Rebecca Ebokpo: From MBA to possibly Nigerian president
Recent MBA graduate Rebecca Ebokpo has wasted no time and already has her sights set on the future
There is a saying, ‘keep your feet on the ground, but reach for the stars’. It’s one that really sums up one of our recent Nigerian MBA graduates. Having worked hard to earn her degree, despite having to hold down a full-time job and look after her children, Rebecca Ebokpo, a senior associate at a leading Nigerian law firm, is staying local. For now.
That does not mean to say that she isn’t sizing up possibly dipping her toe in international waters and going to work at the United Nations. Pretty lofty ambitions!
“If, for example, I wanted to change my residence to maybe another country, my MBA from Nexford would stand me in good stead,” says Rebecca. “I can’t go and practice law in say Canada unless I go to law school again there, but what I can do is combine my law degree with business management, which is what I learned to do at Nexford. That combination will give me the edge to get ahead and stay ahead in most things I put my hand to in any country.”
It all started from relatively humble beginnings
Rebecca earned her first degree in law from the University of Abuja before going on to Nigerian law school. She then worked for about eight years before starting her MBA. At the time, what inspired her to do so was the fact that she was consistently assisting various businesses with corporate governance issues and structuring entry strategies to various markets. Basically, everything about the company from the time the company came alive to the time it died, if it did.
Even at this early stage she reasoned that she had to carve out a niche in terms of general businesses locally. So, she came to the realization that a master’s in Business Administration would help her focus more in that area.
That was the plan, but what she needed to get straight was who she should put her faith in to earn a global degree. She faced a common dilemma of having to choose between modern and credible. Basically, she wanted to earn a degree that would actually give her the practical skills but without having to commute to boring lecture halls. It needed to be a modern yet internationally accredited university that would allow her to juggle motherhood, her job, and her studies at the same time. But who?
“I wanted an American education,” she says. “I got admitted to a couple of American universities, one of which was Bowie State University in Maryland. I was already navigating my way through the application process and then it all changed. I stumbled on Nexford looking through the net. I said, this looks like it’s also an American school. It’s online. Let me see what their story is.
Studying locally and earning a global degree
The first thing that struck Rebecca about Nexford was not just how professional it looked, but also how affordable it was. She was resigned to the fact that she was going to have to spend a fortune doing her MBA in the US, leave her family behind and resign from her job at the Nigerian law firm that she was making her mark at.
“I was surprised by how straightforward it was to apply. The fee structure was very flexible. And I thought that it was probably the answer to my prayers. So, I enrolled and I said, okay, let’s do this. I worked hard every day and then before I even knew it, it had all happened. I graduated with an MBA. Suddenly, it was true. And I just looked back, thinking, wow, did that just happen? It wasn’t that difficult. Of course, it didn’t feel that way while I was going through the program. In fact, the rigor really pushed my own limits – especially on the critical thinking side.”
Then work became easier for Rebecca after graduating. She could use the skills taught which were relatable in her job function.
It wasn’t abstract. For everything she learned, she could practice in real scenarios. It transcended into her work ethics and how to do presentations. In fact, the consistency of her weekly assignments helped her become more analytical in her thinking. She just saw herself becoming a better lawyer.
“When I started studying, I was able to see things in a bigger picture. My scope was no longer restricted. One of the reasons I was drawn to studying my MBA was because, at that point in my career, I felt that my job was becoming monotonous. Suddenly the things that were difficult for me to do before graduating became easier as I found myself becoming so much more productive. I really learned how to manage my time more effectively. With my assignments. I knew that I had to meet deadlines. I just became faster.”
A five-year plan
In another five years, Rebecca reasons that she will probably be working to get a PhD. She believes that knowledge is very important.
She wants to know it all. To make that a reality she is sizing up possibly doing her PhD at Harvard. But before that, she still wants to do a couple of certificate courses at Nexford, mainly because she already has a good experience there and she knows how it works.
She also knows that the quality of programs at Nexford are of an exceptionally high standard. “I would like to do a couple of courses, short courses, perhaps in leadership”, she says. “I’ll do that in the next five years as I’ll still be building my career. I’ll still be on a steep learning curve, but I believe that I have it in me to succeed.”
As soon as she’s done with that, she will turn her attention to getting an international job, then work for maybe another five years. Then 10 years from that, get into the political scene and see how maybe she can start from grassroots politics to get to where she wants to be.
The here and the now
For now, though, Rebecca is quite happy where she is. It’s a good job, she recently got promoted and earned a pay raise. So essentially, she’s happy with it. She’s had the exposure that she’s always wanted to have working with a law firm like that which she is currently at. She’s on the second level of being a senior associate so is gradually progressing and in the not-too-distant future, may surely become a partner.
“So, I’m close to the management right now” says Rebecca. “I was on course for this, but I must add that I am sure that my MBA from Nexford did help to advance my cause.”
In closing, Rebecca makes mention that she has the desire to go and seek out an international job, because she wants to have work experience outside of Nigeria. But that doesn’t mean that she is going to abandon the country of her birth. Oh no! She has lofty ambitions to occupy the seat of the president of Nigeria. And if her work ethic whilst learning at Nexford is anything to go by, she might just have a chance. Incidentally, Nexford board member, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili might have some sound advice for Rebecca after her own presidential run a few years back.
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About the Author
Mark is a college graduate with Honours in Copywriting. He is the Content Marketing Manager at Nexford, creating engaging, thought-provoking, and action-oriented content.