Efe Ukala is a Nigerian and she was at BSL for the IB Diploma programme in September of 2000. May want to introduce who she is now?
Richman Meto: Welcome and Thank you for having this interview with me.
Efe Ukala: Thank you for having me
RM: So without wasting any time, let’s get right to it. How long were you at BSL For?
EU: I attended BSL for only my IB diploma.
RM: What did you study and how was this experience for you?
EU: My IB experience was fantastic. The experience helped me to appreciate the importance of multi-tasking as a result of the in-class and community-based obligations. I studied Statistics, English, Biology, Economics, Business Management, and French, while also participating in various community-based projects.
RM: What skills did IB help you obtain and how do they help you now?
EU: The IB program helped me to further hone my multitasking skills, basically, the art of balancing different obligations while also ensuring that you are doing a good job in all.
RM: What kind of attitude and work mentality did you have during your IB course and what do you recommend to students now?
EU: I was extremely focused. My goal then was to get good grades and attend the best college possible. I was also very keen to attend an American college, however, at that time; BSL was more intentional about getting students to attend UK colleges. As a result, I had to work very deliberately to ensure that I was going to be a suitable candidate for an American college. It worked! I attended the University of Chicago. I would recommend that current students should not be deterred by any perceived obstacles – dream big and do the best you can do to achieve it. Everything always falls in place in the end.
RM: What would you have done differently if you were to take the IB course again?
EU: Maybe not take myself too seriously and take the time to get to know other students better. During my time at BSL, I was extremely focused and only made time to get to know a few people who remain my close friends. I think BSL presents a great opportunity for students to make life-long friends across Africa. I did not cease the opportunity but will encourage current students to do so,
RM: What career path are you undertaking and any landmark achievement?
EU: I always wanted to be a lawyer – even while at BSL and I remain on that career path. I am an investment lawyer and have helped structure about $1.3 billion institutional capital into Sub-Saharan Africa. I currently serve as Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at JPMorgan New York where I work on investment matters and advise institutional clients. I also have a deep interest in helping change the institutional capital landscape so that it becomes more inclusive. As a result, I started an impact-driven organization that helps African female entrepreneurs get access to institutional capital, build scalable businesses, and access new markets. To date, ImpactHER has helped over 14,000 female business owners from 52 African countries. ImpactHER has been featured on BBC, Forbes, and has been invited by different African presidents regarding policy reformation.
RM: Where are you now?
EU: I live in New York City
RM: Any advice for those who want to follow your career path?
EU: I would advise such students to not just focus on law-related classes. Take unrelated classes such as economics, finance, and business management. It will make you a more dynamic lawyer. It will allow you to stand out in the profession. I would also encourage future lawyers to invest in their writing skills.
RM: Any advice for IB students regardless of their career path?
EU: Stay true to yourself. Dream big and do not be distracted from your goals. My dreams were scary to me at the time. I had a few moments of self-doubt, however, I achieved them.
RM: Thank you for your time.
EU: It was my pleasure.