The Human Resources Director of the Nigerian Bottling Company, Mr. Olumide Sholanke, has urged the students of the Pan-Atlantic University (PAU) to fan the flames of their curiosity, seek team and leadership experiences, as well as articulate the art of storytelling around the knowledge they have garnered in the course of their study.
Sholanke gave the keynote address at the maiden edition of the PAU Career Fair for the final year undergraduates and the post-graduate students at the Ibeju Lekki campus on Thursday, February 15, 2018.
Dr. Ikechukwu Obiaya, Dean of the School of Media and Communication, likened the relationship between students (talents) and the industry to the fairytale narrative of the prince who seeks the perfect bride. As is characteristic of a fairytale, the students have to pass through the stages of desire, conflict, surmounting obstacles, before arriving at a happy ending of graduation. The industry, on the hand, has to patiently journeyed through the woods, in order to find these talents.
Themed “Industry Meets Talent: Bridging the Gap”, the PAU Career Fair brought together 26 industry giants.
From the banks came Guaranty Trust Bank, First City Monument Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Sterling Bank and FBN Quest Merchant Bank. The Guardian Newspaper, BusinessDay and Pulse Nigeria represented the media.
Students of the Management Sciences had a wonderful time interacting with Chapel Hill Debenham, Precise Financial Systems, Ascentech Services Limited, Falcon Energy, Argentil Capital, Primlaks Group, and the Nigerian Bottling Company.
Students specialising in Marketing Communication were engaged by Caritas Communication Limited, Brandeye Media, Signal Alliance, Nestle Nigeria and Reliance Infosystems. Auditing pacesetters, KPMG and PWC, were available to share insights on work experience. The health sector was also not left out as SKG-Pharma Ltd and Redcare HMO enjoyed a grand presence at the fair.
On the general perception of the school, Ibukunoluwa Lawal from Sterling Bank Plc, remarked that she could feel the intensity of the high standards required from the students in their course of study. She overheard a student announcing to her classmates while the programme was ongoing that their Advanced Reporting Techniques facilitator called to request a news story from the event. Ms. Henrietta Owie expressed surprise at the school’s culture of education delivered with freedom. She admitted that she expected a lot of restrictions and control on the students as is the tradition with private tertiary institutions.
The staff of the Nigerian Bottling Company were elated that the students showed optimism and willingness for discovery. Mr. Marcel Mbamalu, News Editor of The Guardian, expressed delight at the enthusiasm of the students in joining the digital arm of the company. He commended their ideas and looked forward to having them apply for an internship.
The accolades also came in from Ms. Roseline Owalegba of Primlaks Nigeria Limited who applauded the ingenuity of the students and their ability to brainstorm on the spot. Some wrong assumptions of the scope of Business Journalism were corrected by the insightful contributions of Mr. Temitope Kayode of the BusinessDay, who spoke to the students on the application of regular news stories to their economic impact and importance.
The students had an enlightening experience. Final year Accounting student, Imelda Odudu said that the fair gave her a chance to pitch her ideas and showcase her skills. Miss Odudu is one of the numerous students who has added internship knowledge to entrepreneurial experience. She currently runs Dudu Rides, a taxi service company. Morenike Shelle, a Media Enterprise major of the School of Media and Communication was ecstatic while mentioning the different company stands she visited during the fair. For her, it was a day of building on concepts discussed in the classroom.
However, Pauline Ekpa of the M.Sc. class criticised the approach of some of the organisations. In her opinion, the essence of seeking talents seemed to be watered down as they focused more on account opening and sourcing solutions for some of the existing challenges in their organisation without compensatory feedback. Ms. Temidayo Akinya of Pulse Nigeria had some kind admonishments for the students. She reminded some of the students who wanted to pursue a career in writing to take up part-time writing jobs in order to enrich their curriculum vitae and make themselves more viable for employment. This was because, although some of the students showed potential in the field, they had no strong portfolio to sell.
Beyond the conversations, the students and the industry personnel present exchanged souvenirs. The participants conducted interviews and sealed internship agreements. As the students round up their educational journey in PAU, they have become more equipped to confidently apply their talents and acquired skills to adding value to Nigeria.
*Chukwu is with the Msc Writing Stream