Uchenna Igbokwe
International Health Management 2016-17

Academic and industry experience before Imperial

What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?

Before my programme at Imperial College Business School, I spent five years at Solina Health, an indigenous Nigerian health systems consulting firm, focused on deploying solutions that optimise health outcomes in low-resourced settings. At Solina, I led the design and implementation of various donor-funded routine immunisation strengthening and HIV service delivery programs. Prior to joining Solina, I worked for two years as a management consultant at KPMG – Lagos Office, Nigeria. I also practiced medicine as a General Practitioner for two years before transitioning to a career in management consulting.

Studying MSc International Health Management

Why did you decide to study an MSc in International Health Management and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?

My decision to study at Imperial College was initially driven by its position as one of the top ten ranked universities in world. Digging a little deeper however, Imperial’s unique focus on bringing practical benefits to society through the academic work carried out here was the most important reason I choose Imperial. Having worked for many years on health system strengthening programmes in low income countries, I needed a degree that focused on using management best practices and innovative solutions to deliver optimal health outcomes to populations in a sustainable way. The International Health Management programme at Imperial College Business School was a perfect match for me. It was an easy choice!

What makes the MSc International Health Management at Imperial College Business School unique?

The MSc International Health Management programme focuses on applying management best practices to strengthen health care delivery systems. The programme, which is a great blend of business-related modules, and more targeted health systems components, provides an in-depth knowledge of the global healthcare landscape and trends. This prepares students for success across a broad range of healthcare-related careers in the public, private and development sectors.

What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy, and find most rewarding?

The programme’s focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, largely facilitated through practical projects, was the most rewarding component for me. It has enhanced my ability to think innovatively about overcoming real-life healthcare sector challenges, and will ultimately support my passion for health systems transformation in low-income countries.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

The health systems, policy and financing module is my favourite. The module examines the inter-relationships between different elements of the health system, and how they contribute to expanding access, and improving the quality of healthcare. The depth of knowledge and expertise of the module leader; Dr. Pedro Rosa Dias, and the high quality of the programme material makes participating on the module a very pleasurable experience. The knowledge and skills I have learnt on the module will enable me to contribute my quota to the quest for a perfect health system in my home country, and indeed the world.

Your cohort

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

Impressive! Interacting first-hand with the young and passionate cohort of smart and accomplished students is the highlight of the programme for me. We spend a significant proportion of our time in the Business School on group work, and as such have gotten to know each other very well. My programme mates are a perfect blend of ambitious, hardworking and fun-loving individuals. The incredible diversity in the class has exposed me to cultures from across the world, and has expanded my networks in ways I never imagined. I pretty much have a touch point in most countries now, thanks to Imperial College Business School.

Extracurricular activities

What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial?

I spend a few hours each month working with a charity organisation that supports primary school kids to develop their literacy, confidence and perseverance. Participating in the unique real-world learning projects in an exciting out-of-school environment was as much fun for me as it was for the children. I have come to realise the personal fulfilment that comes with giving back to the community, and I don’t intend to stop now. I also served as resources person for the Africa Business Club by participating on panel discussions at the annual conferences and other events.

Career goals and jobs

What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?

Following graduation from Imperial College, I will re-engage in designing and implementing health programs that strengthen the health system and creates access to healthcare for the most vulnerable people in low income countries. In the long term, I envision myself engaging more closely with the government, not just working within the system but with the system by enacting policy changes. It is safe to assume that there are many uncertainties in planning a future, however, I am confident in saying that my professional future lies in improving governance to drive economic growth in my country, Nigeria. I am confident that the networks of talented and knowledgeable people I have met on this journey, will support me to achieve my goals.

Life as a student in London

Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?

I live in Griffon Studios Battersea, one of the Gradpad lodges for Imperial College post-graduate students. My studio is very comfortable and the Gradpad team does a good job of maintaining the facilities here. The common room is great for meeting up with other postgrads to socialise at the end of a long day. Battersea is also a really nice area. There are many parks, restaurants and bars within walking distance of my lodging, and the night life is awesome.

If you had to move to London for the programme, what have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?

London is the most culturally diverse city I have ever lived in. I interact with people from all over the world, and learn a lot about their cultures and beliefs systems just going about my daily routine in London. Also important to note, are the limitless options of fun things to do in the city. My favourites include going to musical theatres, eating at great restaurants, playing tennis at the clubs and visiting the museums, most of which are free of charge. There is pretty much something for everyone here, so come prepared to have an amazing time. Nonetheless, London is one of the most vibrant cities in the world, and it took me some time to get used to to the fast-pace of life here. Everyone is always in the hurry, and navigating the underground especially during rush hour can be quite challenging. Adjusting to the weather, especially at the height of winter was also quite stressful for me as I previously lived in a tropical environment which was warm all year round. Beyond having appropriate warm clothing for winter, I will advise that you ensure that the heating in the accommodation you settle for works effectively. This will help make the long winter night a lot more bearable.

Advice for future students

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?

While getting the best grades possible is important, I will argue that building networks with the incredible minds that sit in the lecture theatres and walk the college walkways is even more critical. If you make it to Imperial, make the most of your interactions with other scholars both within and outside your departments. Such collaborations have led to the world’s greatest inventions and founding of its most valuable organisations.

International Health Management 2016-17
Pre-MSc International Health Management :

Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, Nigeria Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB)

Job secured after programme :

Principal, Solina Health, Abuja Nigeria