Chioma Agha Path to Imperial

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After attending medical school and practicing for a few years, I decided to venture into the world of entrepreneurship. I had always been fascinated by entrepreneurship - solving problems from a very young age. Some of my high school went on to do undergraduates at Imperial, whilst others did a Master’s. They were so smart, carried themselves in a prestigious manner and they had the Imperial “swag”. During summer holidays in London, they would share with me how great their school was, and I was impressed with those who went on to do internships at prestigious institutions like Goldman Sachs. That is when the seed of studying at Imperial was planted.

I did not attend medical school in Nigeria and so having moved back home after being away for eight years, I was not ready to jet off for an MBA. I was so delighted when I found out about Imperial now offering the Global Online MBA - this was fantastic and fit right into my schedule. I could be close to family and work whilst studying. I  applied within a day of seeing that notification but unfortunately, my application was unsuccessful.

In 2018, I got an email about an Imperial fair to be held in  Lagos. A friend also received the email and her sister, an alumnus of Imperial, was scheduled to speak at the event and so she encouraged me to attend. It was very well attended, full of proud alumni making connections and inquisitive would-be students asking questions. Although none of the Imperial staff there on the day were working at the time of my first application, their responses were kind, and they encouraged me to try again.

I moved to Dallas later that year. I remember it being a warm autumn day when I got the applications open notification again. Prior to that, I had been wondering what my next career steps were. I still wanted formal business training, but I was also passionate about skin and hair care.  So, I thought to apply to Imperial, again. This was several years after my first application. I will never forget where I was when I applied.

My sister had called me to accompany her to a candle sale event. When we got there, she asked if I wanted to come in, I declined, stating I had a few things to sort out. As I stayed back in the car I submitted my application. I kept asking myself, “what’s the worst that can happen?”

With bated breath, I waited. Every email I got made my heart skip a bit. When I saw the first Imperial email which came in a few days later, I thought, “aha, that was a quick rejection”. Alas, it was just a confirmation of application email. When I eventually got the interview email, I think I screamed! I was shaking in disbelief.

At the time of the interview, I was in Houston, I recall that the interview was early. I prayed before my interview. I was so nervous, but my interviewer was extremely kind and did his best to put me at ease.

I knew I had been given another chance, and I was going to give it my best! I got off the Skype call having mixed feelings about some of my responses. Then I heard my husband say- that was great! I thought, oh gosh, “you heard the whole thing? “I got confirmation of acceptance a few days later. Tears of joy flowed.

Chioma Agha name tag image
My desk tag at induction week – so exciting!

My biggest lesson is, never give up on your dreams. When we go through tough times, we get caught up in the moment, failing to recognise it for what it is – a stumbling block. It won’t always be like that. You have to keep pushing and never be afraid to put yourself out there. Surround yourself with people who inspire you, have a teachable spirit, be humble, be vulnerable when needed and don’t be jealous.

My friends were the first to sow the Imperial seeds. Wanting to partake in their blessings made me inquisitive. Never be ashamed of sharing failure. Our egos trick us to put so much weight on what people think, whereas we should be more concerned about what we hope to gain. Failure isn’t the opposite of success, but an essential part of it.

Chioma Agha Path to Imperial

About Chioma Agha

Global Online MBA 2020-21