated within the beautiful Highfield campus, it is safe to say I was impressed with the University from the word go.
What do you enjoy the most about living in Southampton?
For me, Southampton is the perfect university city: quiet, modern and full of interesting people. I especially like the calm, serenity and lack of rowdiness of the city. It is vibrant enough for a great student experience but not so busy that it disrupts the quietness so necessary for a great academic life.
The city is well laid out and easy to navigate (even though that did not stop me from getting lost and alighting at the wrong bus stops during my first few months here!) It is also just one hour away from London where students can easily escape to if need be.
Besides, Southampton is home to the famous Titanic and has a rich maritime history that I found endlessly fascinating (in fact there is a whole museum dedicated to the Titanic here). This is to talk no less of the shops, gyms, restaurants, parks, gardens, green spaces, rivers and small lakes that dot the city and make it an ideal place for a student.
What is your favourite spot on campus?
At heart, I am a combination of the nerd and the artist. So, I am always drawn to ancient, knowledge infused things and spaces. And what other place exemplifies this more than the University’s Hartley Library! An old red brick building bustling with new ideas and new technologies. A place that draws you to itself by the sheer amount of light and books and friends there.
Even though I spent many intensive hours in that place trying to master new concepts and ideas, it remains for me a place of repose and peace and of the incredible memories I am taking away from Southampton.
What has been your proudest accomplishment while you were in Southampton?
Towards the end of my Programme, I was appointed by the Southampton Business School to serve as a Student Advisor for new incoming Postgraduate students. I was very excited to help introduce new students to this great environment called University of Southampton. I also served as the Secretary of my country’s student association, the University of Southampton Nigerian Society. And there was also the small matter that I was able to achieve distinction in my course works for the two semesters of my Masters Programme.
Yet, my proudest accomplishment may perhaps be the person I became by being a student here. I came to Southampton to learn about business but I am leaving with a bagful of so much more: a new worldview, new concepts, toolkits, mental frameworks and an incredible network of friends spanning the globe.
Would you recommend the University of Southampton to students from your home country?
I would say to anyone who wants to learn new things, become a better person, develop lifelong friendships with bright people, University of Southampton is your surest bet.
For me as an individual, coming to Southampton has been a life changing experience. In addition to being an unforgettable educational experience, it has opened my mind to many things I did not know and it has increased my cultural fluency.
After concluding my undergraduate degree and working in banking, consulting and public service in my country, I sure thought I knew something. So I came to Southampton to refresh my academic muscles and may be learn a thing or two about business. Boy, was I blown away by the level of knowledge I met here! It did not take me long to see there was much more to business innovation and strategy than I had hitherto imagined. I was blown away to discover a whole new world of skills and bodies of knowledge I had never thought of. Coming to Southampton was hands down one of the most transformative experiences of my life.
So, if you want to be challenged, stretched and built into a resilient person, primed ready to make an impact in the world, Southampton is the place to be.
What will you do with your degree after you have finished your studies?
Once I finish my studies and travel back to my country, in addition to becoming more entrepreneurially active, I intend to set up a think tank that works on economic and business issues. I believe my studies here have given me the tools, skill sets and knowledge to get this done. As I like to tell my friends, I can't wait to do something with all these new tools I have been given!
Do you have any stories about your time in Southampton or a happy memory you want to share?
There are so many happy memories that I am hard pressed to choose. Once in a class on Global Entrepreneurship with Prof Laura Costanzo (one of the coolest professors ever), we were asked to deliver a presentation on the business strategies of Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer. What started out as a mere academic exercise turned out to be one fun filled intensive learning experience that introduced us to the complexities of supply chains, food safety, market entry strategies etc. Working with two brilliant international classmates, we plunged into the work and took up the challenge. At the end, we became such good friends and we had so great a performance that I am still proud of it till today.
The other experience will be the many visits I made to different parts of Britain during my studies. I had time to visit the Blenheim Palace in Oxford (Sir Winston Churchill’s birthplace), the ancient medieval castles at Old Sarum, the Welsh parliament in Cardiff, the heritage sites at Stonehenge, Jane Austen’s burial site at Winchester cathedral etc. One of the most memorable visits however was the one I made to Dawlish, a small English town in Devon county where I spent a weekend with a local British family. The visit, which was arranged by HOST UK, was one of the most beautiful experiences I had in the UK.
I was welcomed into Dawlish from a train station built along a massive seafront, with fresh breezes blowing across my face. What an experience that was! Dawlish is perhaps one of only a few towns with train tracks that run along the sea.
In the course of my visit, I got to experience life in a small English town. I enjoyed amazing English breakfasts, warmed myself with a traditional fireplace and went to the town centre where I saw the famous Dawlish black swans. For those in the know, the chance of seeing a black swan in England are rare. To see two is an experience not to be forgotten.
I watched a live Rugby match for the very first time; had dinner at an historic inn and attended a service at the centuries-old Parish Church of St. Gregory the Great; a service that moved me deeply and made me cry, reminding me of the time when I was a child. I also visited the grounds of the Powderham Castle where I watched fallow deer while they graze. And the great experiences just go on and on!
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Coming to the University of Southampton is an experience I cannot recommend enough. It changes you positively, stretches your mind, introduces you to great friends and it will leave you with memories you will cherish for a long long time.